Director Gets His Halo

The feature film based on Microsoft’s hugely successful Halo video game franchise is closer to becoming a reality with news that Microsoft and exec producer Peter Jackson have chosen a director. Having directed commercials, music videos and short films, South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp will make his big-screen debut along with Master Chief.

Written by Alex Garland (28 Days Later), the Halo movie will faithfully follow the games, which have Master Chief battling alien forces for the fate of the planet. Weta Digital and Weta Workshop will provide the film’s visual effects and Peter Jackson and producing partner Fran Walsh will provide creative consulting on all aspects of production through their WingNut Films banner. Jackson reportedly championed Blomkamp for the director gig after seeing some of his short works.

You may not know him by name, but you’ve probably seen Blomkamp’s commercial work, which includes the Citroen spot in which a car transforms into a robot and performs a hip-hop dance on a rooftop. The commercial won three Clios and took top prize in Animation Magazine‘s AniCom Awards last year. His short films include Tempbot, in which an office gets some temporary help from a humanoid robot, and Alive in Joburg, a faux documentary about space aliens living in the slums of Johannesburg. You can watch Tempbot online here: www.transbuddha.com/mediaHolder.php?id=1301.

The first Halo video game was released in 2001 and spawned a hugely successful sequel, Halo 2, in 2004. Together, the titles have sold more than 13.8 million copies worldwide and grossed more than $600 million. Halo 2 alone earned $125 million in first-day sales. The 20th Century Fox movie is slated for release sometime in 2008.