The Halo TV series has made its explosive debut and redefined how video game adaptations can be done. The Paramount Plus show is a masterful piece of storytelling with a rich universe, and one of the more enigmatic characters in that universe is Ryan McParland’s Adun. In the first two episodes viewers get little definition for him other than that he’s Dr. Catherine Halsey’s (Natascha McElhone) loyal lab assistant. But that changes with today’s Episode 3.
I spoke to Ryan about his character’s development, as well as what it means to him to be part of the Halo universe and the journey of the series itself—which infamously took years to make it to the small screen. Get to know more about Adun and the actor who wonderfully brings him to life in our interview.
Brittany Frederick: What has your personal experience been now that the series is out? Halo has such a huge following and people have waited for so long, so what’s it like being in this moment?
Ryan McParland: It’s been insane, really. To be honest, it’s been a whirlwind of emotion and feeling. And I’m still pinching myself that I’m a part of Halo. It’s such an incredible thing to be a part of such a wonderful story [with] great characters. It’s surreal.
BF: Were you familiar with the Halo franchise before being cast as Adun, or was this a whole new adventure for you?
RM: I’ve been a massive gamer all my life. I have very fond memories of getting up on Christmas morning and Mr. Santa Claus had very kindly gotten all of us a PlayStation 1. And fond memories of playing Die Hard Trilogy and Formula 1 ’97. I remember playing the video game when I was at high school at my friend’s houses, and Halo was just ahead of its time. It was not only the most popular game that people were playing, but it was also the most exciting game that people were playing. And that’s stayed with me.
When I started playing the game 20 years ago, the opportunity to be a part of something like this, it’s the stuff you dream of as a kid. I go back to saying it’s surreal. It still is very surreal for me. Even though I’ve done it, that we’ve shot the thing and it’s getting out there in the world, it’s such a surreal moment for me personally.
BF: Your character is an original character created for the series, and viewers don’t know much about him yet. Will we get a chance to learn more as Season 1 goes on?
RM: It is incredibly exciting to be playing an original character. Obviously, Adun works very closely in tandem with Dr. Catherine Halsey and together they’re trying to understand the significance of this artifact that has been unearthed. And they’re working together tirelessly to try and piece together why the Covenant has such a unique interest in the artifact. People will see what makes Adun tick and what his focus is, and what his drive is, and what his motivation is. And what I would say is that it might be sooner rather than later.
BF: How would you describe Adun’s dynamic with Halsey? Because she’s a very grey character who is not known for having meaningful relationships.
RM: Just working with Natascha McElhone is incredible. She’s so meticulous and forensic and we’re both like that. And I think that’s why the dynamic worked. We’d do a couple of takes and we would still be trying to unravel something, or figure something out, or do something differently, or try something new, take a risk with something, align with some motivation. So it was incredible. Not only have we become good friends off the set, it was just an incredible experience to be working with her.
And it goes without saying that Adun is deeply, deeply loyal to Dr. Halsey. I think it’s going to be interesting to see what fans will think and feel when they see what happens as the season goes on.
BF: There’s also Pablo Schreiber, who cuts such a larger-than-life figure as Master Chief. Especially as a fan of the Halo games, tell me what it was like when you two had your first scene together.
RM: I remember the scene very vividly. I remember it so, so vividly. When I got the part, I had months before I actually landed on that set. I prepared the same way I prepare for every role. I take my work incredibly seriously [with] the research and go about everything quite forensically. And then obviously there’s that big moment where you’ve got to put all the work into practice.
I remember seeing Pablo—who’s an incredible actor and a really wonderful person by the way. He’s really, really, really brilliant. He was behind, I think, a curtain, and he just came around this curtain and I’m 5’8″, so I was subjectively, “Whoa.” And he wasn’t in the armor the first time I met him. Then it wasn’t too long after that particular day that I did see him in the armor. And of course it’s such a surreal moment.
I still have friends that still can’t believe that the show is out finally after years of development, and they also can’t believe that one of their friends that they went to high school with is part of it and is working alongside iconic characters like Master Chief. But we got to work quite quickly and there was a wonderful dynamic between myself, Natascha and Pablo.
BF: Without giving anything away, are there any other moments or aspects of Halo that were especially worthwhile for you? Anything viewers should specifically look out for?
RM: I’m very proud of all the work that I’ve done in general and Halo is no different. It’s been such a unique and brilliant and beautiful part of my life for nearly two years. I worked as hard as I could to live up to the expectations of fans, the franchise, and everyone involved. There are moments in the third episode and there are moments in the fourth episode and for sure there are moments in the fifth episode that I’m really, really, really proud of.
And incredibly fortunate, I should add, that I’ve been allowed the opportunity to work with such incredible actors, writers, directors, crew, all across the board. A huge shout out as well to the stunt team who, without them, this show wouldn’t really be possible. The visual effects team—it’s an absolute abundance of riches in talent all across the board. So I feel incredibly proud of many, many, many moments, and I’m just really excited because I want to watch it as well.
The first three episodes of Halo are now streaming on Paramount Plus, with new episodes premiering every Thursday.
Article content is (c)2020-2023 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr and on Instagram at @BFTVGram.