New Details on The Wachowski Siblings COBALT NEURAL 9; also Working on CLOUD ATLAS

     September 22, 2010


After their cult-hit Speed Racer, there’s been much speculation about what the Wachowskis would be doing as their next project.  It looked like they were moving ahead with an independent film called “CN9 or “Cobalt Neural 9“.  Not much was known about the project other than it involved a distant future but also had a homosexual love story set during the Iraq War.  Vulture has now uncovered new details about the project.

First up, the title Cobalt Neural 9 is meaningless and will likely be changed again in the interest of secrecy.  Secondly, we now know that while part of the story will take place a hundred years in the future, but the “main story is told in Cloverfield-esque flashbacks by digital archeologists sorting through “found footage” from CNN and chips from old digital cameras from the US occupation of Iraq.”  Hit the jump for more details as well as the Wachowskis possibly going to work on an adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.

In the main storyline of Cobalt Neural 9, the protagonist is named “Butch”, a US soldier who “‘just wants to fuck and kill everything’ in Iraq — until, that is, he falls in love with the Iraqi.”  Here’s how Vulture sums up the plot (spoilers, obviously):

The two meet while Butch is on a combat patrol in Iraq during the second Gulf War, and soon enough, the two are engaged in graphically-described sex (actual line from the script: “They rut like animals behind this fence”) albeit while disguised in burqas. The two soldiers’ relationship blossoms, and Butch begins to get to know his lover’s family. But after he inadvertently draws attention to their ancestral home, disaster strikes. This tragedy radicalizes the pair and they become convinced that the only way to rid the world of evil is to kill the architect of the invasion, the then-President of the United States, George W. Bush. And so, during one of the president’s secret sorties to Iraq, they attempt to assassinate him.

[End Spoilers] While it’s unlikely that any studio would finance this (especially after Speed Racer tanked at the box office), Vulture projects that the movie would only cost around $20 million and that the Wachowskis could finance or co-finance the picture independently.  It’s possible that they’re planning to begin shooting next month in L.A., Germany, and Morocco.

However, Cobalt Neural 9 may not be their next project.  Vulture reports that The Wachowskis may be doing an adaptation of Cloud Atlas if that project gets financing first.  We believed that Tom Tykwer was directing the flick, but Vulture says he’s currently handling the script and that the Wachowskis are “producing and possibly directing a few of the novel’s six interlocking story-lines.”  As we previously reported, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Natalie Portman have been cast.  We also thought James McAvoy was on board, but Vulture says he hasn’t taken the offer yet).  Atlas would likely require studio financing for its projected $80-100 million budget.

For those who don’t know, here’s the synopsis for David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas:

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation — the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.

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