By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 29, 2010 at 5:53AM
It looks the Wachowskis have settled on their next project and while their hugely ambitious R-rated Iraq war gay romance "Cobalt Neutral 9" was gaining heat but it looks like that one will have to wait as "Cloud Atlas" now appears be headed in front of cameras next summer.
At a Q&A following a screening of "Frankie & Alice" for the 42nd NAACP Image Awards, Halle Berry was surprisingly forthcoming about what she is expected to be working on next saying, "I'm going to do a movie probably in the summer with the Wachowskis.....A really interesting movie [that is] sort of [like] what they did for 'The Matrix,' they have another really amazing idea that's sort of gonna stretch our brains even further. And so I'm really excited about that and that's probably gonna be in the summer. And that's with Tom Hanks and Natalie Portman."
The project has been in development for a while, but was configured with the Wachowskis producing and Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run," "The International") writing and directing. However, earlier this fall, it appeared that the sibling duo were eyeing take the director's chairs themselves, with reports suggesting that the pair would be "possibly directing a few of the novel’s six interlocking story lines." It remains unclear if they're simply producing as initially planned or will be co-directing or directing, but it appears everything is moving ahead.
Halle Berry, Tom Hanks and Natalie Portman were all officially attached to the film late this past summer, with offers to James McAvoy and Ian McKellen put out earlier in the year. No word yet on if either actor will be joining the film, but even with McKellen now pretty much on board "The Hobbit," depending on when "Cloud Atlas" lenses its definitely feasible he could work on the film.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Wachowskis adapt David Mitchell's source material but there's no doubt its suited to their sensibilities. The five hundred plus page book spans centuries and follows six major characters described thusly by Amazon: "There is a naïve clerk on a nineteenth-century Polynesian voyage; an aspiring composer who insinuates himself into the home of a syphilitic genius; a journalist investigating a nuclear plant; a publisher with a dangerous best-seller on his hands; and a cloned human being created for slave labor. These five stories are bisected and arranged around a sixth, the oral history of a post-apocalyptic island, which forms the heart of the novel."
We're sure there will be more news on the way, but this is definitely exciting stuff. "Cloud Atlas" is a favorite among Playlisters and we are definitely curious to see how the narratives will be conjured on the big screen. [Natalie Portman]