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-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future.
Halle Berry appeared as a different character in each of the six segments: in two of the segments her character was a leading role; in one she played a supporting character; in the other three segments she had cameos.
In the 1849 segment she had a cameo as an elderly Chatham Island native woman; in the 1930s segment she had a supporting role as the Jewish Jocasta Ayrs; in the 1970s segment she had the leading role of investigative reporter Luisa Rey; in the present-day segment she appeared briefly as an Indian party guest; in the segment set in a dystopian future Korea she cameoed as Ovid, a dubious male surgeon; in the post-apocalyptic Hawaiian segment she again had a leading role as Meronym, some of the few surviving Prescients.
Jeremy Woodhead & Daniel Parker were the hair makeup designers; Kuno Schlegelmilch was credited for makeup concept; Siân Richards was Halle Berry’s personal makeup artist. An army of makeup effects artists & studios worked on sculpting, making & applying the various character prosthetics in the movie including: Filmefex, Animated Extras, Valentina Visintin, Barney Nikolic, Göran Lundström of (EffektStudion), Creatures Inc, Floris Schuller, Pepe Mora …
One artist was offered work on the movie by three different FX companies in different countries.
Siân Richards said in an interview:
The greatest challenges were definitely not having any makeup tests on the big prosthetic makeups. I was literally shown the pieces the day before and the first time they were applied was live on the day of shooting! We had to push the envelope because, whilst this movie had a great budget, what they were doing with that budget was so adventurous … so time was always a premium … Also, I was the only makeup artist attached to one actor, and as such, the physical logistics of moving from unit to unit and unpacking and repacking the kits accordingly was something I never had to deal with. Although I had two kits, there are some things that you just need to have with you all the time, [including] the fail safes and things I have specifically for Halle.