Currently overseeing production on four planned Avatar sequels for release across the next six-to-seven years, to say that James Cameron’s slate is all booked up may read like something of an understatement. But such an accelerated timeline means that the director’s long-gestating adaptation of the Battle Angel manga has fallen by the wayside.
Deciding to appoint some fresh blood at the helm, we learned late last year that Cameron had recruited Robert Rodriguez to pick up directing duties, and now the project is finally – finally! – teetering on the edge of production.
Adding fuel to that fire today is a report by Collider, claiming that Rosa Salazar (The Divergent Series, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials) is closing in on the lead role, possibly beating out Maika Monroe (It Follows), Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Bella Thorne in the process.
Perhaps encouraged by Ghost in the Shell‘s progress over at Paramount – allegations of whitewashing notwithstanding – Battle Angel Alita is now closer to entering production than ever before, though 20th Century Fox is reportedly keen to wrestle down the purported $175-$200 million production budget.
For now, Salazar being linked with Rodriguez’s sci-fi actioner is promising as it stands. Hand-picked by Cameron to helm the feature film, the director recently outlined the cinematic sensibilities of Battle Angel.
“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.”
Given the built-in fanbase garnered by the Battle Angel manga, a Comic-Con reveal would have appeared to be a shoo-in had 20th Century Fox not pulled out of the San Diego event citing piracy concerns. Alas, fans will have to take solace in the fact that the adaptation is finally narrowing its search for a leading actress.