So, which will it be: the hard R gay Iraq war romance "Cobalt Neutral 9" (formerly known as "CN9") or the more mainstream adaptation of David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"?
That's the big question facing the directing duo of the Wachowskis, as Vulture has revealed, they are continuing to develop both projects simultaneously and will determine which will one will go first depending which one finds financing first. Even though the estimated budget on "Cobalt Neutral 9" is $20 million versus $80 million for "Cloud Atlas," if we had to bet on it, our guess would be the latter project — which has Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, and Natalie Portman attached and an offer out to James McAvoy — is the safer bet for both studios and investors. Despite previous reports linking Tom Tykwer to the film, it appears he's only writing the screenplay with the Wachowskis producing and considering helming the film themselves. So just how out there is "Cobalt Neutral 9"? In short, it centers around an American and Iraqi solider who strike up a gay love affair and then plot to kill George W. Bush. We'll let Vulture break it down for you:
So yeah. It's ambitious, but given the graphic sex and outrageous plot, unless they can get a major star attached to one of the roles, it will be a vary hard sell, even for indie investors. Vulture indicates that the Wachowskis are certainly wealthy enough to finance the picture themselves, but we're sure even their accountants would advise against such an expensive and risky investment.
First, if you don’t understand the title, don’t worry: Our spies who read the screenplay tell us it's gibberish designed to inspire debate as to its meaning; it appears nowhere in the actual script.
Secondly, part of the film takes place in the future all right — nearly a hundred years from now. But its 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. The heroes are indeed a gay American soldier named (with little irony) "Butch" and an Iraqi soldier turned militant. Butch is endearing, young, and a ravishingly handsome Marine. Our spies tell us that he, "just wants to fuck and kill everything" in Iraq — until, that is, he falls in love with the Iraqi.
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.
But if you expect to hear news about "Cobalt Neutral 9" again anytime soon, it might be difficult. Vulture reports that the working title of the film will be changed again, and that any interested agents must report to Warner Bros. casting executive Lora Kennedy and read the screenplay on her couch. Should the film move into production, the Wachowskis are planning to shoot in Los Angeles, Germany, and Morocco.