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    THE VOICE OF AGENT LOCKE FROM HALO: NIGHTFALL We speak with actor Mike Colter on how he is preparing for Halo: Nightfall, Halo 5: Guardians and taking on the Master Chief on his home turf.

    “This is the guy everybody is looking at to find out whether they are making the
    right decision, to decide what the next step would be. I liked that”
     How did you get involved with Halo: Nightfall?

    It was interesting, because I was working on an indie film in San Francisco and my representation sent me this information, and it was very secretive. They didn't even say it was Halo; they gave me a fake character name, there wasn't even a full script, it was just a description of the character and basically all I could ascertain was that this guy was in the military in some way, shape or form. As an actor you grab hold of the small things and make a meal out of it when it comes to planning the background of the character.

    Is it difficult to work without a full script?

    Most of the time nowadays nobody wants to give you a full script because of social media, so you have to be really good with making choices, following through and really committing to things. There’s this certain innate quality that usually the producers are looking for that they know already and you don’t and if you have that quality then it kind of just comes together. I immediately thought the script and the material was really rich, though, and seemed like something that I haven’t really done before, and it was a character I could relate to. So when I got the script I put myself on tape in my hotel room, sent it over and they said, ‘Well listen, let’s get a meeting going with you guys when you get to LA.’

    How did you approach a character like Agent Locke?

    I've played a couple of military characters before, and every type of military character has their own way of life. With the different military branches, your rank implies a lot about who you are as a character. From the limited script, I knew this [Locke] was a leader of men and that everybody relied on him to make the right decisions.

    He’s a thinker, he’s very logical, very precise and he doesn’t do anything half-cocked. He really takes in everything, takes in the information and relies on his team to help him make the right decisions. But when he comes across something that he believes in, he makes his decision and doesn’t look back.

    He does follow protocol, there’s not a lot of give and take. Locke just makes the call and goes about it with unflinching determination. As a soldier, as a leader of men, if you don’t show that if there’s any sort of doubt in your mind then they are going to doubt you, then the ranks are going to unfold and you’ll have a mutiny on your hands, especially in war times.

    This is the guy everybody is looking at to find out whether they are making the right decision, to decide what the next step would be. I liked that, I wanted to be a lead in something like this and I feel like I fit that mould. As for preparation, the point of view of the character is the first thing you want to get How does he think? How does he process information? and that’s how I got into Locke’s head.

    How familiar were you with Halo before joining the project?

    I’m new to the Halo world. I guess the best analogy would be, it’s like, I knew of the games because of the reputation that’s preceeded them. It’s a huge franchise, and if you are a gamer or not, you’ve heard of it before, you know  Halo. You know, I don’t listen to Justin Bieber’s music, but I know who Justin Bieber is… you can’t not know who he is, and that’s kind of how it is with  Halo.

    I’d seen some of the clips on televisions from the games, and I’d also heard of some of the record breaking sales I couldn’t believe how much they would sell in the first week, or even the first day, of release. I was just mind-boggled by how successful they are. I wanted to be a part of something this huge.

    How is  Halo: Nightfall coming together?

    At the top of the film, it’s basically Locke dealing with a terrorist threat immediately.
    There’s a treaty with the Covenant and Locke goes to the planet Sedra because he suspects there’s been a breach of the treaty. There’s talk of a bomb that’s been built and that’s a direct violation. It’s like ‘Here we are in America, we're always suspecting who might have nuclear capabilities, and what we’re dealing with here is similar. We are trying to figure out who is a threat against the humans. If the treaty is broken there’s the implication of war, and we deal with that immediately.’

    It’s a manhunt of sorts. With the information Locke and his team has discovered, they are going to have to find out what’s what. This entails going to a Halo ring, it’s a segment that’s been left behind. And the time element is that the Halo ring is only something you can visit for a certain amount of time because it’s so hot, and while nobody goes there we suspect that this is where the elements to build the bomb were from and harvested and that’s the missions. If we don’t get off in time, say goodbye to ONI. It’s a very short, compressed timeline, we are talking about two or three days when all this action happens, and once we get down to the planet, we are talking about hours. If we don’t get off in time, all of us will die. That’s where the film starts, that’s where it will take us, and how it plays out will get interesting, very interesting.

    Did you find it intimidating joining the Halo universe?

    I think it was an advantage not knowing much about the Halo world. It’s almost like…
    the ignorance of the gaming world and of the Halo franchise helped me a lot going into it. If I’d have known exactly how big it was going into it, I think there would have been a lot more pressure. I think it’s nice to go into something, to really create something from an artistic aspect and working in a bubble, than to be completely exposed to the scope of what you’re doing. In doing so I think we are creating a character that they don’t know, and also they haven’t really had a lot of fleshed-out characters. The game has its characters, but this is the first time you get to see one of these guys [Spartans] sans helmet, sans armour, you’re going to see a human guy trying to get through life and trying to make some decisions like everyone else.

    That’s the part I wanted to be involved in. In finding exactly what people can relate to as a character, so that when people go off and play the game that they feel like they know this person. You can feel like you’re playing as your favourite character now, cause you  know Jameson Locke, and it’s that human connection I wanted to bring to the role.

    The videogame aspect of it, that’s another portion. They’ve got special effects guys; I’ve started doing the motion capture for it now; I’ve been doing the voiceover work for it. And that is a lot of relying on our engineers to make me a badass soldier in a sense, because it’s cool. It’s impressive, but I’m relying on a team of people to make me look really cool, I hope it’s going to work [laughs].

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