Robert Rodriguez: “Alita is a James Cameron movie that he just didn’t have time to direct!”

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20th Century Fox

The director looks back on Gunnm’s adaptation in Première.

February 13, 2019, on the occasion of the release ofAlita Battle Angel, a manga adaptation project that James Cameron has supervised for 20 years, First met director Robert Rodriguez, who ultimately inherited the project – because the filmmaker is too busy with the aftermath ofAvatar– and Jon Landau, producer of the two sagas. Here are some excerpts from this interview full of anecdotes to wait until the first unencrypted broadcast of the film, this Sunday on TF1.

Alita: Battle Angel, a real bomb [critique]

FIRST: Alita finally sees the light of day after two years of postproduction, and more than twenty years after James Cameron decided to adapt Gunnm. Such a gestation should bring its share of good memories … but also regrets and bankruptcies?

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ: Already, a first thing: it’s finally over! (Laughs.) After such a long process, one can only be relieved to have finished, but that doesn’t mean thatAlita was an ordeal. Even less for me, who only arrived on the project in 2013. I shot fairly quickly and without any particular glitches: it was the special effects that took a long time … For a good cause.

JON LANDAU: I do not regret for a single moment thatAlita took us so many years, and you know what? I am even very happy about it. First of all, if we had released the film ten or fifteen years ago, Rosa Salazar would not have played the main role. Then, we would not have benefited from the same technical refinement. The heroine would have been embodied in computer graphics rather than in performance capture. For me, it’s like raising a child for twenty years co-parenting with James and Robert, and seeing him finally graduate!

Here the unofficial co-author is not Yukito Kishiro (the author of the manga Gunnm, editor’s note), but James Cameron …

RR: It’s even more than that: Alita is a James Cameron movie that he just didn’t have time to direct! Without exaggerating, my job was to make a Cameron-style film. He had built the universe so well that I just had to follow in his footsteps: I could ask him a question about anything – the best angle to film the skidding of a “Motorball” or a simple prop. – and he answered me the next day with a six-page text …

The proximity between your films is not immediately obvious …

RR: People actually find that we make a weird tandem, even though we have been friends for over twenty-five years! But I understand: I like to experiment in the cinema, while he outright provokes revolutions. He is a pioneer. I could stop the job if I had made a film as innovative as Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but he always goes further! Having said that, I think our alliance works in Alita, precisely because his work had a huge influence on my style. After consulting the rushes, he would sometimes call me to congratulate me on such and such a discovery, and I would reply: “James, first of all I don’t know what comes from you or me in these images, and if that comes from me, I probably stole it in one of your films! “

JL: James and Robert have more in common than you might think: they are storytellers above all. Technology interests them, but it always comes to serve a narrative without being an end in itself – when too many people in the industry do the opposite! And they have a culture of manufacturing, of ingenuity, because they started with low budget auteur films …

Contents of Première n ° 493: Captain Marvel, Dragons 3, Marina Foïs, Vice, La Favorite, François Ozon, Alita ...

The full interview can be found in Premiere n ° 493, with Captain marvel In front page.

20 years ago, Guillermo del Toro introduced Gunnm / Alita: Battle Angel to James Cameron

TrailerAlita Battle Angel :

Alita Battle Angel: Weta Digital takes a behind-the-scenes look at special effects

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