HOLLYWOOD – The two winningest coaches in college football history – Joe Paterno of Penn State and Florida State’s Bobby Bowden – are now set to star in what might be next year’s winningest movie: Uwe Boll’s adaptation of the best selling video game franchise Half-Life.
Boll – the director of critically acclaimed video game adaptations like Alone in the Dark and BloodRayne – has already begun filming in the Czech Republic and Tallahassee, Florida.
Half-Life (1998) and Half-Life 2 (2004) both garnered dozens of game of the year awards and are generally regarded as two of the finest PC games ever produced. The games are set in a not too distant Earth where research into teleportation causes an alien race to initiate an inter-dimensional invasion. A single scientist named Gordon Freeman is left to navigate the remains of the research facility in search of a solution to the incursion.
“I’m a big fan of the game,” Paterno said. “Let’s just say that [Half-Life offshoot] Counterstrike might’ve contributed to my [10-13 combined] record in 2000 and 2001. I had to drop out of college for a while and really collect myself. Now that I’ve had some perspective, it’s an honor to be attached to this film.”
Using technology from films like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and X-Men: The Last Stand, Paterno will be transformed into a terrifying zombie and multiplied to fill the screen with digital clones of himself. The zombies are created when vicious “headcrabs” attack human beings and turn them into mindless manifestations of violence bent on devouring and multiplying.
“I feel like I was born to do this,” said Paterno.
The amiable Bowden will take on the role of the otherworldly G-Man, a mysterious figure whose strange speech patterns, somber attire and eerily calm demeanor gave the original series some of its creeping drama. Described as “[Manhattan Project director Robert] Oppenheimer with a hiss”, the G-Man is a fan favorite and a continual focus of questions about the still developing plot.
Bowden has promised fans that he plans on bringing the character to life with a maximum amount of honesty to the original.
“Like Joe, I’m a huge fan of Half-Life. I bring a crowbar with me to every spring practice. There ain’t a spot in the game I haven’t been to, and that includes the places you could only reach by Gauss jumping. Trust me when I say I’ll do the G-Man proud,” Bowden said.
Some internet communities have expressed concern about Bowden’s inability to not be a larger than life Southern man whose colorful idioms and creative fashion sense have made him a college football icon. Several message boards have pointed towards Bowden’s promise to find “the right hat and shades and headset that’ll really bring out the character” as evidence that the 77 year old coach is not serious about the role.
Bowden shrugs this off as “blowback” from an earlier confrontation with the online world, saying he doesn’t “care one way or ‘nother. They’ll buy their tickets no matter what. That’s what happens when you ain’t got no life except the emails and eBays.”
Popular movie rumor website Ain’t It Cool News called the announcement “nerdvana”, and head film critic Harry Knowles was ecstatic about the project which will also feature Hollywood heavies like Christian Slater, Ben Affleck, Gary Busey, Orlando Jones, Tara Reid, Milla Jovovich, Bo Derek and Hillary Duff. Comedians Louie Anderson and Kathy Griffin are also set to appear.
When questioned about the abundance of actresses in an adaptation of a video game with few females, Boll was nonplussed.
“This is art. Art knows no boundaries,” the German director said.
Boll’s emphasis for the adaptation is the dark, almost claustrophobic atmosphere one would expect to encounter in a research facility crawling with hostile aliens – but don’t assume that Half-Life the movie is going to be dreary.
“I want Half-Life to be violent and sexual and zany. I want balloons. I want lasers. The game was fine and everything but there’s no oomph in the climax. We’ve got some great writers on staff and I told them to add as many speedboat chase sequences and house of mirrors confrontations as possible. But we also need levity. Think Batman & Robin, but with more ice skating. We’re going to do this the right way,” Boll said.
Knowles reported on his website that production of the film’s opening sequence was underway.
“I’m not sure why there’s a dragon involved, but it’s the biggest, coolest looking animatronic zombie dragon I’ve ever seen. It really fits in well with the set’s medieval decor, and the contrast between this huge scaly thing with wings and the serrated flying saucers was impressive. This movie is going to rock!” Knowles wrote.
The film critic also praised Bowden and Paterno, saying that the latter has already proven himself a “capable zombie” and that, judging from the few dailies Knowles had seen so far, Bowden was going to “shine” in his role.
Wrote Knowles: “[Bowden]‘s a real method actor. He’s all seriousness. He’s taken the role of the G-Man and made it his own by playing it as your favorite kooky uncle mixed up with a Scooby-Doo villain. If that doesn’t get you excited, you need to check your pulse.”