Robert Rodriguez to direct BATTLE ANGEL: ALITA for James Cameron

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Sometimes dream projects remain just that: dreams. Such has been the case for mega-director James Cameron when it comes to making a live-action feature film adaption of Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Battle Angel: Alita. Cameron acquired the film rights to the years ago, and originally decided to wait until visual effects reached a high enough level for him to do the post-apocalyptic tale justice. And when it finally did, he made Avatar instead.

Okay, so maybe that was a good call in the long run, but since Cameron has been stuck in developing all the Avatar sequels ever since, the Battle Angel: Alita movie has just been stagnating. I guess it’s time to call in a friend! And according to Deadline that friend is Robert Rodriguez!

Reportedly Cameron, 20th Century Fox and producer Jon Landau are in talks with the Sin City and Spy Kids helmer to direct the adaptation, with Cameron issuing this statement about the deal:

“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.”

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Rodriguez himself had this to add about directing the film:

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. It’s an honor to explore the world of Alita along with Jim and Jon, whose films have impacted me for decades.”

For the uninitiated, Battle Angel: Alita is set in the 26th century in a community known simply as Scrapheap, which is exactly what it sounds like as the less-fortunate eke out a living in the mounds of scrap that rains down from the more fortunate floating city Tiphares. The story follows the titular Alita, “an amnesiac female cyborg who is rescued from a scrapyard by a doctor. The rebuilt Alita, remembering only her training in a deadly martial art, becomes a hunter-warrior, tracking down and eliminating vicious criminals. Within the context of an epic action-adventure, the film will explore a young woman’s journey of self-discovery and finding love.”

The story was already adapted into a 2-episode OVA – basically the anime version of a miniseries – back in 1993. The OVA received a lukewarm response in its native Japan, but US critics and fans praised it as one of the best animes of the time when it was released in the States, particularly for it’s soundtrack which has gone on to become much beloved. Here’s a trailer for the 1993 OVA.

Last Updated: October 16, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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