Worlds Collide: Valve And JJ Abrams Working On Movie

By Nathan Grayson on February 6th, 2013 at 6:04 pm.

I’m off in the strange, far-away land of Las Vegas right now, and I just got done watching Gabe Newell and JJ “Warring Trek of the Stars” Abrams chat each other up on stage. I’ll have more from the talk for you soon, but here’s the big take-away: Valve and Abrams are officially collaborating. “What we’re actually doing here,” Newell said at the talk’s conclusion, “is recapitulating a series of conversations that have been going on [between Abrams and I]. This is what happens when game and movie people get together. And we sort of reached the point where we decided that we needed to do more than talk. So we’re gonna try and figure out if we can make a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie together.” Meanwhile, Abrams added: “And we have a game idea we’d like to work with Valve on.” Finally, Gabe wrapped it up: “It’s time for our industries to stop talking about potential and really execute on it.”

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105 Comments »

  1. db1331 says:

    Portal with a lens flare gun.

    • Brun says:

      Lens Flare is to JJ Abrams as Explosions are to Michael Bay.

      • Ratchet says:

        The lens flare thing is unfairly applied to Abrams, even he said it was ridiculous in Star Trek. In fact I’m not aware of any JJ Abrams movie or tv show that has lens flare in it other than the Star Trek..

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          Yes. But wasn’t he, hmm… you know, the *Director*?

          Sure he can say anything after the fact — after people complained about that hyperbole — but what value do you want to attribute to those words?

          • Ratchet says:

            Sure thing, but in Star Trek all that ridiculous lens flare wasn’t really that out of place. Star Trek (or Starfleet I suppse) has always had this shiny, sparkling clean aura about it. Even when they were trying to be dark and gritty, you could still see the bright and bubbly hiding just beneath the surface right? The more I think about it, lens flare fits right in to the whole Star Trek atmosphere.

        • Kadayi says:

          If it was ridiculous then why do it? I mean surely someone during the editing must of had the balls to say…’you know I think we may have overdone it a bit here…’

        • Taidan says:

          Super 8 springs to mind immediately. I’m sure you’d find more examples if you looked.

          • Lyndon says:

            As did MI:3

            He’s only directed three damn films.

            3 out of 3 have lens flares. Case fucking closed.

          • Caiman says:

            So do about several thousand other films that weren’t directed by Abrams. Case closed, indeed.

          • Lyndon says:

            If the question is “does J.J Abrams use lens flares too much?” the answer is yes, yes he does.

            What other people do is kinda irrelevant, bro.

            So yeah case fucking closed. Glad we could get to the bottom of it.

        • Noise says:

          It’s so dense

    • Shooop says:

      Goddammit. You beat me.

    • Alien426 says:

      Guys, lens flare is the least of JJ Abrams’ problems. He is a director without a voice. And with nothing to say.

      http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/6763-A-Disturbance-In-The-Force

      Also, he doesn’t know or care about the difference between sci-fi and action (Star Trek).

      • kalirion says:

        There’s nothing wrong with a sci-fi action blockbuster.

        • Alien426 says:

          You must be confusing that with a futuristic action blockbuster.

          Science fiction is not the same as spaceships and lasers. Star Wars is not science fiction but fantasy.
          Fantasy is not dragons and swords, incidentally.

          • jroger says:

            Science fiction means “future tales” and fantasy means “fairy tales” for most people. You might not like it, but that is *your* problem.

          • Alien426 says:

            Ultimately that’s just words. BUT, JJ Abrams took a science fiction series and rebootet it (which in itself is weak and wrong to me) into an action movie. I fear that he (and I hope I overestimate the role of the director) does something similar with Star Wars or other existing franchises he touches.

            There are many highly forgettable movies lately. The previous Star Trek movies might have been hit and miss, but at least I know what most were about. With Star Trek (2009), I only really remember some action scenes in a desert and on some structure above a planet…

      • Johnny Lizard says:

        Yeah, but that bloke said Watchmen was a “masterpiece”.

      • DK says:

        Apart from utterly moronic slapstick scenes, Star Trek actually capture the old school Trek feel perfectly. Especially the fact that everyone at Starfleet is incredibly competent. It’s not just Kirk being awesome and every other Captain is either a Villain or a drooling idiot. All the other Captains are heroic well-educated Specialists, as they should be considering the Academy is supposed be hard as hell to get through – and becoming a Captain is the even harder version of that.

    • Torn says:

      Great first comment *doffs cap*

    • luukdeman111 says:

      well, luckily lens flare can be avoided….. *takes of sunglasses*… by an Aperture…

  2. puppybeard says:

    Games and cinema are a horrible combination, like those incompatible friends of yours who always get drunk and get off with each other and make everybody feel really uncomfortable, and nobody mentions it afterwards. I’d enjoy an exception to this rule.

    Except for the House of the Dead film of course, which I still maintain is a masterpiece of satire.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I do not mind them keep trying though. One day someone will get it right.

    • Sidewinder says:

      If that were true, we’d all be using monitors with a 6:5 aspect ratio, like our eyes are actually designed for.

    • Ratchet says:

      Have you seen the Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn mini web series? It is quite good and could easily be made into a top notch TV series or even AAA movie franchise. Check it out if you haven’t seen it, it’s on Youtube.

    • Big Murray says:

      When the friends are as hot as Valve and J.J. Abrams, it’s not uncomfortable. Just strangely erotic.

    • Rollin says:

      All the star wars games were great.

    • Acorino says:

      I rather like Nuka Break. And the Silent Hill movie. There, I said it!

  3. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Are there no other directors left? I mean, i love a lot of what has come of the Abrams entourage (Alias, Lost, Fringe, Trek), but he can’t be the only director/producer/with a writing sweat shop out there with a little nerd cred.

    • D3xter says:

      I think he ruined Trek and most of what else he does shows promise but seems to fail horribly in execution…

      I certainly don’t want him anywhere close to anything I might like.

      • LintMan says:

        Yeah, I’m in the “JJ Abrams ruined Trek” camp, myself.

        • Caiman says:

          Star Trek was ruined long before Abrams came along. Voyager and Enterprise were embarrassingly bad C-grade TV. Some have said that Abrams made the best Star Wars film since Empire when he made Star Trek, and frankly that’s far preferable to the bilge that Braga and co gave us that killed off Star Trek as we knew it.

          • LintMan says:

            I agree about Enterprise and Voyager. Berman and Braga ran Star Trek into the ground years earlier.

            My problem with Abrams is that he took the one chance to restore it to something worthwhile and twisted it into a simple minded action movie while at the same time taking a big fat dump all over 30+ years of built-up continuity.

      • skinlo says:

        I’m not, I think he made it pretty entertaining. I’m looking forward to the new movie coming out!

    • CrowbarSka says:

      There is a little over-Jaybramification going on in movies at the moment, but there have been connections between him and Valve for some time. HL2 Episode Two had little Easter Egg nods to Lost hidden in it, and vice versa, and Portal 2 had the Super-8 ‘interactive trailer’.

      I think this collaboration is the result of years of mutual respect of one another’s work, rather than Valve jumping on the ‘nerdy director who’s big at the moment’.

    • Clean3d says:

      It’s Abrams and Whedon, yes.

      • Brun says:

        Except Whedon typically executes better than Abrams (see: The Avengers).

        • InternetBatman says:

          So we’re forgetting about Dollhouse? Or the middle years of Angel?

          • TheTuninator says:

            Dollhouse is fantastic from the sixth episode onward. The back half of Angel S4 was regrettable, but the rest of the show is fantastic. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            “typically”.

        • jon_hill987 says:

          What about Alien Resurrection? Granted he wrote rather than directed (and it did pave the way for Firefly down the line) but still…

        • gusdoom says:

          And Firefly.

  4. Mario Figueiredo says:

    And we sort of reached the point where we decided that we needed to do more than talk.

    Talking about Half-Life 3 is all we have been doing and you did nothing.

    • Shivoa says:

      Surely that Super8 interactive thingy in Portal 2 was more than talking. I assume when the full report comes out about this talk then it’ll mention their collaborations have been triggered by something in 2010/2011 and they are now going public with what they’ve decided to do about it.

  5. Kollega says:

    So… who’s going to interpret this as Valve having completely abandoned the idea of making Half-Life 3 (which wouldn’t suck if the last part wasn’t such a goddamn cliffhanger)?

    Although on reflection, maybe this movie will BE Half-Life 3.

    • Tuor says:

      If the movie “is” Half-life 3, then…. well, let’s just say that Valve is located less than two miles away from my apartment…

      • Cam says:

        When the time comes, we gather at your apartment at dawn… With crowbars…

  6. caustic says:

    can *someone* please keep JJ abrams away from any other franchises I care about. First Star Trek, then Star Wars, now Half Life. His movies are cheap thrills, filled with lots of blitz but no substance.

    • Clean3d says:

      Something should be Dunham ’bout this.

    • ulix says:

      Like the old Star Wars movies then?

      Seriously: Star Wars can only get better, now that Lucas isn’t attached anymore. And as a fan of the original Star Trek series I actually liked the Abrams version a lot.

      Sure it was an escapist action flick, just like many (or all?`) of the older Star Trek films.

      • norfolk says:

        Yeah, I liked his take on Trek. I thought he married old themes with his own style quite nicely. And, if we’re honest, Trek films have never really been great, so it’s not like the bar was particularly high…

        Also, if the video game/movie thing is ever going to work (and I’m cynical about it…), why not give Abrams a chance? His aesthetic might just work.

    • skinlo says:

      The new Star Trek film was pretty good, and its not as though he could make a worse Star Wars is it?

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      Agreed. Anyone but bloody Abrams.

    • Skabooga says:

      Yeah, at this point, all Abrams needs to do is kick my dog, and then he will have messed with everything I love.

    • Poliphilo says:

      Yes, this is the last person who should get involved with either a HL and/or Portal film and worse yet, a game project published by Valve. What on earth are they thinking? I’m pretty sure people at Valve are equipped with eyes and brains, so what’s going on here?

      Unfortunately we’re probably looking at a Hollywood dominated by the likes of Abrams and Nolan for the coming decade, and worse yet loads of people actually seem to like the idea of that. Just *sigh*. Abrams is incapable of making interesting or even entertaining stuff so I’m not expecting I’ll be seeing this movie.

      To think I was naive enough to think a possible HL or Portal film would maybe entail Darren Aronofsky or David Twohy, possibly Ridley Scott or others. Anyone but Abrams, please. I wouldn’t even recommend someone to see an Abrams film even if it was just to see how shit it is (much less to see one of his series) they’re that bad, honestly.

  7. MuscleHorse says:

    This has the potential to not be shite.

  8. vandinz says:

    FINISH THE HALFLIFE STORY FIRST FFS!

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      I’m pretty sure they can work on both

      • CobraLad says:

        Sad thought got into my head:
        no matter how touching and dramatic ending may be, how shocking and unexpected Gman true identity may turn out, its going to be the most horrible thing in videogame history according to internets.
        HL3 problem is that its going to born ruined forever no matter what.

        • mseifullah says:

          We know it, and I believe that Valve knows it as well. That’s why they’re being completely silent about it (for now). The game is already doomed to (review) failure based on fan-made hype and expectations alone. Talking about the game will only make the matter worse.

          When the next playable component of the Half-Life narrative is finally ready for the public, I wouldn’t be surprised if an official announcement is made only about a month before the actual release.

  9. Inglourious Badger says:

    Hmm. I have vague memories of a Gabe interview where he said Valve would never let someone else make their movies, they would do them themselves. Not sure if this is them going against that or just hiring JJ Abrams in as a director. Pretty disappointed either way, they do a good enough job on Team Fortress vids

  10. Stijn says:

    Hmm, I can’t shake the feeling that what makes Portal and Half-Life so excellent is that they are good games, and trying to turn them in a film will therefore do away with what is pretty much essential to their quality. On the other hand, it’s Valve. We’ll see.

  11. dangermouse76 says:

    So Half life 3 is a film instead of a game ………?

    Hoping not.

    Hugh Laurie for Gordon !

    • Brun says:

      Hugh Laurie for Gordon

      I think much of Laurie’s charm would be lost were he cast in a non-speaking role.

      • dangermouse76 says:

        I think in a film he will probably have to speak or people are gonna think he’s being a snarky twat.

        ” So Gordon what do you recommend we do ? ”

        “……………..”

        ” Excuse me Gordon could you please look at me and answer the question, and stop jumping up and down on things ”

        “……………………….”

        ” Oh fuck you Gordon. “

    • Chris D says:

      Excellent choice! Hugh has previous experience playing a military role after all.

    • Syros says:

      Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Hugh Freeman!
      http://jond7.deviantart.com/art/Half-Life-Gordon-Freeman-291924768

  12. thecat17 says:

    They should get Terry Gilliam for the Half-Life movie.

    It’d be like an alternate universe Brazil.
    But… what we all really want is Half-Life 3, right?

  13. misterT0AST says:

    My impression is that Gabe doesn’t really know what to do with all his Steam cash.

    • Kadayi says:

      Seems to be the case unfortunately. Personally I’d rather they just stick to a couple of arenas (Steam and games) and concentrate on those and quit spreading themselves so thin through further and further diversification (forget the steambox, forget films, forget wearable computing) . It’s not so much a case of man/woman power it’s a case of being mentally focused on delivering the best product, and that’s simply not going to happen if you’re flitting between projects to that degree.

      As regards movies…given Valves lead franchises are pretty much silent protagonist with backpack full of guns/Portal gun you have to wonder what’s the starting point? Mass Effect…that I can understand as either a movie or a TV series (more TV tbh) because it has lots of characters and locations of lots of stuff going in. There’s a rich amount of world building there (albeit cheesy Bioware world building)…Half- life 1 & 2…much less so.

      • Acorino says:

        you’re just bitter that they don’t do more of the stuff that you want from them. :P

        • Kadayi says:

          More of the stuff I want? Like games? Yeah I guess it is a bit presumptuous to expect EDGE magazines No 1 game developer to actually deign to deliver games…..

          • HothMonster says:

            A game a year, and tons of free updates for all, of them is not enough if it’s not the sequel you want I guess.

          • Kadayi says:

            @HothMonster

            Most of which are MP or sequels to MP games.

            Also when you categorically state ‘this series will be concluded by X date’ and you blow your delivery time it’s generally the case (as in any other business) that you do your customer base (the people most likely to buy your game) the courtesy of informing them of the delay and proffer a new ETA. Did you see Rockstar hiding behind radio silence and cryptic messages over GTA V? No, they straight up said there’s a delay and offered up a revised date.

  14. Mario Figueiredo says:

    I wouldn’t mind a Portal 2 cartoon. Pixar, DreamWorks, Flow (Valve’s own animation division). But I’m pretty, pretty, pretty sure I don’t want to see a Portal 2 motion picture with real actors.

  15. LionsPhil says:

    JJ Abrams

    Oh jesus. So Valve are wasting time on something awful, then.

  16. Ernesto says:

    Given that the heroes of both games are silent till the bitter end, I don’t see this happening. On the other hand… The Artist was an excellent movie….hmm

    Maybe they think about a story parallel to the games. But additionally to all the fanmade stuff? Just please don’t unmute Mr Freeman or Chell.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Holy flipping shit. You realise you just suggested they should make a silent comedy starring Gordon Freeman? You’re amazing, I love you.

      Just imagine jerky black and white gravity gun gags, with a jaunty backing piano….

      • Ernesto says:

        No, I didn’t realize. But if you put it that way… I guess I’d pay for that movie :D

  17. Radiant says:

    Abrams did fantastic tv.

    Go watch Alias season one and two.

    DO NOT WATCH ALIAS SEASON THREE NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE END OF SEASON TWO MAKES YOU WANT TO.

  18. MacTheGeek says:

    A director with lots of ideas, who doesn’t know how to provide satisfactory resolution of story arcs?

    Teaming up with a game company that made two brilliant Half-Life games, but doesn’t know how to continue the series?

    Ooooooohhhh, sign me up for that!

  19. LennyLeonardo says:

    Hey! I just remembered that Ellen McLain is basically playing GLaDOS in the new Guillermo Del Toro movie, Pacific Rim. Or at least she sounds like GLaDOS. This has literally nothing to do with anything.

  20. ShadowNate says:

    Well, it could be a good movie. If anything, it could be a good movie, if seen totally independent from the Half Life canon universe or Portal’s. (Or it could end up horrible, whatever). I like a lot of JJ Abraham’s ideas, but the execution is lacking, and a few of them have been overlapping or have started to repeat. Anyway, just make sure to keep Lindeloff out of the script, so as to at least have some hope of script coherency.

    And also, so much always also, what happened to Half Life 3 or episode 3 news?

  21. mseifullah says:

    Here’s the catch: The film will be made entirely in Source Film Maker.

  22. TheTuninator says:

    Honestly, I think that L4D is a much better candidate for a film than HL2 or Portal. HL2 or Portal would necessitate spinning off side stories or adding more characters because you can’t make Gordon or Chell talk, but L4D already comes complete with a chatty and funny band of characters.

    I can’t be the only one picturing a L4D film with a Shaun of the Dead-style blend of action, comedy and horror.

    • Syphus says:

      The world does not need another generic zombie movie. It works fine as a game but that’s it.

      • TheTuninator says:

        I should certainly hope that with this amount of talent behind it a L4D movie would not be a “generic zombie movie”. Not much “generic” about Shaun of the Dead, is there?

        The fact remains that it will be almost impossible to do a Half-Life movie about Gordon for obvious reasons, and even harder to do a Portal one due to a dearth of supporting characters. Both these games will require either spinoffs or significant adaptations of their plot, while L4D can be ported much more easily and will still make for a fantastic movie.

        • Syphus says:

          The plot of Shaun of the Dead is the same shit. The only thing that makes it different is that it is a comedy / satire, and very aware of what it is doing….not that it is some unique take on the Zombie genre.

    • Kadayi says:

      I could see L4D being a better vehicle, but at the same time with TWD TV series and the general prevalence of zombie stuff across the board I’d say the subjects pretty tapped out at this stage.

  23. Syphus says:

    Since I just copy / paste things I say.

    On one hand, I’m really interested in a movie such as Portal with only two(three) characters in the entire movie, and one being a homicidal robot who is really just a voice 99% of the time. On the other hand, I think I might have a psychotic break if I heard Gordon or Chell talk.

    So my hope is to tell a different story in those universes, such as the beginning of GladOS or the invasion of the Combine and beginnings of the resistance.

  24. Ernesto25 says:

    I hope its not a half life movie, i kind of begrudgingly like JJ Abrams after the overrated LOST. The star Trek movies felt like star wars to me anyway so i may even see another star wars film. I wouldn’t want him anywhere near half life rather just have 1 more HL game then done.

    Edit: Or do one about adrian shepard and the portal storms before the events of half life 2 i’d like that.

  25. CutieKnucklePie says:

    Seems like Gabe is more into hardware and movies lately than games.

  26. C0llic says:

    Gary Oldman as Gordan Freeman. This needs to happen.

  27. Michael Fogg says:

    They will make a ‘choose your own adventure’ movie where the viewers are given remotes and use them to vote what the movie people do in set moments in the plot.

  28. sdancer says:

    That hack is really trying to become the next Boll, isn’t he.

    Bad directors, ruining our childhood memories since the dawn of the genre.