Shabana Azmi to Star in Steven Spielberg’s Web Series ‘Halo’
Shabana Azmi has been signed on for <i>Halo</i>, a web series produced by Steven Spielberg.
Shabana Azmi has been signed on for Halo, a web series produced by Steven Spielberg.(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Shabana Azmi to Star in Steven Spielberg’s Web Series ‘Halo’

Actor Shabana Azmi has been signed on for a role in Halo, a new web series to be produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by BAFTA award-winning director Otto Bathurst of Robin Hood fame. The series is based on Halo, one of the most popular video game franchises in the world which has sold more than 77 million copies since its initial release in 2001. The series comes from Showtime, Amblin Television and Microsoft.

“It can’t get bigger than this,” said Shabana in response to the news. “Asian actors have been fighting for colour-neutral casting for years. Finally it’s become a reality! This is completely new territory for me. I’m both excited and nervous, which is a good place to be in,” she said.

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When asked how she bagged the part she said, “It just fell into my lap. I had to give up two projects I was scheduled to do here but I figured it would be worth it.”

Halo, which Showtime has described as its “most ambitious series ever”, is set to begin production in Budapest later this year. Natascha McElhone, Bokeem Woodbine, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac and Kate Kennedy have also been cast in the drama, which will explore the conflict between humanity and an alien race known as the Covenant in the 26th century.

In the series, Azmi will play Admiral Margaret Parangosky, the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence. Pablo Schreiber will essay the role of the iconic Master Chief while McElhone (Designated Survivor, Californication) will be seen as Cortana, the most advanced AI in human history who may be the key to the survival of the human race. Emmy nominee Woodbine (Fargo, Spider-Man: Homecoming) plays Soren-066, a morally complex privateer at the fringes of civilisation.

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In the past, late actor Sridevi and one of Malayalam cinema's stalwarts Mathar Ramakrishnan Gopakumar have also been approached by Spielberg to act in his films. Sridevi reportedly developed cold feet and refused to be part of Jurassic Park in 1993 when she was told of the length of the role, which she felt didn't suit her stature as a leading lady of Bollywood at the time. Gopakumar, who was approached for The Lost World: Jurassic Park (recommended by none less than filmmaking legend Adoor Gopalakrishnan himself ) couldn't join the production as his work permit ran into bureaucratic red-tape.

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