This is a true story: last night while searching through JJ Abrams’ bins for some of his discarded film scripts, I came across some of JJ Abrams’ discarded film scripts. Hundreds of them in fact, all in a big bag labelled ‘My best Half-Life movie ideas‘. Of course! The esteemed director of the spangly new Star Trek film had just last week announced his intention to collaborate with Valve on a Half-Life movie, so this sack of pages was definitely a collection of pitches he’d placed in front of Gabe Newell for his approval. It’s certainly not a collection of scripts that I’ve made up this morning. Either way, I’ve thoroughly studied them all and can now present to you, in summarised form, the five JJ Abrams Half-Life movie scripts I believe are most likely to make it all the way to production.
SCRIPT IDEA #1 – A Life Half-Lived
Gordon Freeman (Jason Statham) is an undercover cop who quits the force to infiltrate a gang of illegal street racers run by the mysterious Mister Breen (Ewan McGregor). To win the trust of the gang and uncover the mystery of why aliens have started appearing everywhere he must take part in a series of increasingly dangerous and increasingly illegal street races. Assisted by his sassy TomTom (who is also the disembodied spirit of ex-partner Alyx Vance (Lisa Kudrow)), Gordon must race along rooftops, through sewers, along the wings of aeroplanes, inside the heart valves of a blue whale and up the side of a shower curtain. Can he do that trick where you make the car go on two wheels before the G-Man catches him?
Alyx: “Gordon, there’s an 83% chance you won’t be able to jump over this canyon and safely land on the other side where Mossman has been tied to a bomb.”
Gordon: “That might be the case Alyx, but there’s a 100% chance I’m gonna look rad-tacular doing it. So YOU do the math!”
SCRIPT IDEA #2 – Giraffe-Life
Stoner Gordon Freeman (Jonah Hill) is a burger-flipping no hoper. Oddball Isaac Kleiner (Danny DeVito) is a time travelling zookeeper in search of animals from our era to take back to a future in which all animals are extinct. So begins a wild adventure in which gadabout Gordon must teach clueless Kleiner all about 20th century creatures, 20th century ideals, and maybe even a little 20th century love. Their zoological traipsing is jeopardised however by the arrival of Kleiner’s time travelling nemesis from the past: the nefarious and Victorian Mister Breen (Timothy Olyphant). Can Gordon and Kleiner prevent Breen from time-napping a prize-winning giraffe the night before the big giraffe competition? Or will Breen succeed in his plan to send giraffes back in time to his evil brother, a reputable, high-class, moustache-twiddling Victorian giraffe butcher?
Kleiner (talking to a goose’s bum): “Hey there, nice to meet you — what was it again Gordon, a ‘goose’?”
Gordon (facepalming): “Wrong end, Einstein!”
*close up of the goose’s surprised face*
Goose: “Say whaaaaaat?”
SCRIPT IDEA #3 – Cookin’ Up A Storm With Gordon Freeman
Gordon Freeman (Louis C.K.) is a young rat with ambitions to become City 17’s finest cook. When he meets the Vortigaunt sous-chef on that floor of New Black Mesa that you go past in an elevator at one point in Half-Life 2, the pair work together to create incredible new dishes, much to the delight of the under-nourished science facility. But when jealous head-chef Judith Mossman (Natalie Portman) becomes suspicious of the Vortigaunt’s newfound culinary skills, she uncovers the pair’s secret partnership and captures Gordon in an effort to create the perfect beef lasagne. Can the un-Gordoned Vortigaunt dish up a meal worthy of visiting restaurant critic Mister Breen (Tommy Lee Jones)? Will Gordon escape the big jar Mossman’s trapped him in, or will he just make a nice beef lasagne for her, which now that I’ve written it down doesn’t seem like all that harsh an alternative?
Vortigaunt: “I can’t believe this! I must be going out of my mind, I’m talking to a rat!”
Vortigaunt: “Did — did you just nod? Can you understand me?!”
Gordon jumps and rotates on the spot, frantically pressing E on a pepper grinder as if trying to season some food
SCRIPT IDEA #4 – Can
This one basically follows the plot of Half-Life 2 exactly, right up until Gordon Freeman (Tom Hardy) refuses to put the can in the bin as ordered, and instead throws the can at the guard’s (Gary Oldman’s) face and runs away jumping and spinning. The film then changes perspective, instead following the story of this guard, his confidence shattered, returning to his empty home in City 17. His destitute apartment betrays a tormented soul trying and failing to make sense of the occupation, the life of a man who submitted to the Combine in order to save his wife and child. Over the course of 184 minutes we’re subjected to a gruelling and bleak tableau of one man’s suffering, of how the obliteration of what little authority he had extinguished what life was left in him. He eventually takes his own life. We hear that cool beepy alarm sound that plays when you shoot Combine guards, except this time it’s, like y’know, super poignant.
Guard, stroking polaroid of wife and child: “If only he’d picked up the can that day, my love, maybe things… could have been different somehow?”
Guard repeatedly tries to throw himself under a Strider’s leg as sad music builds. He eventually succeeds.
SCRIPT IDEA #5 – The Only Goodman Is A Freeman
Physicist Gordon Freeman (Martin Freeman) discovers a tiny door that he learns is a portal into Morgan Freeman’s (John Goodman’s) mind, allowing him to take control the honey-voiced actor for up to 15 minutes at a time. Gordon’s short vacations into Freeman’s psyche take on an addictive quality however, as Gordon’s passion for flipping switches is re-ignited by the newfound perspective offered inside the skull of the star of such films as The Shawshank Redemption and Driving Miss Daisy. The scientist’s constant interfering in Morgan Freeman’s life soon takes a dark turn as filming of Bruce Almighty is derailed by the actor’s strange and inexplicable compulsions to repeatedly press nearby light switches. In one scene, the G-Man (Helena Bonham Carter) is visible outside of a window for three seconds.
Jim Carrey: “Again with the switches, Morgan? Come on, this is the big scene where I blow a woman’s bra off using my new god powers. And you’re wrecking it!”
Morgan Freeman (crying): “Jim, sometimes I think the real switch I’m trying to flip is somewhere deep inside of me.”