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Mahershala Ali, who plays the villain known as Cottonmouth on Marvel’s Netflix series Luke Cage, is in negotiations to join the growing cast of Fox’s Alita: Battle Angel.
Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jackie Earl Haley, Ed Skrein and Keann Johnson are on the call sheet for James Cameron’s long-in-the-works adaptation of the manga graphic novels.
Cameron is producing with his Lightstorm Entertainment partner Jon Landau, while Robert Rodriguez, the filmmaker behind the Sin City and Spy Kids movies, is in the director’s chair.
Set in the 26th century, Alita tells of a female cyborg (Salazar) 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.
Ali will play one of the movie’s villains, a man named Vector who runs and fixes matches in a gladiator-style combat game called Motorball.
Shooting is due to begin this month in Austin, Texas.
Fox had no comment.
Ali, who is one of the co-stars on Netflix’s House of Cards, has a busy fall lined up: He appears in the much-buzzed-about gay drama Moonlight, and also appears in Hidden Figures, Fox’s period drama about black women in the early days of the NASA space program. The latter movie, which stars Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson, will have an awards-qualifying run in December before opening wide on Jan. 17.
Ali is repped by WME and Anonymous Content.
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