'District' Draws 'Halo' Team

Peter Jackson and director Neill Blomkamp were unable to get "Halo" to the big screen, so they're trying something new.

According to Variety, Jackson's Wing Nut Films shingle will produce "District 9," a sci-fi thriller that will mark the feature directing debut for commercial veteran Blomkamp.

The trade paper offers no details on the script, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, except to say that it will shoot in South Africa. Jackson's WETA Workshop will do the effects and the "Lord of the Rings" director will be as hands-on as any producer shooting an ambitious movie of his own (the recently started "The Lovely Bones") can possibly be.

Jackson tapped Blomkamp last August to direct a big screen version of the insanely popular Microsoft "Halo" franchise. Universal and 20th Century Fox had planned to co-produce the film, but ultimately balked at both the price and potential profit participation for Microsoft.

Microsoft eventually hired to Blomkamp to direct a series of commercials for the video game launch of "Halo 3." On the ad side, Blomkamp may be best known for the "Alive With Technology" Citroen commercial featuring a stretching and dancing car. He also has done effects on a number of TV shows, including "Smallville" and "Dark Angel."