I don’t know what the hell to tell you about Cobalt Neutral 9. Long rumored and whispered and tweeted about as the Wachowski’s next project, the controversy-stirring Iraq story had to have been a tough sell, and unless it’s already managed to be shot somehow/somewhere it may have succumbed to its own difficult pitch and been pushed aside- or not. Another project the Wachowskis are involved with, Cloud Atlas, might have become their primary project – it’s all very vague.

Here’s the rundown… Earlier in the year we finally got a few plot details about Cobalt Neutral 9 as part of larger expose concerning shooting secrecy from new films. The detail were scant, but painted the picture of a button-pushing hard-R epic that tackled political and social themes in a big, odd package. Strange camera tests (or perhaps pre-shoots?) involving random pundits didn’t help make anything more clear.

Separately, it was announced the Wachowskis would produce an adaptation of the structure-bending novel Cloud Atlas, to be written and directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run). Episodic by nature (it’s a mirrored collection of six stories divided in half that interweave thematically), it was figured that the Wachowski Siblings might end up directing pieces of the film themselves.

The latest news actually comes from the NAACP Image Awards, where Halle Berry described one particular film on her slate…

“I’m goon do a movie, probably in the summer, with the Wachowskis –not the Wachowski brothers anymore– but the Wachowskis, a really interesting movie- sort of like they did for The Matrix, they have another really amazing idea that’s going to stretch our brains even further, and I’m really excited about that. And that’s with Tom Hanks and Natalie Portman.”

So we have Halle Berry as part of cast that includes the apparently signed Tom Hanks and Natalie Portman, and even rumors of Ian McKellen and James McAvoy, all of which are in a film that will shoot at some point this summer.

Certainly there is nothing definite that indicates the original plan is disrupted, as Cobalt Neutral 9 could certainly be moving ahead right now as Tykwer gears up Cloud Atlas, with the Wachowskis planning on shooting one or more segments, specifically whichever piece Berry fits into, and leaving the rest to Tykwer.

The six segments cover an American crossing the Pacific in 1850, an English musician in Belgium during the 1930s, an American journalist investigating  crime at Nuclear power plant in the 1970s, a modern UK publisher chased by gangsters, and two post-apocalyptic segments, one in the near totalitarian future, and another in the distant primitive future. Each story is split in half, and is witnessed or read about by the characters of the story that follow it, before the book backtracks and completes each tale in reverse. It’s a blueprint for the kind of twisty, out-of-the-box movie that both Tykwer and the Wachowskis are inclined towards.

I find it interesting that the three collaborators are all filmmakers I have great interest in and hope for, and yet haven’t seem to be fulfilling their respective promises in the last few years. I hope this unconventional movie will bring them all together in a way that sparks some great output from them. The filmmakers responsible for The Matrix, and the writer/director of both Run Lola Run and Perfume (a highly underrated piece of entertainment and filmmaking) should be doing really interesting things, and they’ve been quiet too long.

Source | The Playlist