Visual effects mastermind Neill Blomkamp, born in South Africa, is to direct the big screen adaptation of the videogame Halo, which will be executive produced by Lord of the Rings’ Peter Jackson. It was suggested at one time that Jackson might direct but that rumour has now been squashed with the announcement last week that it will be Blomkamp.
Halo is a popular XBox game set in a futuristic world where human soldiers discover a set of weapons of mass destruction.
This will be Blomkamp’s debut as a director. He will have the support of Jackson’s Weta Digital company which was responsible for the special effects in the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings.
Since leaving SA, Blomkamp has worked as Lead 3D Animator on TV series like Mallville, Stargate SG-1 and Dark Angel for which he received an Emmy-nomination.
He also received acclaim for his short film, Alive in Joburg that portrayed extraterrestrials living as fugitives in the future.
Blomkamp is possibly best recognised for his work on TV commercials. In 2005 he won three Clio Awards for the TV commercial Citroen a€” Alive with Technology. In 2004 he was featured in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase at Cannes Lions.
Jackson, a self-acknowledged gaming fan, says he is excited “to bring Halo’s premise, action and settings to the screen with all the specificity and reality today’s technology can provide.
“With Neill on board, I’m even more excited by the potential of this project,” said Jackson.
The South African was sought out by Jackson for the directing job, Carlo Trulli of top commercial production company Spy Films told website IGN.com.
“Blomkamp has harnessed the powers of technology, art and creativity to bring the world imagery never before possible,” reads his official Spy Films bio.
“Garnering his exceptional CG skills in an intelligent and specific manner, his forte is creating pure photo-real visualizations of concepts that not only can’t be photographed, but exists only in his imagination.”
It is said that Denzel Washington may play the role of the helmet-wearing supersoldier Master Chief.
The script will be handled by novelist D.B. Weiss after a previous draft by Alex (’28 Days Later’) Garland was bought by Microsoft for $1-million and sold to Universal for $10-million.
The film is to be filmed in New Zealand with a scheduled release date of mid-2008.