SXSW: Rosa Salazar and Keean Johnson Discuss Alita: Battle Angle
A story about love and tragedy, cyberpunk action film fans can get excited for the release of Alita: Battle Angel this December. The stars of the film, Rosa Salazar and Keean Johnson stopped by the #ComcastSXSW Social Media Lounge to talk about what fans can expect. Based on the Manga series created by Yukio Kishiro, the story follows Alita, a cyborg girl with a human brain. Salazar who plays the role explains that the character is “brought back to life” by a doctor and goes on a journey of self discovery and “finds out that she is someone that is quite extraordinary.”
In the film, Alita meets Hugo who is played by Johnson and experiences her first love. Johnson explains that the film is about “Alita finding out who she is, and other people metaphorically finding out who they are,” including Hugo.
In order to bring the character to life, Salazar was completely decked out in CGI equipment — the suit, the helmet and the dots on her face — an experience she said helped her discover a lot about herself and her performance as an actor. “My character is completely CGI, but is living in a practical world,” she said about filming on location (rather than green screen). This is part of the beauty fans have to look forward to — the way the practical visual effects company was able to mesh practical with visuals they created on their own.
The film is produced by James Cameron who showed his ability to bring these alternate forces to life when he produced Avatar. Both Johnson and Salazar said Cameron has a way of making the script come to life even before the film is created. The film is co-produced by Jon Landau and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Johnson explained how working with these filmmakers on his first-ever film was the “best learning experience ever.”
As for the message behind the movie? Salazar said she hopes people walk away from the film “relating to the fact that Alita feels like just an insignificant girl who goes on to discover something quite epic about herself, to believe that you have the power to do that.” For more on Alita: Battle Angel, watch the full interview above and tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.