HALO: Pablo Schreiber on Master Chief, "The Mandalorian" Impact & More

What a long, strange trip it's been but after first being attached to the project back in 2018, the world will finally get a chance to see Pablo Schreiber (American Gods) don Master Chief's helmet & armor when Paramount+ & 343 Industries' live-action HALO series debuts. With less than two weeks to go until the streaming series' launch on March 24, Schreiber spoke with THR to offer some thoughts on what viewers can expect- from the expectations that come with playing such a well-known character and the initial restraint he needed to play the role to if Disney+'s The Mandalorian hitting screens before HALO makes things more difficult.

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HALO: Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief in HALO set to stream on Paramount+ in 2022. Photo: Paramount+ ©2021 Paramount+. All Rights Reserved. *SCREEN GRAB*

On The Pressure of Playing Such a Widely Known & Beloved Character: "There's this expectation because a huge portion of the audience has played the game believing they are the Master Chief. And now here I am, attempting to play it." Which means that unlike roles in American Gods and Orange Is the New Black where he was able to stretch his creative wings to define such broad characters, Schreiber had a much smaller sandbox to play in as the character begins a journey of self-discovery (and fighting the good fight along the way): "This is a 180-degree turn. It's a very tight box, especially early in the series, trying to find the sweet spot of restraint and figure out this guy's inner life."

On If That Other "Hero-With-a-Helmet" Over at Disney+ Makes for a Crowded Field: "I was like, 'OK, great, there's a precedent and people are hungry for this genre and this material — because there is definitely overlap — and the success they had bodes well for us.' Also, 'The Mandalorian' is always helmeted and has to remain that way. In 'Halo,' the Spartans take their helmet off a ton — it's only Master Chief's face you haven't seen before."

On the Challenges of Master Chief's Bodysuit Armor: "It's 50 pounds of plastic and the suit is meant to make you superhuman — it enhances the Spartan's capability for his performance tenfold. In reality, it's the opposite. It's a challenge to manipulate a cumbersome costume and find ways to shoot it so it looks like you're super capable."

On the Series Moving Beyond Genre Tags Heading into Season 2: "There's so much opportunity for transcending being a sci-fi show, a superhero show, or a video game show and just be legitimately great television that happens to be exploring those genres."

Halo stars Pablo Schreiber (American Gods) as the Master Chief, Spartan-117; Natascha McElhone (Californication) as Dr. Halsey, the brilliant, conflicted & inscrutable creator of the Spartan super-soldiers; and Jen Taylor ("Halo" game series, RWBY) as Cortana, the most advanced AI in human history, and potentially the key to the survival of the human race. Additional stars include Bokeem Woodbine (Fargo), Shabana Azmi (Fire), Natasha Culzac (The Witcher), Olive Gray (Half Moon Investigations), Yerin Ha (Reef Break), Bentley Kalu (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Kate Kennedy (Catastrophe), Charlie Murphy (Peaky Blinders), and Danny Sapani (Penny Dreadful). Also joining the cast as original characters are Ryan McParland (6Degrees), Burn Gorman (The Expanse), and Fiona O'Shaughnessy (Nina Forever).

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Halo Season 1, streaming on Paramount+ 2022. Photo credit: Paramount+

Produced by Paramount+ in partnership with 343 Industries, along with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television, Halo is executive produced by Steven Kane, alongside Spielberg, Darryl Frank, and Justin Falvey for Amblin Television in partnership with 343 Industries, director Otto Bathurst and Toby Leslie for One Big Picture, and Kyle Killen and Scott Pennington for Chapter Eleven. Kiki Wolfkill, Frank O'Connor, and Bonnie Ross serve as executive producers for 343 Industries. The series is distributed internationally by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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