Given Halo and Halo 2's runaway success, it wasn't so much a question of if there would be a Halo movie, but when. Now, it seems "when" will be "soon." According to today's Variety, Microsoft "has quietly put the finishing touches on a million-dollar deal" with 28 Days Later screenwriter Alex Garland to adapt Bungie's multiplatinum game franchise for the big screen.
Once hired, Garland will be part of a "turnkey" script package that Microsoft will shop around to studios. According to Variety, the cash-flush software giant is taking an unorthodox approach to developing the Halo film project. The paper says ex-Columbia Pictures president Peter Schlessel is advising Microsoft to "develop its own script and shop it to studios once satisfied" in order to avoid the critical drubbing suffered by such game-based movies as Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Alone in the Dark.
Variety reports that the Halo movie deal is being brokered by Creative Artists Agency, the Hollywood talent representation organization that handles both Microsoft Game Studios and Garland. Perhaps not so coincidentally, CAA is also the home of Seamus Blackley, who was director of the Xbox advanced technology team during the console's launch. Blackley left Microsoft in April 2002 and eventually joined the Capital Entertainment Group (CEG), an ambitious game-development group that folded just over a year later in 2003.
GameSpot will have more details on the Halo movie project as they become available.