Legendary rock band The Killers once asked the question: “Are we human? Or are we dancer?” “Alita: Battle Angel” asks: Are we human or robot? The answer is … both?!? Deco’s Chris Van Vliet has spent a lot of time on this movie and has the story.
About 15 years ago, James Cameron had the idea of turning a Japanese graphic novel called “Alita” into a movie. He was all in on the project, but then got sidetracked with a little movie called “Avatar.” Maybe you’ve heard of it? So with no time to work on “Alita,” he turned it over to Director Robert Rodriguez, and this weekend, get ready for an action-packed visual feast.
Rosa Salazar (as Alita): “It’s the loneliest feeling not knowing who you are.”
Christoph Waltz (as Dr. Dyson Ido): “In time, you’ll remember.”
Alita doesn’t exactly know who she is because she was found in a scrapyard by Dr. Dyson Ido, played by Christoph Waltz. He pieces her back together as a part human, part robot.
Chris Van Vliet: “Would you say that your character’s relationship with Alita is a father-daughter relationship? Or more like an inventor and their creation?”
Christoph Waltz: “Their invention? It needs to be a mix.”
We should point out that this movie takes place a few hundred years in the future where cyborgs are the norm, but Alita, played by Rosa Salazar, is no ordinary cyborg. Nope. She can do this.
Christoph Waltz (as Dr. Dyson Ido): “My God”
Chris Van Vliet: “How athletic were you before you took on this role?”
Rosa Salazar: “I was active. I rock climb. I was a bike messenger for years, but nothing could have prepared me for that journey.”
If you’re saying Alita’s eyes look larger than normal, you’re right. It’s CGI, and the movie was shot using the same performance capture techniques they used to make “Avatar.” But even though this was a big-budget movie, Director Robert Rodriguez told me he didn’t shoot it any differently.
Robert Rodriguez: “A big-budget movie like this, I like shooting fast because I can see the value in it. The actors can come in and give a full performance in a very short amount of time, and it’s almost like they don’t think about it as much.”
Rosa Salazar (as Alita): “Does it bother you that I’m not completely human?”
Chris Van Vliet: “We see this line that Alita has in the film, ‘Does it bother you that I’m not completely human?’ Is she human? Is she a cyborg? Is she somewhere in between?”
Christoph Waltz: “That’s an interesting question overall, and it’s been asked for thousands of years. What is it that makes a human, a human? Is it the spirit? Is it emotion? Is it the soul?”
Character in “Alita”: “I’m with her.”
“Alita: Battle Angel” is in theaters on Valentine’s Day.
And also on Valentine’s Day, you’ll get to see this! I was invited to fly to Wellington, New Zealand to find out how they made “Alita: Battle Angel.” And what better way to find out than by actually doing it! This is Robert Rodriguez directing me in a performance capture scene from “Alita.”
You’ll see it all on Keeping Up with Chris, Thursday night on Deco Drive.
I’ve been able to do a lot of very cool things in this job, but flying to New Zealand, doing performance capture and being directed by Robert Rodriguez? Just one of those things would be incredible. The fact that I got to do all three? Wow!
Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.