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Robert Rodriguez explains the deal behind Alita's giant peepers

James Cameron has had ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL on his back-burner for decades, but when it became clear that he would be spending the majority of his time in the world of Pandora for the AVATAR sequels, Robert Rodriguez was brought in to direct the film. At long last, the first trailer for ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL landed last week, but all anyone could talk about were those giant peepers on Alita (Rosa Salazar), which quickly thrust the character into the uncanny valley.

Robert Rodriguez broke down the trailer for Empire, and spoke about the choice to give Alita huge, manga-like eyes. Turns out, it was James Cameron's decision and something that he wanted from the beginning.

It was always Jim's intention to create a photo-realistic version of the manga eyes that we're so accustomed to seeing. We really wanted to honour that tradition and see that look standing next to any human character. To have the right person to emote behind it was really essential. Her origins are in the film and you understand why she looks that way. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, we have some pretty big windows. You can see a lot going on in there! When it gets to the emotional scenes it's really uncanny and striking. And captivating!

You can argue that an unnatural look is appropriate for a non-human character, but it's hard to deny that Alita doesn't seem quite...there. But as the film isn't set to be released until next July, there's still plenty of time improve the visuals. Fingers crossed. Robert Rodriguez also spoke about how he got involved in the film in the first place. When James Cameron told Rodriguez that he was going to be spending a significant chunk of time making AVATAR sequels, the director asked what that meant for ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, because, as a fan, he was just interested. Cameron said that he didn't think he'd ever get around to it, but if Rodriguez could figure out the script, he could shoot it. "So I took it home, spent all summer working on it, cut it down to 130, 125 pages, without cutting anything that he missed," Rodriguez said. "It was a great gift. We had a blast; anytime I had a question I could just call him or email him and he would send back these hugely detailed answers that were so helpful. He just loves being the producer that he always wants. The guy's just so freakin' smart. Getting to learn from someone like that was the greatest internship ever."

The official synopsis for ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL:

Visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY) create a groundbreaking new heroine in ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, an action-packed story of hope, love and empowerment. Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. Everything is new to Alita, every experience a first. As she learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield Alita from her mysterious past while her street-smart new friend, Hugo (Keean Johnson), offers instead to help trigger her memories. A growing affection develops between the two until deadly forces come after Alita and threaten her newfound relationships. It is then that Alita discovers she has extraordinary fighting abilities that could be used to save the friends and family she’s grown to love. Determined to uncover the truth behind her origin, Alita sets out on a journey that will lead her to take on the injustices of this dark, corrupt world, and discover that one young woman can change the world in which she lives.

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL is set for a July 20, 2018 release.

Source: Empire

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