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Christoph Waltz is in early negotiations to star in James Cameron’s “Alita: Battle Angel” with Robert Rodriguez directing the ambitious adaptation of the popular manga series.

Waltz would join Rosa Salazar in the movie with Salazar portraying a 26th century cyborg who’s rescued from a scrapyard and reassembled. Her character Alita, who only remembers her training in a deadly martial art, becomes a hunter-warrior who tracks down vicious criminals. Waltz would play Doctor Dyson Ido, the cybersurgeon who finds the cyborg and becomes her mentor.

“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” star Salazar joined the project in March. Cameron and Jon Landau, who will produce for Fox under their Lightstorm Entertainment banner, are also currently in pre-production on four “Avatar” sequels.

Fox has already set a July 20, 2018, release date for “Alita: Battle Angel,” which is expected to have a budget between $175 million and $200 million. Fox is planning a fall start of production.

Waltz won two Oscars for Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” and “Django Unchained.” The Austrian actor played Walter Keane in “Big Eyes,” James Bond’s nemesis and head of SPECTRE Ernst Stavro Blofeld in “Spectre,” and the merciless Captain Léon Rom in “The Legend of Tarzan.” He recently wrapped Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing.”

Waltz is repped by ICM Partners.