Peter Jackson has confirmed that he is no longer involved with any Halo movie or game projects but says the upcoming sci-fi flick District 9, which looks far more interesting, wouldn’t exist if the Halo movie hadn’t collapsed.
Jackson first became interested in the Halo franchise after his teenage son got him playing Halo 2, which he says he “loved.” Mary Parent, former president of production at Universal Studios who is now the Chairwoman of MGM’s Worldwide Motion Picture Group, eventually approached him with the film rights but after numerous starts and stops, the project finally fell through.
“Microsoft has a whole strategy with the Halo property, and when the rights expired with the two studios, that sort of ended my involvement with the project,” Jackson said at a recent screening of District 9. “That fell apart because of internal politics at Fox and Universal. It had nothing to do with the budget or anything else. In fact, we hadn’t even been greenlit at all at that point.”
He also confirmed that the Halo-based videogame that was to be developed by Jackson’s Wingnut Interactive has likewise been canceled. “That Halo project is no longer happening, it sort of collapsed when the movie didn’t end up happening,” he added.
But on the upside, the demise of the Halo project led to the rise of a provocative and original sci-fi film which will hopefully be far better than we would have got with a big screen Master Chief. District 9, coming out in August, tells the story of alien refugees who come to Earth as the last survivors of their homeworld and end up living in South African slums while the governments of the world argue over what to do with them.
District 9 director Neill Blomkamp was signed to direct the Halo movie and Jackson said he wanted to work with Blomkamp even when that movie was canceled. “District 9 was definitely born out of the Halo film ruins, and we wouldn’t have seen this movie if Halo had gone ahead,” he said. “We realized that we had a real talent in Neill Blomkamp, so we decided to find a project for him and we decided to build a story around his Alive in Joburg short film.”
Don’t expect District 9 to reverse the planned Halo strategy and be turned into a videogame, however. “We definitely felt like District 9 would have been a great video game property, and both Neill and myself love games, but we just couldn’t get our heads together,” Jackson continued. “I was working on The Lovely Bones, and he was busy filming District 9, and we just couldn’t get together on it in time.”