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.
In 1936 Robert Frobisher, a bisexual English musician, finds work as an amanuensis to composer Vyvyan Ayrs. This allows Frobisher the time and inspiration to compose his own masterpiece, The Cloud Atlas Sextet, and to have an affair with his employers Jewish wife, Jocasta (Halle Berry).
Halle Berry appeared in all six segments playing a radically different character in each: in two segments her character was a leading role; here she played a supporting character; in the other three segments she had non-speaking cameos.
Jeremy Woodhead & Daniel Parker were the hair makeup designers; Kuno Schlegelmilch was credited for makeup concept; Sian 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.