Cameron brings 3-D back to film
'Battle Angel' is scheduled to be released in 2007.
LOS ANGELES -- "Titanic," "Terminator" and "Dark Angel" producer James Cameron is bringing another angel to life.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker will adapt the Japanese manga "Battle Angel" for the big screen using the same digital 3-D film technology he utilized for his underwater documentary "Aliens of the Deep."
Based on the popular graphic novel by Yukito Kishiro, "Battle Angel" is set in the distant post-apocalyptic future where people reside in the Utopian floating city of Tiphares or in the earthbound city of Scrapyard below, where cyber-surgeon Daisuke Ido digs up a 300-year-old human head. From the head, he creates a young cyborg whom he names Alita.
"It's a father/daughter relationship story that has just the most insane action that you can pretty much imagine," said Cameron at a press junket in Santa Monica, Calif., for "Aliens of the Deep," which is in IMAX theaters.
"In that society, it's a technological dark age following a pinnacle of achievement far, far beyond where we are right now. So now you have a cyborg technology which is just a way of life, and people are augmented a lot," Cameron said. "The main character ... has an organic human brain and she looks like she's about 14 years old. She has a completely artificial body and she's lost her memory."
Because of her amnesia, Alita is like a newborn soul in this harsh and baffling world. The stories revolve around Alita falling in love with Hugo, a young street urchin intent on earning enough money to live in Tiphares; participating in the combat-like game Motorball; and practicing "Panzer Kunst," a long lost fighting technique.
Despite the violence inherent in the project, Cameron says he's aiming for a PG-13 rating, explaining, "[There will be] a lot of blood, but it's all blue."
Because of the broad scope of the stories and futuristic action, Cameron will have a challenge bringing the beloved comic to life.
"It's a bit of a melange from the first three books, which means that it pulls forward the Motorball story into the Ido/Alita/Hugo story if you will," he said. "It's going to be live action and CG mixed ... meaning we'll build sets, we'll shoot with actors and we'll have CG characters. Alita will be CG. She'll be performed by an actress, but what you see in the film will be CG."
Kiwi director Peter Jackson uses a similar technique with actor Andy Serkis providing the performance for the CG-animated Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" films.
Although no actors have been signed to the project yet, Cameron says he wants to cast "very recognizable names." Fans of "Battle Angel" eager to see Alita resurrected will have to be patient, though.