Lana Wachowski compares her transgender experience with a character in her film: “Like Sonmi, there are people who will spit on me, want to lynch me, want to crucify me"
Lana Wachowski, the co-creator of “Cloud Atlas,” said she made the gender-bending, multi-character film to change the attitudes of bigoted people “who want to lynch me, want to crucify me.”
In a wide-ranging interview with TheWrap, Wachowski, sporting neon pink dreadlocks, showed a newfound willingness to talk publicly about being transgendered, a process she has undergone in the past decade to become a woman.
Wachowski said that at least one of the characters in “Cloud Atlas,” a waitress of the future who foments revolution, mirrored her own experience.
“Like Sonmi, there are people who will spit on me, want to lynch me, want to crucify me,” she said. But she hopes by speaking out she can effect change.
“I am interested in engaging with the world, hopefully in a way that makes some people not as afraid of people like me or view people like me as these others who aren’t as human as them or different than them,” she added.
Born Laurence Wachowski, the filmmaker and her brother, Andy, gained fame creating the landmark “Matrix” trilogy. The Chicago-based pair were known for never talking to the media, but have broken with that tradition to promote their ambitious new film, which opens on Friday.
“Cloud Atlas,” which they co-directed with German director Tom Tykwer, is based on the book by David Mitchell. Weaving together six disparate storylines, the film includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon in the cast, playing multiple roles in multiple time periods, often crossing gender and racial lines.
Tykwer said he made the film as a reflection on the interconnection of human experience. “There is a perspective on mankind and humanity that any action you do has consequences and those consequences ripple throughout centuries, potentially. Ultimately it does have an impact on how the world changes and transforms from one state to another that doesn’t have any relationship to your class or state or mindset or anything but gives you a certain responsibility as an existence and that is an equal responsibility of all of mankind,” he said.
In an interview with all three, Lana dominated the conversation, peppering references to philosophy and film history with her own personal story and urging a change in attitude toward people who are different.
“When you try to make a difference in the world, when you try to engage, when you try to change conventional wisdom whether you are making an experimental film and the critics are saying, ‘You can’t combine action and mainstream narrative with philosophical art house aesthetics! This is not allowed!’ [then] they spit on us. They’ll try to lynch us," she said.
Wachowski spoke with similar emotion about bigotry she suffered when accepting a Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award earlier this month.
“People are freaked out by GLBT [gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered] people,” she said. “They’re angry about my gender or my life or the way I inhabit the world the same way that Hugo [Weaving] as Mephi feels that Sonmi is a threat to his natural order in the world. So it’s a weighty choice to do this, but I think… I hope it’s worth it.”