Alita: Battle Angel – How James Cameron’s Pet Project Ended Up with Director Robert Rodriguez

By | 02 March, 2018

A piece of news that almost went unnoticed between the celebrity gossip, New Zealand pokie reviews, and political scandals that rocked our world lately was the one about Mexican director Robert Rodriguez taking over from acclaimed film-maker James Cameron in the director’s chair of his long-time pet project Alita: Battle Angel. At first sight, the two directors represent two completely different categories. Cameron rose to fame due to several massive projects that shook the world. Who doesn’t remember Aliens, considered the best part of the franchise, Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic, and Avatar, a saga that takes up most of Cameron’s time? Rodriguez, in turn, usually doesn’t do big-budget box office hits. His highest-grossing movie was Spy Kids with a worldwide lifetime gross of $197 million. So how did these two complete opposites end up working on the same project?

When asked about how he reached the decision of choosing Rodriguez to direct his pet project, James Cameron said the following: “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.”

Rodriguez, of course, has his own version of the story: “When Avatar becomes the biggest movie of all time, he told me that he’s going to spend the rest of his career making Avatars, so I said, ‘What happens to Battle Angel then?’ – because as a fan I was just interested!” he said. “And he said, ‘I don’t think I’ll ever get to do that. Hey, if you can figure out the script, you can shoot it!’ So I took it home, spent all summer working on it, cut it down to 130, 125 pages, without cutting anything that he missed. It was a great gift.”

Alita: Battle Angel will be a cyberpunk action film based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga Battle Angel Alita. It is set to be released this December and will go against DC Comics origin story Aquaman, Transformers spin-off Bumblebee, and a new take on the classic Sherlock Holmes story called Holmes and Watson, starring Will Ferrell and Jason C. Reilly.

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