How ‘Halo Infinite’ Star Jen Taylor Coordinated With the ‘Halo’ TV Series to Play Cortana in Live-Action
Halo video game fans will see one familiar face, and more importantly hear her voice, in the Paramount+ series. Jen Taylor reprised her role as Cortana from the games, fresh off Halo Infinite. Halo cast Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief, as well as Bokeem Woodbine, Natascha McElhone, and more co-stars.
Halo Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill and Schreiber were on a Television Critics Association panel for Halo on Feb. 1. They discussed bringing Cortana from the Xbox to streaming screens as played by Taylor. Halo premieres March 24 on Paramount+, and we’ll have more with the creators here on Showbiz Cheat Sheet.
Jen Taylor was almost too busy with ‘Halo Infinite’ to do the series
Halo Infinite is Taylor’s sixth appearance as Cortana, seventh if you count Halo: Reach. Production on Halo Infinite and the Paramount+ series overlapped.
“Jen Taylor is sort of a magical being, so being able to get her for the show was incredible,” Wolfkill said. “I mean, frankly, when we started the show, she was knee-deep in Halo Infinite, in the game. So even seeing if we could get her was something we weren’t sure about, without disrupting the game schedule. Then with COVID schedule slips, like everything just fell into place.”
Jen Taylor brought ‘Halo Infinite’ to the origin story
Halo is starting from the beginning of the space marine world. Taylor could be the veteran schooling all the newbies given her tenure as Cortana’s voice actor.
“Having her come on board, not just because she’s an amazing person on set and feels like a little piece of home for me out there, but bringing her voice and all of the history with that character was, I think, the most valuable part of it,” Wolfkill said.
Cortana is Master Chief’s source for mission info. Schreiber said Taylor was a valuable partner on the set of Halo.
“We got to work together to do a lot of the motion capture stuff,” Schreiber said. “It was wonderful to have her on board because of the continuity, you know, from the game to the screen. And, so, it was great to get to work on all that stuff, but really wonderful to get to work with all of the performers here.”
The newbies do Master Chief and Cortana proud
The rest of the Halo cast brings video game characters to life. McElhone plays Dr. Halsey. Woodbine plays Soren, who has appeared in Halo literature.
“Obviously, Chief and Cortana have a very special relationship, but the history between Chief and Halsey, played by the wonderful Natascha McElhone, obviously is another central core relationship,” Schreiber said. “Chief and Soren have this very tortured and long history as well, but also very close. And to get to do that with Bokeem was amazing.”
Charlie Murphy and Yerin Ha play new characters to the Halo world, Makee and Kwan Ha Boo respectively.
“To introduce a couple of new characters into the lore was also really thrilling,” Schreiber said. “We got to bring Charlie’s character, Makee, in. And I have a lot of stuff with her towards the end of the season that’s really fantastic. Charlie is amazing and this incredible new performer, Yerin Ha, who came in and is playing Kwan Ha, which is a brand new character created for our show. To get to do all of that, create the history and continuity of the franchise with the game, but also to create these new characters, all of it was such a thrill.”