Mere weeks after it was confirmed that he’d signed on for the highly coveted job of directing the first new Disney-owned Star Wars movie, JJ Abrams is already talking about his post-Star Wars plans. At a gaming conference in Las Vegas, Abrams gave a talk about storytelling through film and video games, and informed his audience that he means to develop films based on two popular games: Half-Life and Portal.
Abrams announced that his production company, Bad Robot, would be working with game development and distribution company Valve in an effort to bring both games to the big screen. Half-Life and Portal will join an already long-ish list of video games undergoing the process of game-to-film conversion. Late last week, news of a World of Warcraft film (helmed by
Zowie Bowie Duncan Jones) surfaced. And studios have also set to work on adaptations for Need for Speed (Michael Keaton has just signed on to play a “reclusive and eccentric host of an underground supercar race where he invites the best drivers from around the world.” Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul is also confirmed to the project). Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, and Asteroids are on the list, too.
Abrams explained the trend towards developing game-based films by saying that “in many cases, games are better at telling stories than movies.” In Portal, he likes how the game builds suspense by revealing the plot and the characters slowly: “The whole game is about figuring out the mystery and what’s going on. The more you play, the more you learn, the more you felt.” He adds that in the film world, “we often ask what things can we hide that people will find over time.” Like a discarded R2-D2 floating among a mass of space debris in 2009?s Star Trek, perhaps? Yes, says Abrams, like that.