Last month, a report surfaced claiming producer James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez were eyeing four actresses for their long-awaited adaptation Alita: Battle Angel. The four candidates were Zendaya Coleman (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Bella Thorne (The DUFF), Maika Monroe (Independence Day: Resurgence) and Rosa Salazar (The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials). Today, we have word that the director and producer have decided on their leading lady, with Rosa Salazar reportedly winning the role.
Previously, sources claimed that Zendaya Coleman may be the front runner. But that initial report also revealed the actress may have scheduling complications with her hit Disney Channel TV series, K.C. Undercover. This news hasn’t been confirmed by the studio, but our story from last month claimed producers would make their final decision within the next few weeks. And it seems they’ve finally chosen their leading lady. It isn’t clear when production may begin.
It has been stated that James Cameron and Jon Landau want Alita: Battle Angel to be a “star-making vehicle” for an up and coming young actress, similar to how their TV series Dark Angel launched the career of Jessica Alba. The movie still doesn’t have an official green light from 20th Century Fox yet, since the studio is trying to bring the budget down, which is currently between $175 million and $200 million. The studio hasn’t issued a release date, but now that their leading lady may have been found, the project could get the green light soon.
Based on the graphic novel series by Yukito Kishiro, Battle Angel is set in the 26th Century, with the story centering on Alita, an amnesiac female cyborg who is rescued from a junkyard by a doctor. The cyborg is rebuilt, only remembering her martial arts training, as she is programmed to hunt and take down violent criminals, while she goes on her own journey of self-discovery. James Cameron co-wrote the screenplay with his Avatar co-writer Laeta Kalogridis, but it isn’t known if Robert Rodriguez has been re-writing the script as well.
James Cameron has been developing this project for more than a decade, which was expected to be his follow-up to Titanic, way back in 2005. The filmmaker moved on to develop and direct Avatar, which ended up shattering Titanic’s box office records, and now the director is in pre-production on four sequels to Avatar, all of which will be shot simultaneously. Avatar 2 is set to hit theaters in December 2018, followed by Avatar 3 in 2020, Avatar 4 in 2022 and Avatar 5 arriving in 2023. Rosa Salazar has most recently starred as Brenda in The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, with the actress set to return in the franchise finale The Maze Runner: The Death Cure. She also stars in the indie comedy Search Party, which hit theaters this month, and the upcoming remake CHiPs. We’ll have to wait and see if Collider‘s initial story pans out, with Salazar locking in the lead.