From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (Avatar) and Robert Rodriguez (Sin City), comes Alita: Battle Angel, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment, based upon the Manga graphic novel series by Yukito Kishiro.
When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyberphysician who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg core is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories.
But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city, headed by Vector (Mahershala Ali), come after Ido and Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities ingrained in her that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she has grown to love.
“You see this story through Alita’s eyes, eyes that have an innocence to them and see the beauty in things,” director Rodriguez says. “We set out to create something that feels very tactile, that’s immersive, that has unexpected moments, all the things you anticipate in a Jim Cameron movie. What’s amazing is that Jim has been working on Alita since 1999, but even now, nobody has made anything like it. Making it finally happen has been an incredible process of collaboration.”
Rodriguez adds, “The fervor, risk-taking and fusing of mind and machine, that drove the making of Alita echo what Alita discovers about pouring your all into what you do. At its core, this is the story of a girl who gets a second chance at life, and decides this time it will be about following her heart.”
About the Star; Rosa Salazar:
Rosa Salazar (Alita) was recently seen alongside Sandra Bullock in Netflix’s Bird Box, directed by Susanne Bier, which premiered on December 21st and was watched by 45,037,125 accounts in the first week, the best first seven days a Netflix film has received.
In 2019 she will star in Undone, Amazon’s first primetime animated series from the BoJack Horseman team.
Her past films include The Kindergarten Teacher for Netflix, Maze Runner: The Death Cure for Twentieth Century Fox, CHiPS for Warner Bros., Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials for Twentieth Century Fox, The Divergent Series: Insurgent for Summit, Search Party for Focus and Night Owls for Orion among others.
Her past television work includes Big Mouth for Netflix, Man Seeking Woman for FXX and Parenthood for NBC among others. Her directorial debut, the short film Good Crazy, premiered in competition at Sundance in 2017.
Producer James Cameron recalls: “It’s almost impossible to quantify just how big the reaction was that Robert and I had to Rosa. She brought such heart and vitality to every moment. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Adds Director Robert Rodriguez: “It’s like a dream when someone walks in the door and you see that thing you were looking for that you couldn’t even describe. That’s what happened with Rosa. It was magic.”
Rosa Salazar knew she’d be walking a tightrope in the role—so she thrived on the safety net provided by Cameron and Rodriguez. “Jim explained all the nut-and-bolts of Alita to me, but also, Jim has such tenderness towards Alita and that gave me a lot of insight. And with Robert I felt an immediate artistic and human connection,” she says. “He’s so energetic and always creating, yet his demeanor is calm. When he listens to you, he really hears you. I always felt my words had weight with him.”
Martial Arts Training
Months before production began, Rosa leapt into intensive training, studying the demanding arts of Wushu, Muay Thai and Kung Fu, and honing her inline skating repertoire as well. “The training almost killed me,” she admits. “I had to get my endurance way up, build lots of strength and start to think like a regimented warrior. A lot of it was learning the forms, harnessing that energy and rhythm.”
Though Salazar did some of her own stunt work, the overwhelming complexity of the shoot necessitated having up to nine different “stunt Alitas” in play, including world-class gymnasts and contortionists. “Alita kicks a lot of (butt) and she kicks the (butts) of huge, enhanced cyborgs,” Rosa Salazar explains. “What I like about her fierceness is that I think it gives girls permission to realize you can be both soft and brave, you can express your emotions but also be determined never to let evil win.”
Rosa was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Greenbelt, Maryland.
About James Cameron:
James Cameron (Screenplay, Producer) is an acclaimed film-maker and explorer. As director, writer and producer he is responsible for some of the most memorable films of the past three decades: The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar.
Avatar is the highest grossing film in history with over $2.7 billion in global box office, beating the previous record holder, Cameron’s own film Titanic, which held that record for 12 years. Cameron’s films have also earned numerous nominations and awards, most notably Titanic’s 14 Academy Award nominations (a record) and 11 Oscars (also a record), including Cameron’s own 3 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Editing. Both Titanic and Avatar won the Golden Globe for Best Director and Best Picture. Avatar was nominated for 9 Academy Awards and won 3 Academy Awards.
Technology and Exploration
Over the last 17 years Cameron developed cutting edge 3D camera systems for movies and documentaries, as well as for broadcast sports and special events. He was at the vanguard of the 3D renaissance that has transformed the movie industry in recent years. He also developed unprecedented deep ocean exploration vehicles, lighting and 3D camera equipment. Most recently, Cameron led his eighth deep ocean expedition to some of the deepest trenches in the world. On March 26, 2012, he set the world’s solo deep diving record of 35,787’ in the Challenger Deep in a vehicle of his own design.
Cameron is a National Geographic Explorer in Residence, and recipient of their most prestigious award, the Hubbard Medal, as well as the Explorer’s Club medal for Explorer of the Year.
Cameron is also passionately involved in sustainability issues, having founded the Avatar Alliance Foundation to take action on climate change, energy policy, deforestation, indigenous rights, ocean conservation and sustainable agriculture. His production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, installed a 1-megawatt solar array on the roofs of their soundstages at Manhattan Beach Studios, to generate all the power for the Avatar sequels. James and Suzy Amis Cameron, both environmental vegans, founded the Plant Power Taskforce to promote awareness of the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and climate. He is currently in production on Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Alita: Battle Angel
Starring: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez
Produced By: James Cameron, Jon Landaus
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, text, images and trailer with kind courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox TM & © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Not for sale or duplication. All rights reserved.
Hollywood Sentinel, 2019