'There Was No Face Anywhere': Why One Movie Producer Chose Uncharted Over Halo

Not to knock on the PS3's signature action franchise, but the Uncharted games never sparked the kind of cultural fascination that the Halo franchise did under Bungie's tenure. So, if you had to make a movie of one series, you'd pick Master Chief over Nathan Drake, right? Not if you're Avi Arad, you wouldn't.

With producer credits on the Spider-Man, X-Men and Blade movies and more, Arad's partially responsible for much of the nerd-friendly fare that's wound up on the silver screen over the last decade. He's turning his attention to adapting video games nowadays and a new interview at IFC's Fix blog explores why he didn't jump onto the chance to option Halo when he had the chance:

"My problem with the ‘Halo‘ games was that there was no face anywhere. I didn't know what to do with it. I thought about it a lot, because commercially it was huge. But when I look at things like ‘Metal Gear Solid' and I'm reading the bible for it, and there's this Cain and Abel story and all this shit, I'm like, ‘Now, that is a movie!'"

The interview also talks about how the facelessness endemic to first-person-shooters may make them less attractive to deal-makers like Arad:

"Sometimes I would find that video games lacked one particular component: the definition of the hero of the game," he explained. "And that's because you are that character - especially with the first-person shooters."

Arad also declares that the still-brewing Uncharted movie will be the "first of many" films starring Nathan Drake, provided the film directed by Limitless director Neil Burger makes everyone involved oodles of money.

Avi Arad on the "Uncharted" movie and why he passed on "Halo" [IFC Fix]


    He'd probably fuck it up anyway.

      lol amen to that
      but at least we will get SOMETHING to watch until there is a remake *cough* spiderman

      just dont get john woo to make the halo movie

    I would really not pick Halo over Uncharted, ever.

      If you're talking games, I guess it depends if you prefer an FPS to a 3rd person platform / shooter.

      But I was making a movie - when it comes to things like characters and story (which are a lot more important to a movie than they are to a game), Uncharted would win every single time.

      I would. Chief's a boring character from a narative perspective. He's a good avatar but that's about it. Drake on the otherhand is a charming rogue with a self destructive adrenaline junkie streak. A far more engaging personality.

      Hell, even Price and Soap from Modern Warfare have more personality than the Master Chief.

        They do not have any personality at all. They never have.

        Now the facial hair they have. THERE'S your personality.

        i am quite happy with Halo: Legends
        its the only way to tell a halo "movie esque story"

      Make a mass effect movie...fully customisable character. That enough faces for ya?

    whats the point of an Uncharted movie? what could you possably improve? what could be gained?

    the game IS a movie...thats is "thing"

    weve already seen this movie, it was called indiana jones then national treausure

    unless they somhow make me NOT want to stab nathan drake in the face

      Are you just complaining that an uncharted movie would be too similar to some previous movies? We haven't had a decent adventure-style movie in aaagggges

        I think starchild's point is that Uncharted is so much like a movie that's its pointless making an Uncharted movie. And I agree.

        As for a good adventure movie, I'd say Tintin is the best adventure movie I've seen for years. One of the best adventure movies since Raiders, IMO. Watch that if you haven't already.

          exactally....Uncharted just doesnt have anything unique or interesting enough to warrant a movie...just brand name alone

      Day one if Nathan Drake is played by Nicholas Cage!

        I just find uncharted so......"cliche" its cringe worthy...I don;t hate the games but there is really nothing there I havnt seen a million times before

        at least halo seems kind of interesting

          Really? The halo games are some of the most bland, boring and generic sci-fi i've ever seen.

          The main character is called 'master chief' for chrissake! He may as well be called 'Awesome captain'

            that may be true, but there is a universe to work with...(as in all the books/comics)

            uncharted just seems limited asdie from havign drake running around being drake

            yes, I do have a preference for sci fi

            Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, actually. Which is, for intents and purposes, a real rank.

            And yes, they call him "The Chief". That's a badass moniker. Like "The Bride" in Kill Bill. Characters don't need names to be kick-ass. Which doesn't really matter, because he /has a name/.

            And I would argue that the sci-fi in the games is pretty good. And in the books, it's beautiful.

          What is interesting about the halo? the part where the cool guy in futuristic armour shoots aliens or the part where..no wait that's about it

            The part where humanity is saved by an extremely dangerous and dubious act. The Spartans were created by kidnapping children, making their parents slowly experience the slow death of a cloned kid, torturing these kids and augmenting them with technology in a process of extreme pain that will kill most patients and training them to be psychopathic killing machines so that they can fight other humans.

            Is it moral what they did? Considering that, if they hadn't done this, Earth and humanity would have fallen to the Covenant, it becomes a really grey area.

              mass effect tried to delve into this grey area with the whole augmentation of biotics thing.
              it wouldve been a bigger part of the story if, you know...the galaxy wasnt about to get destroyed and all

    the thing with the halo series though is that there is a whole universe of stories in the thing. and only a few of them actually involve the master chief, who i assume is the sole reason he thought the series was 'faceless'.
    what about a movie based on contact harvest, when humanity first came in contact with the covenant. or if it must have the chief in it, what about fall of reach, which deals extensively with john growing up through military training, rarely in his famous suit.

      I've got to question how much freedom he had to leave Master Chief/Halo 1-3 out of it. Odds are we'd get a Master Chief movie with a terrible incarnation of the guy.

      Both of them have just as much potential to be good as they do bad, but Uncharted just seems like the clear winner from a producers point of view. It's a safer bet as far as genre, there's not as much pressure and they don't need to invest nearly as much. Halo has the potential to be out of control successful but at the same time it's going to cost a lot of money and have a mountain of hype to live up to.

      I'm a huge Halo fan but I must agree that Halo would be hard to make on a number of levels, especially if it focused on the Master Chief unless it was just an origin story which might not actually be that interesting. I can't imagine actors like Vin Diesel (one of the more popular suggestions) being that interested in the role as he would mainly be doing voice work. You raise a good point about the rest of the Halo universe especially characters like Sgt Johnson and Captain Keyes and maybe the broader spartan program like that explored in Reach. Jorge was such a cool dude!

        Actually Vin Diesel was the voice of the Iron Giant. I know he did the voice of Riddick in the animated movie and games. I can't remember any other specific roles off the top of my head, but it actually sounds like his sort of thing.

        Yeah I reckon if you were to make a Halo movie you'd make Reach wouldn't you?

    Does any remember Darth Vader? He was a faceless hero/villian for almost three complete movies. Like nebarik said, there is more to 'Halo' then just 'Master Chief' and all these could be tied together in one or more movies.

    Also... Last I heard about the 'Halo' was that Microsoft are too controlling or something like that that made Hollywood back away.

      True but Darth Vaders suit was the personification of his character. It was meant to be evil and when you saw the suit you thought of a faceless, murdering villain.
      The suit meant that he was devoid of any human characteristics that you could attach to further enforcing the idea of him being cruel.
      Master chief suit does really do that.

        Good point but isn't Master Chief (at the start) seen as a war machine? Built to help the ongoing war or war before that (I forget at the moment)? Now he is seen as so much more, which is a bit like Darth Vader really but I do see your point though.

      He didn't need a face because his purpose was to be an intimidating force for the plucky young heroes (with faces) to do battle with.

      Most of the Empire was faceless. Part of that was to dehumanize them to make it all too clear who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. The constant Nazi references served the same purpose.

      I may have just watched the original trilogy this weekend...

      Except Darth Vader wasn't the main character in the original 3 movies, even then it was revealed the he was human and had emotions.

      The prequels (cringe) were a (horribly flawed) attempt to give more depth to his character so as NOT appear too one dimensional.

    Uncharted > Halo... by a mile... but its subjective; not everyone will agree with this statement, just as I dont agree with Halo being better than Uncharted. Halo to me is limited by its own narrative... Uncharted is limitless.

      Uncharted is limited to Earth and what Earth can produce to a degree, when you are dealing within Sci-Fi then the 'unlimited' is true. (not trying to have a go or say which is better or who is right)

      Uncharted is limited. You take away Drake there is no uncharted. On the other hand Halo has a whole universe developed around it. Countless books, comics, stories have been developed all without Master Chief involved. There is countless history in Halo where multiple stories can be told. An Uncharted movie would have to stick to the same story every time......find treasure, keep it away from the bad guys.

      ...what? Halo is limited by its own narrative? What do you mean?
      Halo has told dozens and dozens of stories across games, books, comics, short films...

      halo has a whole universe to work with

      Uncharted has.....a main charachter its too easy to hate

        Movies aren't about universes, they're about characters. Uncharted's lead character is a hell of a lot more interesting than Halo's.

          yes..but a universe can give the film makers room to do what they do best, make films

          or....what about Knights of the old republic? Bioware had the star wars universe and were able to make an awsome RPG out of it...rather than say...be limited to sticking to the original trilogy or (god forbid) the prequels

    Who said Halo needed Master Chief? Who said Master Chief needed to be an adult the whole time?

    I was thinking Contact Harvest was a better film opportunity than Halo 1.

    A Halo movie would be horrendous, i think we all know this, i mean, has a first person shooter ever made the transition from game to screen and not been terrible? Besides, the studios would struggle big time to accept a main protagonist who wears a helmet the whole film, guaranteed that would be the first thing changed. Admittedly, in the new Judge Dredd film his face is constantly hidden but that was only after battles with the studio to retain the faceless enigma of Dredd.

      I disagree; it would need to be based on a book rather than the games, however it could very well work. And it could be great.

    Why can't anyone see that video games and movies should just never mix? If they're lucky, it'll end up with a Rotten Tomatoes score in the extremely low double digits.

    Money, a Halo movie is only sellable to Halo fans and gamers in general to a lesser extent.An unchatred film has that demographic as well as action film fans and depending on how they sell it nationial tresure and even Da-vinchi code fans and in general stands a lot better chance of being a mainstream blockbuster hit.
    Also remember that the Doom movie was a flop whereas the Tomb Raider film atleast was succsessful enough to spawn a sequel,bums on seats people.

      Doom was a flop for a few reasons, one of them was that Universal was sitting on the rights to that for years and when it was about to run out, they quickly put one together in order to beat the due date. That is not how you make a movie, not rush rush rush.

      Halo (my opinion here) has more of a chance to become a block buster than Uncharted. If you look at all the movies that are basically the same, Tomb Raider (only got a sequal because of Angela Joline), Indiana Jones, National Treasure, Davinchi movies etc etc. There are a lot out there already so movie goers might be bored of that. Sci-Fi, if done right will become a hit even if the story is crap - e.g. Avatar

      That's like saying The Avengers would only be of interest to comic book readers. If they just jump into the story without any background they would only interest existing fans. That's why so many franchises establish themselves with an origin story. Halo is just science fiction and when done right will appeal to a much broader audience but they do have to pick the right story to tell. So action in a sci-fi setting will get less bums on seats? Have you heard of any of these "little" films: Aliens, Predator, Avatar, and Prometheus that all had some similar elements to Halo (maybe also Terminator)?

      There have been plenty of flops of attempts to rip-off Indiana Jones.

        I'm sure Halo was heavily influenced by Aliens.

        Personally, i think sci-fi fans would more likely be interested in an new, original and intelligent franchise/film over an adaption of a fps game with a generic concept. The film will only appeal to Halo fans and the idiots who would pay to see Battleship. An Uncharted film could appeal to much wider audience.

          somtimes "blasting aliens" and "ships" is enough

          hence why I would take gears of war over any military themed shooter...I'm just funny that way

    Maybe they can call it........
    Indiana Drake and the Uncharted Temple
    Tomb Raider: The Uncharted
    The Uncharted National Treasure. Or
    The last of Us: Drake now has a beard and chases Zombies

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now