Introducing a new feature here at Game of PWNs: Dream-Casting. In this feature, I will explore casting video game movies that have yet to be made. Today, everyone’s favorite shooter: HALO.
Halo follows the adventures of Master Chief, a cybernetic soldier called a SPARTAN, as he fights to protect the human race from a group of unified alien forces calling themselves the Covenant. The title “Halo” refers to a space station shaped like, well, a halo. The game firmly established Microsoft’s XBox line as a competitor to Sony’s PlayStation line of consoles. For years, a Halo movie has been in development but hit a significant roadblock when potential directors Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) and Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) backed out. Despite the delays, a Halo movie in inevitable. It is one of the most popular video game franchises in history and sic-fi epics tend to do well at the box office, especially ones with a built-in fan base.
The purpose of this feature is not to write the story (which for this franchise has practically been written as each game feels like a movie already), but to cast some of the most popular video game characters in history. Let’s give it a go.
As the AI sidekick of Master Chief, Cortana is one of the most popular characters in the franchise. She is one of many characters that may be portrayed using CGI only, so finding a woman that looks the part is unnecessary. However, given that Cortana is the most central female character in the series, using a commercially appealing actress would help reach a wider audience. One could go in any direction when casting Cortana. She is not of any particular ethnicity, so finding an actress with a strong voice and good acting chops would be ideal. Cortana has an American accent and, of course, is intelligent. While this is not a narrow field, Jessica Chastain (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty) is a two-time Oscar Nominee and has yet to try her hand at a blockbuster.
Sgt. Avery Johnson:
A marine that leads the humans into battle, Johnson is a close ally to Master Chief. Johnson is a grizzled veteran and a no-nonsense guy, but what marine isn’t? The ideal choice is Denzel Washington, but at this point in his career it may be difficult to persuade him to take a supporting role. I could see Jamie Foxx taking the role because while he is now a serious actor, I could see his fun side persuading him to accept this challenge.
Captain Jacob Keyes:
As a high-ranking leader in the United Nations Space Command, Keyes is the effectively the leader of the good guys in the first Halo game. He is old enough to have a daughter in the UNSC (see Miranda Keyes) but fit enough to see combat from time to time. Bruce Willis is an ideal choice, and given how high-profile this project would be, I don’t think it would be much of a reach to think Willis would embrace the role.
Commander Miranda Keyes:
Miranda is the daughter of Captain Jacob Keyes and is an instrumental figure in Halo 2 and 3. Given the fate of her father and the lack of female characters in the first Halo game, including Miranda in the first film would help round out the hero cast. Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead) is the kind of fresh face that is lacking from this cast so far.
Given that the following characters will either be CGI or never show their face, distinguished voices are key from here on out.
While there are several High Prophets, there need be only one as the central villain in the first Halo movie. They are the leaders of the Covenant and go by names like Truth, Mercy, and Regret. Sir Anthony Hopkins has the star power and critical success to add even more credibility to the cast.
The Arbiter is a title given to a Covenant Elite soldier highly regarded for their bravery and skill who are sent on suicidal missions. An eventual ally of Master Chief, the Arbiter could be used as the MC’s primary antagonist in the first film as he is a match in terms of skills and abilities. Vin Diesel‘s voice fits the profile perfectly as someone who could both be a villain and a hero.
343 Guilty Spark:
A robot who plays a significant role in the Flood storyline, 343 Guilty Spark is like a twisted C-3PO. On one hand, he can provide comic relief. On the other, he will burn you alive if it means accomplishing his mission parameters. This would be an interesting part for Simon Pegg (Shawn of the Dead, Star Trek, Hot Fuzz) who is primarily known for his comedic acting.
This one is a doozy. How do you cast the face of your franchise when you never actually see his face? The voice and the man in the suit need not be one and the same, but at the same time you need someone who can carry the film with his voice while still playing someone who doesn’t show much emotion. If I were picking the an actor to build around, I would choose someone who isn’t necessarily a household name, but isn’t completely raw either. I’m thinking someone who would forever be known for playing Master Chief, but would still have a career post-Halo. Idris Elba (Luther, Thor, Pacific Rim) gets the nod here. While a rising star in his own right, he has yet to have a career-defining role. This could be it.