The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Wednesday (August 24th) that Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained “is in early negotiations” to star in James Cameron’s live-action film adaptation of the Battle Angel Alita manga by Yukito Kishiro. If Waltz chooses to take on the role, he will play Doctor Dyson Ido, whom The Hollwood Reporter describes as “the cybersurgeon who finds the cyborg [protagonist] and becomes her mentor.” In the manga, it’s a similar character named Daisuke Ido who stumbles across Alita.
Rosa Salazar of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and The Divergent Series: Insurgent won out against Maika Monroe of It Follows, and Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s Zendaya to snap up the titular cyborg’s role. 20th Century Fox is projecting the movie’s wide release for July 20th, 2018, but James Cameron’s last input was that he wouldn’t start work on Alita until he finished directing his four Avatar sequels. While Cameron and John Landau are producing, with Robert Rodriguez of Sin City tapped to direct, Shutter Island‘s Laeta Kalogridis has written a script.
As in Kishiro’s manga and the following OVA, the movie’s premise details a scientist discovering a female cyborg in a trash yard. Awakened, but with no memory of her previous life except for her martial arts skills, she becomes a bounty hunter. The action-adventure story itself is set against the themes of love and self-discovery long since well-trodden in manga and anime.
As for the ongoing manga, the latest series, GUNNM: Kasei Senki (Battle Angel Alita: The Martian War Chronicles), launched in Kodansha’s Evening magazine last year, having moved from Shueisha’s Ultra Jump after a dialogue dispute between Kishiro and the publication.