Jackie Earle Haley is joining the cast of ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, a big-budget adaptation of the popular manga series created by Yukito Kishiro.

alita_3_091616After spending years in development, the Fox project is scheduled to begin production next month in Austin. SIN CITY director Robert Rodriguez will helm the film based on a script by James Cameron (ALIENS, AVATAR), who will also serve as a producer along with Jon Landau of Lightstorm Entertainment.

Haley, who recently starred in AMC’s “Preacher” and will appear in Sony’s adaptation of Stephen King’s THE DARK TOWER, is rumored to play a villainous cyborg, and the role is expected to involved extensive CG and green screen work.

Set in a dystopian future, the film follows Alita, an amnesiac female cyborg discovered in a scrap dump by Daisuke Ido, a cybernetics specialist who works to rebuild her. Alita soon sets out to rediscover her past and works as a bounty hunter using her mastery of a legendary martial art.

In addition to Haley, Rosa Salazar (“Parenthood,” MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE) and Christoph Waltz (DJANGO UNCHAINED, SPECTRE) are also signed to star in the film. Salazar will play the title character.

Cameron had originally planned to direct the project himself, but his slate of four upcoming AVATAR sequels likely derailed any hope such a move was possible. Now with Rodriguez taking the helm, the project is finally picking up steam. The teaming of Cameron — who masterfully used rampaging cyborgs in his films THE TERMINATOR and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY — and Rodriguez should allow for an epic adaptation of the source material, which offers a rich background for future sequels.

Known as “Ganmu” in Japan, the nine-volume cyberpunk series ran from 1990 to 1995 and spawned a pair of animated episodes, a video game and several spin-off tales.

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL is set to hit theaters July 20, 2018.

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source: Hollywood Reporter

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