Zendaya Among Finalists for James Cameron's 'Battle Angel' Movie (Exclusive)

James Cameron is producing and Robert Rodriguez is directing Fox's adaptation of the popular manga.
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Zendaya, Maika Monroe, Rosa Salazar

James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez are zeroing in on their female actor to star in Alita: Battle Angel, Fox’s ambitious adaptation of the popular manga graphic novels.

Rodriguez is on board to direct what is envisioned as a big-budget tentpole, while Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment partner Jon Landau are producing.

The movie has not been greenlighted as budgetary issues are still being worked out while the studio seeks to bring it down from the $175 million-$200 million range.

The following trio tested for the film, The Hollywood Reporter has learned: Maika Monroe, who starred in It Follows and will appear in this summer's Independence Day: Resurgence; Rosa Salazar, who appeared in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and recently wrapped shooting Warner Bros.’ big-screen take of CHiPs; and Zendaya, the Disney Channel star of K.C. Undercover who is one of the female leads of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Bella Thorne, who starred with Zendaya on the TV series Shake It Up and appeared in Alvin & the Chipmunks: Road Chip, also tested, say sources.

Sources say that Cameron and Rodriguez want to create a star-making vehicle akin to Cameron’s Dark Angel, the TV series that ran from 2000 to 2002 and became a platform for Jessica Alba. Sources also say that Zendaya could be the frontrunner for the role, but that scheduling issues with her hit TV show present a stumbling block.

Alita: Battle Angel tells of a female cyborg that is discovered in a scrapyard by a scientist. With no memory of her previous life except her deadly martial-arts training, the woman becomes a bounty hunter, tracking down criminals. The action-adventure story is meant to serve as a backdrop to themes of self-discovery and the search for love.

A decision on the actresses is expected in the coming weeks.

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