Last May the news came out that we are going to get a live-action Halo series for Microsoft’s new Xbox One game console. None other than Steven Spielberg was on board to produce, but in the intervening months, we haven’t heard much about the project. The games still seem as popular as ever among those folks who are into such things, though I kind of forgot about the whole deal, at least until today. Not only is the series still happening, but it may have landed a big name to direct the pilot. Reports, okay, a report has come out saying that District 9 and Elysium helmer Neill Blomkamp could be the man for the job.
According to Latino Review’s usually well-placed sources, Blomkamp could very well take the reins on the initial installment. If this does come to pass, this won’t be the South African director’s first Halo rodeo. In 2007 he directed a series of short films based on the game, and fans immediately started salivating. This is two years before he caught everyone’s attention with his feature debut, the apartheid-parable District 9.
Following that, he was attached to a proposed film adaptation, one that had already been kicking around for a few years. Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Dredd) was given a ton of money to write the script, but there were problems from the get go, the project never materialized or gained any momentum, and everyone involved, Blomkamp included, moved on to movies that actually got made.
Given this troubled history, Blomkamp seems like both a strange and natural choice for a pilot. Then again, maybe he’s just a huge fan, or looking for some closure on the matter. And by all reports it was the studios that gave him the most grief in the process, so with them out of the way, perhaps he thought it was time to give it another go. We’ll find out more as more news comes out.
The series will be available on Xbox Live, and game developer 343 Industries will also produce. Nancy Tellum, president of Microsoft’s entertainment and digital media, said, “TV on the Xbox One will immerse you, allowing you to virtually jump into the action. It’s truly personalized. It will provide recommendations with amazing precision. It’s truly social. Xbox is about to become the next water cooler. And this is only Act One.”
Spielberg himself added, “The Halo universe is an amazing opportunity to be at an intersection where technology and myth-making converge.”
Blomkamp has previously stated that he had not been approached to participate in the Halo series, but if this report pans out, it looks like that situation has definitely changed. He won tons of acclaim with District 9, but when he released his follow up, Elysium, last year, the critical and commercial take was drastically different. Reviews panned the film for being heavy handed, and audiences stayed away.
Even given all of the issues with his last outing, Blomkamp has one of the most unique, impressive visual styles out there, and hell, it was only his second full-length movie, not every single film is going to be perfect. I don’t play Halo, but from what I know, the idea of Blomkamp getting his hands on this is interesting, if not full-blown exciting. The mech suits, vehicles, mixture of digital and practical special effects, and action seem tailor made for his aesthetic approach.
What do you think about this? Do you like the idea of Blomkamp at the helm? Or a Halo series in general?