* ActingForTwo: In the movie, the AllStarCast plays one role in almost every timeline, in a type of invocation of NarrowedItDownToTheGuyIRecognize. It would probably be easier to list who ''doesn't'' play multiple roles.
* DoingItForTheArt: This is one of the most expensive Independent Movies ever made. Of course it would count as this.
* FakeNationality: Too many to count. Just to list a few, Chinese Zhou Xun plays a Korean waitress, Australian Hugo Weaving plays a German composer, American Tom Hanks plays a Cockney gangster and so on and so forth.
* HeyItsThatGuy: This comes with having an AllStarCast and . In this case, it's unique in that "That Guy/Girl" probably [[ActingForTwo plays more than one character]] in the film.
* HeyItsThatVoice: The Japanese dub is a good as the original English version in the AllStarCast department. For the sake of simplicity, only the actors who played their group of characters will be listed here:
** Creator/TomHanks: Creator/KazuhikoInoue
** Creator/HalleBerry: Creator/TakakoHonda
** Creator/JimBroadbent: HiroyaIshimaru
** Creator/BaeDoona: Creator/MikakoTakahashi
** James D'Arcy: Creator/KentaroIto
** Creator/DavidGyasi: HirokiTakahashi
** Creator/BenWhishaw: Creator/TomokazuSeki (Brutally PlayingAgainstType, if we take into account he's also voicing ''[[CrossDressingVoices Georgette]]'')
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: Hanks and Grant, for sure, but even Broadbent gets in touch with his inner bastard in a couple of his roles.
* PlayingAgainstType: You could make arguments for a lot of parts actors play in the movie. Seeing Tom Hanks playing characters as sleazy, or downright villainous, as [[{{Slimeball}} the Hotel Manager]], [[DeadlyDoctor Dr. Henry Goose]] and [[AxCrazy Dermot Hoggins]] is a delightful surprise. Hugh Grant plays both a CorruptCorporateExecutive and a ''[[ImAHumanitarian cannibal tribesman]]''.
* ShoutOut: Many and varied, since Mitchell writes in just about every genre going. Each genre is more or less explicitly compared to what inspired it:
** In the film, Cavendish compares Knuckle Sandwich to Moby Dick, an attempt to pacify Dermot about the former's lagging sales.
** In one story, ''The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish'', the protagonist quotes [[spoiler:''Film/SoylentGreen'', which becomes horribly relevant in the next story]].
** The name of one story's title character, Luisa Rey, is an apparent [[ShoutOut reference]] to the book ''The Bridge of San Luis Rey'' by Thornton Wilder.
** When Dermont [[spoiler: kills the critic who gave his book a bad review]], the scene brings to mind [[Creator/ConanOBrien Conan O'Brien's]] death in ''WesternAnimation/SouthParkBiggerLongerAndUncut''.
** Sonmi~[[Literature/{{Fahrenheit451}} 451]]'s number.
** Fabricants? Disposable clones employed for inhuman tasks without regard for their dignity? Sounds like [[Film/BladeRunner Replicants]].
** Sonmi mentions reading the works of "optimists" Huxley and Orwell. This is a reference to Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, best remembered for their respective dystopian novels ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'' and ''[[Literature/NineteenEightyFour 1984]]''.
** In the film, the fighters used in Sonmi's segments look like [[Franchise/StarTrek The Klingon's Bird of Prey ships]].
** Unsurprisingly, the way Hae-Joo Chang looks like in the film kind of evokes [[Film/TheMatrix Neo]]. Likewise, the Unanimity forces kind of look like not only resemble him, but also the police from the [[{{Film/Equilibrium}} Tetragrammaton Council]].
** The cops chasing Sonmi~451 and Hae-Joo Chang are authorized to use [[Film/TheBluesBrothers "excessive force."]]
** During Sonmi's speech, some of the [[spoiler: Union and Unanimity forces]], seem to be using the same submachine guns used by [[VideoGame/HalfLife2 The Combine]].
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Quite a few things, both book and movie, according to this [[http://www.slashfilm.com/15-things-cloud-atlas/ piece]] by Slashfilm.
** The book was supposed to have 9 stories, starting all the way back in the 12 century.
** Dr. Ovid was supposed to be played by Tom Hanks.
** Ben Whishaw was supposed to appear as a business man in Sonmi's story.
** James D'Arcy had a bigger role in Cavendish's tale before it got cut down.
** Creator/NataliePortman, JamesMcAvoy and Creator/IanMcKellen were once involved in the project at one point.