Rodriguez, James Cameron, and Laeta Kalogridis wrote the screenplay for the film, based on the manga series “Gunnm” by Japanese artist Yukito Kishiro. “Alita: Battle Angel” is an action-packed sci-fi story of a woman’s discovery of her own abilities and her fight for global change.
Cameron originally wrote a 186-page screenplay accompanied by 600 pages of notes and eventually shared both with Rodriguez, who tried his hand at cleaning up the draft to transform it into a shooting script. Satisfied with the result, Cameron also asked Rodriguez to direct the movie.
“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,'” Cameron said in the 2015 announcement of the film. “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.”
The trailer depicts live-action clips featuring computer-animated actors, such as Rosa Salazar (who, in a motion-capture suit, plays the titular character), communicating directly with non-animated actors. The entire film was shot on practical sets at Rodriguez’s Austin, Texas, studio lot.
The movie also stars Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Christoph Waltz, Jackie Earle Haley, Ed Skrein, and Michelle Rodriguez.
“Alita: Battle Angel” hits theaters on July 20, 2018.