Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox announced that triple-Academy Award winners Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will executive produce Halo, the upcoming film based on Microsoft's popular video game from Bungie Studios. Jackson and Walsh will, in fact, have extensive control over all creative aspects of the film via their WingNut Films banner, and Jackson's companies Weta Digital and Weta Workshop will provide creatures, miniatures and visual effects for the production. The Halo agreement marks the first time that Jackson and Walsh have performed these services on a major studio film that Jackson is not directing.
This move is viewed as very important by fans of the Halo games as Mr. Jackson's involvement appears to guarantee a certain level of quality. Bungie has been quick to comment on what the appointment actually means for the movie: ...from fabricating Covenant weapons to building life-sized Forerunner structures to accomplishing shot after shot of complex live-action/CG integration - simply put, there's no group of people we'd rather have realize the Halo universe on screen.
The deal does not involve Peter Jackson as a director although as long as no other name is announced, Halo fans will remain hopeful that he may be tempted. The fact that King Kong is currently in post production is also a hint that there is still time to secure Mr. Jackson's directorial skills for the Halo movie.
Commenting on the announcement Peter Jackson said: As a gaming fan, I'm excited to bring Halo's premise, action and settings to the screen with all the specificity and reality today's technology can provide. Fran and I are intrigued by the unique challenges this project offers, and we're delighted to be working again with our friends at Universal, and with our new ones at Fox and Microsoft. I'm a huge fan of the game and look forward to helping it come alive on the cinema screen.
Halo will be shot in its entirety in Wellington, New Zealand, where Mr. Jackson's companies and their studios are based. Halo's producers are currently aiming for a summer 2007 worldwide release. Universal will handle domestic distribution and Fox will handle the international release.