‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Eyes Maika Monroe, Rosa Salazar and Zendaya For Lead Role
James Cameron originally intended to direct Alita: Battle Angel himself, but a few years and plans for four more Avatar sequels later, and the director is just a bit too busy to helm the manga adaptation himself. As announced last year, Robert Rodriguez will now direct the project with Cameron executive producing, and it looks like things are picking up as a few talented young women are being eyed for the leading role.
THR reports that Maika Monroe (It Follows), Zendaya (the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Rosa Salazar (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials) have all tested for the title role in Alita: Battle Angel, based on the Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita. Created in 1990, the series takes place in a post-apocalyptic future (don’t they all) and centers on a cyborg named Alita, who is discovered in a garbage dump and has lost all of her memories, save for her martial arts skills. With the help of a doctor, Alita is rebuilt and becomes a bounty hunter.
Back in 2009 — when he was still in production on Avatar — Cameron told MTV that he was holding off on Alita: Battle Angel until he had the adequate technology to combine CGI and live-action in 3D. But even back then, Cameron said he already had a complete script and production design ready to go:
We have a very good script and we’ve done a lot of production design. We’ve done about a year of production design and we’ve put together an art reel that shows the arc of the film.
So it seems as though Rodriguez won’t have a steep hill to climb to get Alita to the big screen, since Cameron has already provided so much of the foundation for the long-developing adaptation.
As for the lead role, Zendaya is reportedly the favorite, but her TV schedule on Disney’s K.C. Undercover conflicts with production. Bella Thorne (MTV’s Scream) also tested for the part, and a casting decision will probably happen within a few weeks.