Cloud Atlas: Susan Sarandon
The film consists of six interrelated and interwoven stories spanning different time periods: an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific; letters from a composer to his friend in the 1930s; a thriller about a murder at a nuclear power plant set in the 1970s; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home in the present day; a rebellious clone in a futuristic Korea; and the tale of a tribe living in a post-apocalyptical Hawaii, far in the future.
Susan Sarandon appeared as different characters in four segments. In the 1849 segment she played Madame Horrox, the wife of a man who justified his mistreatment of the natives with a slightly anachronist cod-Darwinism; in the present-day segment she played the older-Ursula, the lost love of Timothy Cavendish; in the Korean segment she played Yusouf Suleiman, who is seen briefly on a computer – hence the green-screen filming; in the Hawaiian segment she played the Abbess, a tribal priestess/wise-woman.
Susan Sarandon said:
I have very small parts, but many genders of varying looks and ages and everybody else does too. Everyone was trans-everything, all over the place. I was a little nervous.
I was a little nervous about some of the things I had to do, and then everyone was being so brave, bouncing from one set to the other and one pair of contact lenses to the other, noses and whatever, so I just went for it.
He [Yusouf Suleiman] is Indian, dark-skinned, dressed like Cornell West and I have little glasses, a little bit of a belly. I’ve got to tell you, it was more unsettling than I had anticipated. I know there is some disease where you don't recognize yourself when you see it, and you really do not know it’s me, because I have darker contacts on, a few different pieces, a few different hairline. It’s pretty amazing, actually. I don’t even think you hear me speak because it's something that's in a newsreel.