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James Cameron’s ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Debuts Fight Footage at CinemaCon

Fox has unveiled an extended fight sequence for its dystopian science-fiction actioner “Alita: Battle Angel” to the nation’s theatrical exhibitors.

Footage shown Thursday at CinemaCon included the titular Alita, played by Rosa Salazar, battling a hulking half man/half machine with long metal spiked chains that extend from his hands. The clip also showed Alita finding out who she is in a future setting. “Alita: Battle Angel” opens the movie on Dec. 21.

“Making a film like James Cameron would is a personal dream of mine,” director Robert Rodriguez said.

The cast also includes Jackie Earle Haley, Eiza Gonzalez, Lana Condor, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jennifer Connelly, and Christoph Waltz. Cameron is producing with Jon Landau through his Lightstorm Entertainment banner.

Landau explained Thursday that Cameron began working on the screenplay in the year 2000, then decided to direct 2008’s “Avatar.”

Cameron, who is currently shooting a series of “Avatar” sequels, wasn’t at CinemaCon this year. Landau said when he asked Cameron to come, “He told me ‘Jon, I think it’s a good decision for everyone in that room that I’m here directing the movies, and not in the room.'”

Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis wrote the screenplay, based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series. The story is set in a 26th-century dystopian future and follows an amnesiac cyborg who’s rescued from a scrap heap and becomes a bounty hunter tracking down criminals.

Landau told Variety after the presentation that it’s quite possible that the film will be basis of a franchise.

“Kishiro wrote 30 stories in the Alita series and we used the first three for this movie,” he said. “Our focus is always on one movie but this one is ripe with opportunity.”

Landau noted that Cameron is actively involved with the post-production on “Alita,” adding, “This one clearly has Jim’s imprint.”

Landau also said Cameron is more than half-way through the motion-capture process in Manhattan Beach, Ca., for the first of four “Avatar” sequels with live-action shooting set to start later this year in New Zealand.

 

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