Rumors and discussions about a live-action Halo film have been popping up for so long that sometimes it feels like it's never really going to happen. Thankfully, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn has made the idea of a Halo film largely irrelevant. The live-action Halo web series stars the Master Chief and a handful of UNSC recruits, including one Daniel Lasky, who pops up again in Halo 4's campaign and multiplayer.
And it's fantastic.
We already spoke with the producers of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, and this week we chatted with Daniel Cudmore, the man behind the Master Chief in Forward Unto Dawn (and Felix in Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2), about what he'd want out of a full-length Halo film, among other things. We even got him to drop a hint about the finale of Forward Unto Dawn, which airs this Friday.
Complex: What's it like being the Master Chief?
Cudmore: It's pretty cool! You know, at the end of the day you're filling this pretty iconic, badass character, but at the same time, you know, you've got to—you've got to feel like you've got—no pun intended—massive shoes to fill. And to make sure that you get it right. Because the last thing you want to do is—being the first guy to really play the character, you don't want to go—just these horribly wrong decisions go awry and everyone who absolutely loves the character is like, "What the hell did that guy do?"
What's your favorite part about being that character?
I think, like, in all honesty, it's just that suit. The suit that Legacy Effects in LA built was just so cool, and I had a full, 3D body scan, so it's just like completely built for me, right down to the millimeter.
So you really got to wear the armor?
Yeah, that's all, it's 100 percent practical. It's got, like, a—I've got sort of a rubber suit underneath that goes just sort of down to my elbows, and then just under my knees. And then all the pieces just sort of build on top of it. And yeah, it's 100 percent practical. There's nothing on there that has been added after the fact.
Yeah, it's cool, man.
Was it as heavy as it looks?
For one of the stunts I had to do I wanted to really find out what the weight was, just so we didn't get me flying way over the mark by accident. But it weighed in at about 63 pounds. Yeah, but I mean, it seems like a lot, but then if you think about it, it's spread across your whole body. So it kind of—I mean, the best description for me would be, you know, swimming with clothes on. Where everything kind of feels a bit muted, you know what I mean?
It definitely looks nice and heavy in the episodes. Is that your voice as well coming out of the helmet?
No, they got a voice actor on that. It's funny because I actually did all the dialogue and full acting in the suit with the other actors, and then they put a voice over top. Which, I mean, that's their choice. I don't know how clear my voice would have been with all the commands going in the helmet and mumbling through the helmet and everything like that.
Are you a Halo fan?
Actually, I played—funnily enough—I got the video game Halo back in the day. My girlfriend—who's now my wife—she bought it for me to kind of impress me, and then it's like the one video game that I actually played front to back. And I just thought it was a really cool game. And then, you know, six years later I'm jumping in this suit and running around killing all the aliens. So it's kind of surreal.
So if that was six years ago that was probably Halo 2.
Yeah, it was Halo 2.
Have you got to play Halo 4 yet?
Yeah, I got to—well the problem is that I got to go with them to Comic-Con. I got to play just like one of the little quick levels. And they put me against the game testers. And I—I'm horrible at video games. I'm trying to get better, but I go against those guys and I literally wasn't walking two feet before I was getting killed. And I don't even know—I was watching the way those guys were, their characters were running around, and I'm—I didn't even know you could move that way. And then I played again in Toronto this week, and I suck. I'm trying! But like, I'm so much better at the practical thing, and then all of a sudden I'm like, a controller in my hand, and the sync between my brain is not going fast enough. And these guys are taking me out so quickly.
And those guys aren't going to go easy on you. There's always something to prove.
Absolutely. Yeah, and I would totally do the same thing.
What do you think makes the Chief such an iconic character?
Well, I mean, a lot has to do with the fact that everyone who plays the game is him. So I think that everyone kind of creates their own idea and interpretation of who he is to them, and then somehow sort of gets attached to the character who—you're constantly playing him. It's just, he's just a very—it's funny because he's a very simple character, but he's very direct in what he does, and he's so brought up throughout his whole life on the military motto of "Just get this job done as fast as possible and don't do anything extra that oyu don't need to do." I mean, it comes across in the game as just badass. I mean, like everything's just quick. He doesn't say much. He doesn't need to. And so there's that aspect also.
How have you injected yourself into that character?
It's tough, right? Because you don't want to stray too far from it. I just started to really kind of—I wanted to see who he was and where he came from, so I read some of the fiction to really get an idea, and it's funny because, you know, a lot of it is athleticism to bring your own kind of movement, so I did a lot of, like, rifle training to get a real feel for what it's actually like to shoot a gun and shoot it properly. So I did a lot of that, and then just also getting into his head and like who he is and how—like, I talked about how simple and how direct everything is, because of the military training, he's got to be very precise. So everything, every movement has a direct choice and there's no really kind of wasting time or wasting energy. So I tried to get that across as much as I could while wearing the giant suit. So I kind of tried to bring a little bit more of that. And then it's—I mean, it's hard. You really don't want to stray too far from him. So I didn't do anything too crazy. I wasn't going off on a limb on it.
So you even did rifle training—what were the prop guns like? They look so similar to the in-game guns.
Well, it's funny because it's like, you got right back to the days when you were a kid, and you're running around. You're running around playing Army and stuff like that with a fake gun you're holding, like, a piece of plywood and pretending to shoot it. This was the same sort of thing, but way cooler. But none of the guns actually fired, so it was all after the fact. You had to run around and, like, do all the motions like you were firing and everything.
Was that difficult? Did they feel realistic?
They had some good weight to them. They weren't incredibly heavy. But at the same time, the suit, because it's so tight, to actually hold the gun up, you feel like you're holding like a 30-pound weight. Like all of that, and you're firing and it's like, the size and the bulk of the suit, it's hard to get the butt of the gun into the cradle of your shoulder. So you've kind of got to have this weird kind of—it doesn't feel right at all, but it comes across good during filming. And it just, your arm after a certain amount of time will just like give out and you've got to drop the gun right now.
After experiencing this and seeing the whole thing and how it works, what do you think of the possibility of a full-length Halo film?
I think definitely that this show is testing the waters for them, and it looks amazing. I mean, like, if I was the person who was pulling the trigger, I'd be like, "Let's do it." But, you know, you never know what they have in plans and what Microsoft or 343 wants to do, and whether or not they want to team up with a studio, and which avenue they want to go down. But from what I've seen and the job that Stewart Hendler [the director of Forward Unto Dawn] did, and all the other actors, it's awesome. So I'm—the universe of Halo is so massive. From, I mean, just for me, just getting a taste of a couple of those fictional novels, you can just see where it could go. And you could really have—you could have the movie go in any sort of direction. You could follow, like, ODSTs and kind of have this band of brothers feel to it, or you could do the sort of beginning of Master Chief and where he came from, with also other characters that are kind of part of his life at the beginning. Or, you know—or the way that they did it with the military academy and these young cadets [in Forward Unto Dawn]. So it's one of those thing, you know, the possibilities are endless, it's just getting the right team together, and pulling the trigger, and figuring out how much they want to spend kind of thing. So I'm all for it and I think it would be an amazing movie, if not a couple. You know, again, I can't pull that trigger.
So the other big thing you've got coming up is Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2. What's going to be more epic: the final showdown in that, or the final climax of Breaking Dawn?
[Laughing] Well played. It's hard to say, I mean, the battle is so epic in Breaking Dawn. It's just such a massive—so many characters and so many things going on. Whereas Forward Unto Dawn's sort of battle scene is very—in a weird way intimate, with just a small amount of characters. But both very cool, both very different. I mean, you know, Breaking Dawn is hand-to-hand, and then you've got—you've got Forward Unto Dawn, where you've got giant aliens and a whole bunch of fun rifles and toys. So, I mean, not to alienate myself from either sort of fandom, I'm just going to have to say that both are going to be kick-ass.
What else do you have coming up that you want to talk about?
I've got a movie called Baytown Outlaws with Eva Longoria and Billy Bob Thornton, and I play one of these brothers, these three redneck brothers from Alabama, who kind of just live their lives doing—working on the wrong side of the tracks. And they get a chance to do something right in their lives by kidnapping back Eva Longoria's character's godson from her ex-boyfriend. So they totally think it's this easy smash-and-grab, get the kid, get some cash, and little do we know Billy Bob Thornton's character's this badass drug dealer, and it's anything but.
When's that coming out?
It's going to be early 2013. They haven't put a release date on it yet, but I'm thinking like February/March.
Thanks Daniel! Appreciate it.