As a producer, J.J. Abrams is always one who has a lot of projects on his plate. Recently, Abrams made news with the reveal that his Bad Robot production company would be working on a new Superman movie, but now the producer/director has also confirmed that a long in development project, a movie based on the Portal video game series is not only still in development, but a script is currently being worked on and Abrams seems to feel that film will be moving forward sooner rather than later.
Speaking with IGN, J.J. Abrams says that script is currently being written, and that the project's current direction has him quite excited. According to Abrams...
We actually do have a script that’s being written for the Portal movie now at [Warner Bros.]. We’re really excited about the take and the pitch, so it feels like that thing’s finally on the rails.
It was back in 2013 when it was first announced that Valve, the creators of the Steam PC game platform that every once in a while still makes a game, would be collaborating with Bad Robot on projects that could potentially produce movies based on brands like Portal and Half-Life. However, little has come since then and at this point the projects were either believed to be dead or in some circle of development hell. It sounds from what Abrams says that the Half-Life project is on hold for now.
However, based on J.J. Abrams statement here that the "thing's finally on the rails," he, at least, seems to be of the opinion that the Portal movie isn't simply still ongoing, but is now in a place where things are really going to move forward. There's an idea for a movie based on Portal that Bad Robot seems to like and a script is being written as we speak based on that idea. Abrams did not reveal who is working on the script.
The Portal game franchise, which currently consists of two main games and other ancillary media, is a unique take on the first-person shooter style of game, where, instead of firing bullets, the player has a gun that can shoot two different portals. When both portals are active, the player can walk through one of them, and come out wherever the other one is. This ability is used by a woman (never named in the games, but referred to elsewhere in the franchise as Chell) being forced to undergo a series of tests at Aperture Science, run by a diabolical, insane, and hilarious, A.I. known as GLaDOS. The second Portal game also included a fantastic voice performance by J.K. Simmons as Aperture Science founder Cave Johnson
A Portal movie has some real potential. The core story is simple enough, which would give the screenwriter(s) a lot of space to play within and create new ideas. And Portal is one video game franchise where humor is core to the story, which has the ability to make a Portal movie more accessible to those that don't know the games intimately. Having said that, if a Portal movie is really going to happen somebody should get J.K. Simmons and voice of GLaDOS Ellen McLain under contract right now to reprise their roles.