As early as 2008, there were rumblings of an ambitious UK-based Halo fan film. The following year, the film's director, Pete Cooper, revealed he planned to raise £30,000 (US$48,000) for the picture, dubbed Halo: Operation Chastity. That's low budget, but still five times what Robert Rodriguez needed to make El Mariachi.
It's 2011, and there still isn't a trailer for the flick. Besides the typical Twitter and Facebook pages, there are an assortment of props and behind-the-scenes photos. There was a teaser trailer shot in mid-2010, but it's apparently been in post-production since last November. The trailer, the filmmakers say, is coming this summer, but that's something they've said in the past.
"I think if I had set out to create a completely original piece in a new universe, the difficulties that I face now would have been exponentially greater," says Cooper. "The one thing that binds our cast and crew, regardless of background or experience, is our love of Halo." But is this for real?
According to Cooper, most of the project was funded by him, but the movie's official site does accept donations. The filmmakers seem to be mobilized and well organized, even sending out press releases, and the production supposedly has had over 200 people involved at one time or another. Still, a fan film over three years in the making? And still, no trailer and just pictures of Cooper directing his cast? I feel like I've seen more of Spielberg's next film.
Something seemed off, and the project set off all kinds of alarm bells. What, is this some sort of scam or a hoax, even? The faux-weapons used in Operation Chastity look top notch. Cooper even unveiled a life-sized Warthog at the 2009 London Expo. And it doesn't exactly look like something you'd find in a non-profit fan film. Then again, not all fan films are produced by folks with credits on Batman Begins and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
"I think if I had set out to create a completely original piece in a new universe, the difficulties that I face now would have been exponentially greater."
The film's producer Nicola Instone worked as the visual effects coordinator on Batman Begins, as well as an animation producer on Modern Warfare. Instone tells Kotaku that one of the reasons why it's taken so log is that Cooper has been working on the script and the Warthog was being built.
Even though not a foot of film has been shown publicly yet, the project isn't vapor, Instone contests, and is worth staking one's reputation on. "None of us are getting paid," Instone says. "We are all doing it for the fun. But because of the nature of the brand it attracts a lot of my crew I have worked with over the years."
Instone got involved after a fellow visual effects artists set up a meeting with Cooper. Instone was looking to make the leap to producing, and Operation Chastity seemed like the right project. The goal is to use the upcoming teaser trailer to find backers for the full film, which is apparently currently being re-written by a Hollywood-based British screenwriter.
Says Instone, "This will not be an ordinary fan film!"
[Pics by Nikki Bruckner and Sue Corbett]
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