James Cameron has labored for more than 15 years to bring an adaptation of popular manga Battle Angel Alita to the big screen, but with a slew of other projects in various stages of development – most of them set in the Avatar universe - last year Cameron excused himself from the director’s chair, tapping Robert Rodriguez to take his place. The search for a star has been underway for the past few months, and after three finalists tested for the role back in April, it looks like a decision has finally been made.
Collider is reporting that Maze Runner star Rosa Salazar has landed the leading role in Battle Angel, a sci-fi adventure set in the 26th century about a scientist who discovers a damaged cyborg in a scrapyard, and after rebuilding her learns that she has no memory of her former life. But her martial arts training is still intact, and she becomes a bounty hunter tasked with hunting down and subduing vicious criminals.
Cameron may no longer be attached to direct, but he’s still onboard to produce the project – which bodes well, considering that he’s responsible for two of the best female-led action films of all time (Aliens and Terminator, for those not keeping track). And it should be interesting for Rodriguez to play in such a large sandbox, after spending most of his career working with much smaller budgets. If nothing else, this project would have my attention based solely on the collaboration, and Cameron indicates that it will very much be a partnership:
“Robert and I have been looking for a film to do together for years, so I was pumped when he said he wanted to do Battle Angel… He’s very collaborative and we’re already like two kids building a go-kart, just having fun riffing creatively and technically. This project is near and dear to me, and there’s nobody I trust more than Robert, with his technical virtuosity and rebel style, to take over the directing reins. We’re looking forward to learning a lot from each other while we make a kick-ass epic.”
As for Salazar, she’s been turning heads recently with appearances in the Maze Runner franchise, as well as a recurring role on the FX comedy series Man Seeking Woman. Her star certainly seems to be on the rise, and this could be the next major step for her career – as well as a big leap forward in the production process. We still don’t know when Battle Angel will roll camera, or what kind of release timeline is being eyed, but we’re a lot further along than we were at the beginning of the year. That’s gotta count for something, right?
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