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Halo's Natascha McElhone And Olive Gray Discuss How Their Characters Differ From Those In The Games - Exclusive

The TV adaptation of the beloved X-Box video game franchise "Halo" has finally arrived on Paramount+, and with it, has come new versions of familiar characters. The show is set prior to the events of the games, providing opportunities to fill in the backstory of some of the characters. Meanwhile, others have been reimagined entirely. Two examples are Catherine Halsey, who falls in the former category, and Miranda Keyes, who falls in the latter.

Just like in the games, Halsey is the driven inventor of the super soldiers called Spartans that may be humanity's last hope for survival against a mysterious alien threat, and actor Natascha McElhone plays her as a dedicated scientist who's willing to break the rules if it means further breakthroughs that enhance her inventions. Meanwhile, unlike in the games where she was a soldier, Miranda is a dedicated scientist in the show, one who is led by deep feelings for others and a strong understanding of right and wrong. And in the hands of actor Olive Gray, she becomes a figure of empathy and warmth that stands in stark contrast to Halsey and many of the other people in her orbit. 

In an exclusive interview with Looper, McElhone and Gray break down the nuances of their characters in "Halo."

Finding new elements of familiar characters

Olive Gray noted that, while Miranda and Halsey are operating in the same environment in the show and neither really fits in with the military environment, their character portrayal of Miranda is led by a sense of empathy that's unique to her. "[Miranda] is a scientist. She is compassionate and ridiculously hardworking and ambitious," Gray observed. "She has a really strong moral compass and a strong sense of justice. She really wears her heart on her sleeve, which I think is probably the thing that makes her so different, maybe, to the world that she's in and this very often cold and logically-facing environment. She is incredibly compassionate and led by her compassion."

Meanwhile, Natascha McElhone revealed that, because her character is based on the Catherine Halsey in the games, she used that as the basis but still added something extra, which viewers will notice as more episodes of the show are released. "I think the [Halsey] in the games was definitely the platform off which to build a more 3D version of her for TV," McElhone shared. "Maybe, eventually, there's another dimension to her as [might] be discovered through the season, that there's a quantum element to her thinking. She's a scientist first and foremost, she is an inventor, and that's what she cares most about, much more than human interaction or relationships. She feels that they get in the way of progress, and fighting is entirely pointless. She wants to end war and get to the next level of existence."

"Halo" is now streaming on Paramount+, with new episodes released on Thursdays.