James Cameron has made the two highest-grossing films of all time, Avatar and Titanic, so he is in a position with his career now where he can do pretty much anything he wants. For many years he has developed a film adaptation of Yukito Kishiro‘s manga series Battle Angel Alita for 20th Century Fox, but that endeavor has seen its share of production delays while its would-be powerhouse director paid several visits to the planet Pandora.
Even still, Cameron has long desired to make a movie based on Battle Angel. That is until he decided that he would no longer make anything but sequels to his billion dollar sci-fi blockbuster Avatar – three of which he intends to film back-to-back. That means the Battle Angel movie that has long been relegated to the backburner spot on Cameron’s development slate is going to be in need of a new maestro to bring it to the silver screen, and that maestro is Robert Rodriguez.
The Texas-based director of Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, and the Spy Kids and Sin City movies is currently in negotiations with Fox to take the helm of the feature that has been renamed Alita: Battle Angel. Cameron will remain on board to produce along with his longtime producing partner Jon Landau under their Lightstorm Entertainment company.
According to Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr., Battle Angel “tells the story of 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.”
In a statement, Cameron expressed his enthusiasm at the signing of Rodriguez to direct:
“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 added his own two cents regarding the news:
“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.”
Alita is just one of several projects Rodriguez has in development at different studios; he also has live-action adaptations of the 1960s cartoon series Jonny Quest and the 1983 Frank Frazetta/Ralph Bakshi animated fantasy adventure Fire & Ice set up at Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures, respectively.