Rumors have persisted over James Cameron’s long-awaited Battle Angel, and it finally looks like the movie will be coming to the big screen. However, the Titanic director will not be behind the camera and has handpicked his replacement — Robert Rodriguez.
Rodriguez — who is no stranger to comic book adaptations with two Sin City movies on his résumé — was selected by Cameron himself and will now bring the manga to life. The film will be based on the Japanese source material Battle Angel Alita, which was written and created by Yukito Kishiro. It tells the story of Alita, an amnesiac female cyborg who is retrieved from a junkyard by a doctor, who then re-builds her in order to use her to fight crime. She soon remembers her past and discovers that there is one thing she remembers: the legendary cyborg martial art Panzer Kunst, which leads to her becoming a bounty hunter before embarking on a journey of self-discovery.
Cameron, who bought the rights to the film adaptation, is a huge fan of Battle Angel Alita and penned a script some time ago, which is based on the first four books of the series. Cameron wanted to make Battle Angel his next film after Avatar, to utilize and take advantage of advanced CGI. With multiple sequels quickly consuming his time, it makes sense to hand the project to another director, one who has the ability and unique vision to bring such a project to life.
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Cameron discussed his decision, one that was easily made.
“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.”
“I am sure you will get to see Battle Angel. It is one of my favourite stories, a great story about a young woman’s journey to self-discovery. It is a film that begs the question: What does it mean to be human?’ Are you human if you have a heart, a brain or a soul? I look forward to giving the audience the film.”
It seems Rodriguez and Cameron — a stellar combination for any film fan — will work on the first draft together before handing the reins to Rodriguez for the film itself. With Cameron’s perfectionist ability and Rodriguez’s unique flair and style, this is definitely one to keep an eye on. It will also be interesting to see how Rodriguez handles science fiction, a genre he has merely dabbled in during a couple of his films — Planet Terror and The Faculty come to mind.
It seems Battle Angel is in excellent hands. Who can forget Cameron’s established résumé with films like Titanic, Avatar, The Terminator, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day? These films have earned him multiple accolades with his peers and fans, not to mention worldwide recognition as one of the finest directors in the industry today. He holds the record for the two highest grossing movies of all time — Titanic with $2.19 billion and Avatar with $2.78 billion — and Cameron’s films have grossed $6 billion worldwide.
Rodriguez is an inspired choice to direct a film that will naturally involve massive CGI and special effects. His Sin City films relied heavily on green screens and extensive post-production work in order to bring them to life — the effect is a physical, walking-talking comic book ripped from the page to the screen. He will regularly take additional credits on his movies — editor, director of photography, production designer — in order to truly realize his vision on the screen, something that Cameron will admire. Rodriguez’s films have grossed approximately $1.18 billion worldwide.
Battle Angel is tentatively expected for release in 2017.
[Images – Getty Images/Ethan Miller, Kevin Winter and Shueisha’s Business Jump/Yukito Kishiro]