Mahershala Ali might have caught the villain bug. Currently he plays Cottonmouth, the powerful and terrifying bad guy featured in the first season of Netflix and Marvel’s Luke Cage, and soon he might appear as another villain type in James Cameron’s live-action adaptation of Alita: Battle Angel.

Alita is based on the extremely popular Japanese manga series Battle Angel Alita, which tells the story of a female cyborg found in a junkyard by a friendly scientist and trained to become a bounty hunter, with the help of her innate martial arts skills. The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Ali is currently in talks to join the Fox film in the role of Vector, a man who engineers and fixes matches in a gladiator-style fighting ring called Motorball. He also has the ability to immediately tell whether or not someone is lying to him or telling the truth, just by looking into their eyes. It would be a perfect role for Ali, whose intimidating demeanor and sinister soft-spoken-ness would lend themselves well to a bad guy part.

Alita: Battle Angel, directed by Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Sin City), is expected to start shooting later this month. The film also stars Rosa Salazar as Alita, Christoph Waltz as her scientist mentor Dr. Dyson Ido, Jackie Earle Haley, Ed Skrein, and Keann Johnson, and will hit theaters July 20, 2018. Mahershala Ali can also be seen in the wonderful and moving gay drama Moonlight, which premiered at Telluride and will be released on October 21.


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