We reported back in August on the little that we knew about the Wachowskis upcoming writing/directing project Cobalt Neutral 9, namely that casting was underway, it was to be a gay love story set during the Iraq war and it is to be filmed in a cinema verité style.

Now, those fine folk at Vulture have brought us a lot more news about this intriguing project. First off, the title is intended to be deliberately obscure and appears nowhere in the script. Beyond that, there is a lot of detail about the plot, some of which might be considered to be spoiler-laden, so feel free to look away now:-

Part of the film takes place in the future all right — nearly a hundred from now. But its main story is told in Cloverfield-esque flashbacks by digital archaeologists sorting through “found footage” from CNN and chips from old digital cameras from the U.S. 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 f*** 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.

All of that sounds unconventional to say the least and given what a hot potato the position of gays in the US military is at the moment, it is not hard to agree with Vulture’s suggestion that the Wachowskis may find it difficult to find studio funding for this one. If it is a pet project for them that they feel passionate about, then with a rumoured budget of $20m, they could easily fund it themselves.

Apparently the Wachowskis are continuing to be very secretive about casting, although rumour has it that shooting may begin in LA, Germany and Morocco as soon as next month. It is hard to know for sure at this stage how this odd melding of Brokeback Mountain and In the Line of Fire will develop.

Vulture say that the Wachowskis are also developing an adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Natalie Portman already attached. James McAvoy is considering the film, with the screenplay being written by Tom Tykwer (director of Run Lola Run and Perfume). The book is a multi-genre, six-stranded narrative and needless to say therefore represents a very different proposition to Cobalt Neutral 9.

We will bring you more on both projects as they develop.

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Dave Roper
Dave has been writing for HeyUGuys since mid-2010 and has found them to be the most intelligent, friendly, erudite and insightful bunch of film fans you could hope to work with. He's gone from ham-fisted attempts at writing the news to interviewing Lawrence Bender, Renny Harlin and Julian Glover, to writing articles about things he loves that people have actually read. He has fairly broad tastes as far as films are concerned, though given the choice he's likely to go for Con Air over Battleship Potemkin most days. He's pretty sure that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the most overrated mess in cinematic history.