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Even though the following quote appeared before “Jupiter Ascending” massively tanked last weekend, perhaps the Wachowskis had already seen the writing on the wall. Their latest cinematic effort reportedly cost well over $175 million, which is franchise money for studios these days, but the duo were using it to spin a tale about a space man-dog, a Russian janitor princess, and something involving Soylent Green. Critics largely savaged it, audiences were disinterested, and the Wachowskis realize that may have been their last time playing with a couple hundred million dollars on the studio level for a while.
But luckily for the siblings, they’ve found a believer in Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, who is backing the duo’s upcoming new series “Sense8.” It’s another big, ambitious, globe-spanning offering from the Wachowskis, spawned from their distinct and unique imaginations (along with “Babylon 5” creator J. Michael Straczynski), and Sarandos believes the episodic format will serve them better than trying to fit their vision into a traditional cinematic box. And his evidence? Apparently, he has seen an extended version of the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer‘s “Cloud Atlas,” the duo’s previous expensive, underperforming effort.
“It’s the best four hours of anything we’ve done,” Sarandos teased about “Sense8” (via Deadline). “Their film reviews have been brutal, and everything after ‘The Matrix‘ didn’t go well, but if you look at the earlier cuts of their films before they had to jam them down to 120 minutes, it’s amazing. There’s a four-hour cut of ‘Cloud Atlas’ that will blow you away.”
That bit of info is probably huge news to fans and defenders of “Cloud Atlas” but…where is it? Start your petition to Warner Bros. now, but don’t hold your breath. Spending their money on the Wachowskis is probably the last thing they want to do at the moment, but maybe Netflix can somehow make it available? We’ll see. But “Sense8” sounds like the kind of project fans of the Wachowskis have been waiting for since “The Matrix.”
“From a budget standpoint and a running time, it’s every bit as big, if not bigger, than their feature films,” Sarandos said, with a source telling Deadline: “Who knows if they’ll ever direct a film again? They might have found their niche with episodic drama.”
“Sense8” arrives on Netflix in May.