Heaven Help Us: 'Halo' Has Helmer


Universal and 20th Century Fox have recruited a first-time feature director to oversee the sure-to-be-expensive big screen version of "Halo."

The studios have selected 26-year-old advertising and f/x savant Neill Blomkamp to direct "Halo," setting off a frenzy of online activity as fans of the bestselling Microsoft videogame rushed to sites like Google Video and YouTube.com to track down Blomkamp's collected works.

Thanks to those sites, it's possible to view an impressive assortment of Blomkamp clips. At least one of the tyro's commercials, the "Alive With Technology" Citroen ad featuring a stretching and dancing car, was already widely circulated as an example of how fans hope a "Transformers" feature might look. The short film "Alive in Joburg," in which aliens come to South Africa and face prejudice and police oppression, shows visual savvy and a fetishistic interest in effects and technology.

Born in South Africa and working out of Vancouver, Blomkamp has work in the effects departments on several television shows including "Smallville" and "Dark Angel," earning an Emmy nomination for his work on the latter show.

Although there had been rumors that the studios were looking for a new "Halo" script, both industry trade papers claim that the film is still going forward with a screenplay by Alex Garland ("28 Days Later").

Initially Fox and Universal had hoped to have "Halo" in theaters by 2007, time to coincide with the release of the "Halo 3" game.

The wildly popular game focuses on superwarrior Master Chief and his battle against a variety of aliens. More than 13.8 million combined copies of "Halo" and "Halo 2" have been sold worldwide since the games premiered in 2001 and 2004.

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