The manga series is titled Battle Angel Alita but the movie is titled Alita: Battle Angel. In 2010, producer Jon Landau commented "I'm telling people that we have to call it Alita: Battle Angel, because Jim only does T&A movies,". Most of James Cameron's movie titles begin with A or T such as Titanic, Aliens, The Terminator, The Abyss, True Lies, and Avatar.
It had always been a dream of James Cameron to direct and produce a feature film adaptation of Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita manga since 1995, but the project stalled for two reasons: 1.) prior commitment and his own interest to direct Titanic; and 2.) the technology, at the time, had not caught up with the story and vision he needed to represent and do justice to Kishiro's world of Alita.
Will include roughly 1,500 visual effects shots.
Alita: Battle Angel (2018) marks the first time that Robert Rodriguez has directed a film where he doesn't also serve as the film editor, director of photography, camera operator, steadicam operator, composer, production designer, visual effects supervisor, and sound editor, like all of his previous films.
Avan Jogia, Douglas Booth, Jack Lowden and Noah Silver were considered for the role of Hugo, but the filmmakers decided on Keean Johnson because they were looking for someone more "ethnically ambiguous".
Christoph Waltz was recommended to Robert Rodriguez by their mutual friend, Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino directed Waltz to 2 Oscar wins in Inglorious Basterds (2009) & Django Unchained (2012), & has been a long time friend & collaborator of Rodriguez since the early 1990s.
Based on the 9-volume Japanese manga "Gunnm" written and drawn by Yukito Kishiro. The comic book ran from 1990 to 1995 and was released in North America under the title "Battle Angel Alita". It was followed by the 19-volume sequel series "Battle Angel Alita: Last Order" which ran from 2000 to 2014 and later by Gunnm: Mars Chronicle which ran from 2014 to present.
Alita: Battle Angel (2018) marks the first professional collaboration between filmmakers James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez. Due to his prior commitments to direct the four upcoming sequels to Avatar (2009), Cameron could only serve as the producer and co-screenwriter on Alita, with Rodriguez taking the directorial duties. In his interview with Empire magazine on December 8, 2017, Rodriguez said of the collaboration with his friend Cameron: "This just doesn't happen. Guys like Quentin (Tarantino) and Jim (Cameron) only write scripts for themselves to direct. When Avatar (2009) becomes the biggest movie of all time, he told me that he's going to spend the rest of his career making Avatars, so I said, 'What happens to Battle Angel then?' - because as a fan I was just interested! And he said, 'I don't think I'll ever get to do that. Hey, if you can figure out the script, you can shoot it!' So I took it home, spent all summer working on it, cut it down to 130, 125 pages, without cutting anything that he missed. It was a great gift. We had a blast; anytime I had a question I could just call him or email him and he would send back these hugely detailed answers that were so helpful. He just loves being the producer that he always wants. The guy's just so freakin' smart. Getting to learn from someone like that was the greatest internship ever."
The film stars three Academy Award winners (Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly, and Christoph Waltz) and one nominee (Jackie Earle Haley). They were all recognized in the supporting acting categories.
In September 2016, Variety reported that the movie will have a budget between $175 million and $200 million which makes it the biggest budget that Robert Rodriguez has ever had.
Upon the release of the film's first theatrical trailer, Alita's appearance, especially her big eyes, have provoked strong mixed reactions from audiences. Director Robert Rodriguez, in an interview with Empire magazine on December 8, 2017, explained the decision for the design of Alita's eyes: "It was always Jim (Cameron)'s intention to create a photo-realistic version of the manga eyes that we're so accustomed to seeing. We really wanted to honour that tradition and see that look standing next to any human character. To have the right person to emote behind it was really essential. Her origins are in the film and you understand why she looks that way. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, we have some pretty big windows. You can see a lot going on in there! When it gets to the emotional scenes it's really uncanny and striking. And captivating!"
Producer James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez had four actresses tested for the title role: Zendaya, Rosa Salazar, Maika Monroe and Bella Thorne. The role went to Rosa Salazar.
James Cameron confirmed in an interview that this will be a combination of the first four books in Yukito Kishiro's series of manga books ("Motorball" from books 3 and 4, and the story from books 1 and 2). In another interview, Cameron also said that should this film be successful, he hopes to make another two "Battle Angel" films.
The first film by Robert Rodriguez to be shot in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Although his Grindhouse (2007) segment Plant Terror was released in theaters like this, the DVD extended verison is presented in his usually preferred 1.85:1 like his other films.
The main character, even though it's a live action film, will be done with CG animation and will be shot in 3D using the stereo imaging system that James Cameron had been developing for his documentaries.
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