The actor explains to EW how the Paramount+ drama will "crack the veneer" of the popular video game character.

No man left behind? Well, technically no man was left behind when the pandemic shut down production on the Budapest set of Halo. A dog on the other hand…

Pablo Schreiber — who stars as the Master Chief on the live-action adaptation of the popular video games — was forced to leave his pup in Hungary in March 2020. "We were just gonna stop for two weeks and come back immediately," the actor tells EW of those early days dealing with COVID-19. "Luckily she had an amazing dog-sitter, but she was there for seven months. She [got] about 10 pounds heavier."

Schreiber, meanwhile, had no choice but to maintain his physique during quarantine. EW has an exclusive new look at Halo, which marks the first leading role for the Canadian-born star of American Gods and Orange Is the New Black — and it's one that required some muscle, if only to carry the hefty mech armor adorning the Chief, Earth's most advanced soldier in a 26th-century war against aliens known as the Covenant.

Credit: Paramount +

Schreiber calls it "a herculean task," and not just because of bulking up. "It's a huge job, from setting the tone on set down to the grueling task of waking up at the crack of dawn to work out, then go to shoot, and go home to work out some more. Nothing about it is easy, and I wouldn't want it to be."

The Paramount+ drama (premiering in 2022) is a "classic hero's journey" — one that promises to "crack the veneer" of this popular game character, says Schreiber. "It takes place very much in the universe that the video games created, but it's a TV show. We get to expand that universe and create stories in it. There's going to be some new characters that are introduced, there's going to be a lot of familiar characters that everyone will know from the game."

Hopefully, fans will be as excited to see Halo as the actor's dog was to see her owner.

For more from our 2022 preview, order the January issue of Entertainment Weekly or find it on newsstands beginning Dec. 17. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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