After the latest blast of news surrounding Ghost in the Shell, it is easy for fans to have forgotten other live-action anime adaptations currently in development stateside. Such is the case, it seems, with Alita: Battle Angel, James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez’s retelling of the epic sci-fi story that was originally released as a Japanese Manga in 1990.
Now a new report suggests that the film — which has yet to be greenlit — is narrowing down the cast list for the lead to a handful of actresses. Among them is Zendaya, the Disney Channel star and singer who most recently landed a role in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Sources closet to THR say several actresses have come in to test for the role, including Zendaya’s former Shake It Up co-star Bella Thorne. In the end, the list of front-runners is an interesting mash-up of actresses who all come with a diverse background when it comes to the genre of their work. Rosa Salazar, who will star in WB’s big-screen adaptation of CHiPS, is best known for her role in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials; Maika Monroe made a splash in the indie-horror film It Follows, and will feature in this year’s Independence Day: Resurgence; and Zendaya, who also starts in Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover, and is said to be the front runner so far. Scheduling conflicts with Zendaya’s other projects, though, might put the role in someone else’s hands.
The film will tell the story of Alita, a female cyborg who is found and put back together by a scientist, and retains no memory of her past outside of her dangerous martial arts training. On a path to find out about her past, Alita becomes a bounty hunter, and the mind-boggling epic adventure begins. “It is a film that begs the question: What does it mean to be human?” producer Jon Landau told Empire way back in 2012. “Are you human if you have a heart, a brain or a soul? I look forward to giving the audience the film.” James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment partner will join Cameron as a producer, while Rodriguez is set to direct. While the movie is expected to be a big-budget tentpole, current negotiations over the film’s actual budget have stalled as the studio seeks to bring it down from its current $175-$200 million range.
The film was originally rumored for release in 2017, but as of yet, nothing has been confirmed. Battle Angel has effectively been in development for about half a decade, and with sources saying that the film’s star will be decided upon over the course of the coming weeks, Cameron’s adaptation might be coming sooner than we think.
Screen Rant will update you with more news on Alita: Battle Angel as it is made available.