James Cameron has been trying to get a movie made based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Battle Angel Alita for over 15 years. At first he was just waiting for live-action 3D technology to catch up; of course, Cameron himself helped get it there with Avatar, but then got swept up in making three sequels back to back to back. Finally, after years of false starts and delays, it looks like Alita will finally make it to the big screen with the help of Robert Rodriguez.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rodriguez has entered final negotiations to direct the project, entitled Alita: Battle Angel, with Cameron serving as producer alongside his Lightstorm Entertainment partner Jon Landau. Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) previously wrote a script for the project, but it’s unclear what the status of the current screenplay.
The story centers on an amnesiac female cyborg discovered in a dump by a scientist, who brings her back to life and names her Alita. Besides a gift for martial arts, Alita remembers nothing of her past life, so she becomes a bounty hunter and eventually a participant in the brutal sport Motorball. Much of the action takes place in Scrapyard, a city built on the discarded trash and scrap of the floating metropolis Tiphares.
“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,” Cameron said of the project. “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.”
Rodriguez also expressed excitement to work alongside Cameron on such a visually compelling story. “Battle Angel is an incredibly rich and vibrant epic in the tradition of Jim Cameron’s spectacular, character-driven films. Getting to work from Jim’s terrific and visionary script while learning the cutting edge techniques he’s pioneered is a master class in filmmaking.”