We caught up with Peter Jackson himself last night, after a screening of District 9 – the feature-length debut of director Neill Blomkamp who had previously been attached to helm the Halo movie that fizzled out. Jackson explained that they felt like they had an amazing director in Blomkamp and they didn't want to lose the opportunity to work with him so, instead of bringing Halo to the big screen, they created an entire film based on his Alive in Joburg short. (See the rest of Blomkamp's work here, in our roundup).
District 9 – which Jackson produced and is coming to theaters on August 14 – is seriously amazing. There's a wide array of alien weapons that would make Ratchet & Clank jealous, CGI aliens that look better than Avatar, walking mech suits, and a really amazing performance from lead actor Sharlto Copley. Clear your calendars and make plans to see this one. But back to the Halo movie that never was: After the screening, we got to sit down with Jackson to ask him about just that. Read on to find out where the Halo movies stands, and if we'll ever see the long-rumored Halo Chronicles video game project.
Joystiq: So, what's happening on the Halo film front? Anything?
Peter Jackson: Well, 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. 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.
What about your own company, Wingnut Interactive? District 9 feels like it would have been a great game.
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 ... 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.
Would District 9 exist without Halo?
District 9 was definitely born out of the Halo film ruins, and we wouldn't have seen this movie if Halo had gone ahead. I have always felt that if fate is taking you somewhere, don't fight it. 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 Live in Joburg short film.
How did you get involved in Halo in the first place?
Well, I have a son who is a teenager now, and he was really into Halo 2. So, I ended up playing it and then I went back through and played the original and I loved it. You know, Gears of War is fantastic as well. Anyhow, producer Mary Parent had the rights to it, and she came to me with it.
What other projects will Wingnut Interactive be involved in? Is the Halo project you were working on still happening?
We're still figuring that out right now. That Halo project is no longer happening, it sort of collapsed when the movie didn't end up happening.
With both District 9 and The Lovely Bones opening later this year, writing on The Hobbit parts 1 and 2 underway and tentatively coming in December 2011 and December 2012, and handling producing duties on Tintin ... Jackson is a bit busy. Still, with Jackson's involvement in the Halo movie and the long-since-missing Halo Chronicles game project all but dashed, we'd love to see what he could do in the gaming space, either on the big, or small, screen.