You don’t have to be based in Hollywood to make powerful movies

Five years ago, while Peter Jackson was immersed in directing his large-scale remake of "King Kong" for Universal, executive Mary Parent mentioned a project the studio was developing based on the wildly popular video game "Halo."

Jackson was intrigued. He loved to play "Halo" with his two teenage children; his special effects company, New Zealand-based WETA, seemed perfect to handle the FX; and a 15% tax rebate made a Kiwi shoot ideal for Universal and co-financier Fox. So Jackson agreed to produce, alongside his lifetime partner Fran Walsh and their colleague Carolynne Cunningham.

Jackson would not direct, but he would find a promising young helmer to work under his supervision. When Parent suggested Neill Blomkamp, based on a short film of his she'd seen, the South Africa-born filmmaker left his home in Vancouver and flew to meet the Jackson team.

"All of a sudden," Blomkamp recalls, "I went from being this lowly commercials director to doing a really high-profile film." 

Then things went wrong. Five months after the producers started work on the script, doing digital previsualizations, manufacturing and designing sets, Fox and Universal pulled the plug. 

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Filmmaking, Producers


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