[UPDATE: Microsoft has declared (publicly at least) that Halo is still on hold. See bottom of the post for details.]
Back in October of 2008, we talked about Halo gamers anticipating a movie made based on their favorite game.
We also noted that Stuart Beattie wrote a spec script for Halo because he was frustrated by the lack of progress on the project. (A spec script is a kind of pro bono task that someone writes but hasn't been hired to do it. A speculative type job)
Beattie (G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra) wrote the script as a character driven story based on a 6-year old boy who is kidnapped and trained by the USNC to become a Spartan Warrior. It's a prequel and based on the 2001 novel, Halo: The Fall of Reach.
I've read that book and it's an awesome read.
So even though Beattie put together the script, no one has been really biting. Studios have been leery of dropping money on a franchise that looks like it has promise but might not pan out.
Now, the good news, exclusively from IESB, is that Steven Spielberg is in negotiations to produce the video game-based project.
Spielberg happens to be a huge gaming fan and has recently found himself stuck in the 15th level of BioShock.
Robert at IESB added that Spielberg has a great relationship with the owner of the film rights, Microsoft. Not to mention he's buddies with Bill Gates.
Halo is a video game by Bungie and published by Microsoft. There have been three versions of the game, five novels, two graphic novels and various spin-off games and other products.
To me, this is completely awesome news. But I must temper everyone's enthusiasm. Even though everything seems like puzzle pieces that will all fit together perfectly, Spielberg is in negotiations. This isn't a given... yet.
If all goes well, then we benefit totally. This is great news...
UPDATE: ...Or is it? Video game website Kotaku got in touch with Microsoft recently, and the company that Gates built confirmed that Halo is still on hold. Here's the quote:
We're glad there's still a lot of enthusiasm in the entertainment industry surrounding the idea of a Halo movie. That said, the Halo feature film remains on hold as we focus on projects like Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach.
Microsoft wouldn't elaborate any more than that, so maybe they are trying to bring on a big name producer like Spielberg to get the ball rolling, maybe not. Time will tell for certain.
Update source: Kotaku