Add Keean Johnson’s name to the growing ensemble attached to star in Alita: Battle Angel.
The Hollywood Reporter broke news of Johnson’s casting over the weekend, confirming that the former Nashville star saw off strong competition from both Douglas Booth and Jack Lowden to land the role of Hugo, a young man with a deep understanding of the gladiatorial game known as Motorball. Upon crossing paths with Alita, played here by Maze Runner actress Rosa Salazar, the two strike up a friendship, which is something our title cyborg will be cherishing considering Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation will have her locking horns with both Ed Skrein’s Zapan – Damascus blade and all – and a cybernetic villain played by Preacher star Jackie Earl Haley.
Christoph Waltz rounds out the current casting list, with the Oscar-winner on board to play a skilled professor of cybernetics, one who rescues Salazar’s amnesiac from a scrapyard and sets her on a warpath with the city’s criminals. Alita is well versed in martial arts, you see, and those familiar with Yukito Kishiro’s nine-volume manga will know all too well that this is a stellar role for the up-and-coming Salazar – perhaps one that could even give Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost in the Shell a run for her money.
Having nurtured the project from the get-go, James Cameron will be attached to produce Alita: Battle Angel when it finally takes flight and enters production later this month, so keep your peepers peeled for further updates in the coming weeks.
Alita: Battle Angel will finally – finally – light up theaters on July 20, 2018 and when it does, Fox’s long-in-development picture will be screening in IMAX formats, too.