Filming just wrapped on director Robert Rodriguez and screenwriter James Cameron‘s Alita: Battle Angel, but another cast member has just been announced. Michelle Rodriguez, who’s worked with both Rodriguez and Cameron, is a part of the adaptation of Yukito Kishiro‘s Japanese manga. The news comes only a few short weeks after we learned Jennifer Connelly has a role in the 3D sci-fi action movie.
Entertainment Weekly reports the actress is playing Gelda, a cyborg whom Alita at one point considers her master. She’s a key figure from Alita’s past. Rodriguez’s character is known for her compassion, fighting skills, and the eye black she applies to her face before battle. Rodriguez joins a cast that already includes Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Oscar nominee Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children), Ed Skrein (Deadpool), and, the actor playing the titular character, Rosa Salazar.
Writer and artist Yukito Kishiro created Battle Angel Alita in the 1990s. Kishiro’s story is set in the distant future and follows a young female cyborg. A kind doctor played by Waltz discovers Alita in a junkyard. With no memories of her past life, she searches for the truth.
Initially, Cameron wanted to take a shot at Kishiro’s manga after making Titanic. The visionary filmmaker acquired the rights in 1999 and spent many years developing his adaptation. Once he took a trip to Pandora, though, he left the director’s chair of Alita: Battle Angel and handed the job off to Rodriguez. While Cameron is busy with his four Avatar sequels, he’s still involved in Rodriguez’s movie. Cameron is producing the 3D movie alongside Jon Landau.
Rodriguez co-starred in Rodriguez’s Machete and Machete Kills as Luz. With Cameron, of course, she collaborated on one of the biggest movies of all time, Avatar. A couple of years after those movies came out the actress rejoined the Resident Evil and Fast and Furious franchises. Rodriguez, who had an unforgettable breakout role in Girlfight, has been lining up some solid jobs lately, including Alita: Battle Angel. She stars in director Walter Hill’s (The Warriors) upcoming revenge thriller, The Assignment. That movie looks potentially polarizing, but she still got to work with one of the greats. Speaking of one of the greats, Rodriguez most recently signed up for Steve McQueen’s follow-up to 12 Years a Slave, Widows, a Gillian Flynn-scripted heist movie we can’t wait to see.
Alita: Battle Angel opens in theaters July 20th, 2018.
by Jack Giroux