Peter Jackson and Fran Walshhave signed on as executive producers on the upcoming adaptation of the smashhit video game Halo.
The pair will offer creative advice through theirWingNut Films, and Jackson's Weta Digital and Weta Workshop will provide visualeffects, creatures and miniatures for the production.
The Universal Pictures, Fox Filmed Entertainment and Microsoft project marksthe first time Jackson and Walsh will perform these services on a major studioproject without Jackson directing.
Alex Garland is writing the screenplay and a director is expected to beannounced shortly.
The picture will shoot entirely in Wellington, New Zealand, and is scheduledfor a summer 2007 domestic release through Universal and the rest of the worldthrough Fox International.
Mary Parent and Scott Stuber will produce with Peter Schlessel. Universal's president of production DonnaLangley and Twentieth Century Fox president Hutch Parker will oversee for theirrespective studios along with Microsoft.
"As a gaming fan, I'm excited to bring Halo's premise, action and settings to the screen with all thespecificity and reality today's technology can provide," Jackson, who iscurrently in post-production on King Kongfor Universal, said.
"Fran and I are intrigued by the unique challenges this project offers,and we're delighted to be working again with our friends at Universal, and withour new ones at Fox and Microsoft. I'm a huge fan of the game and look forwardto helping it come alive on the cinema screen."
"I couldn't be more pleased, or proud, to continue our relationship withPeter and Fran on this film," Universal chairman Stacey Snider said."There are no filmmakers who better understand the delicate balancebetween technology and drama, and how the best use of today's astonishingdigital tools is in the service of not only spectacle but also a solidstory."
"Halo,Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh, Fox, Universal and Microsoft - that is one hellof a starting five, and we can't wait to play," Fox Filmed Entertainmentco-chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos added.
"We're confident [Jackson will] create an epicthat not only thrills existing Halofans, but also introduces millions of moviegoers around the world to thisamazing saga," Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said.
Created in 2001 by Microsoft division Bungie Studios, Halo and its 2004 sequel have sold nearly 14million copiesworldwide. Players assume the role of a human warrior in a cosmic battlebetween earth and an aggressive alien alliance called the Covenant.