Alita’s world seems to be getting bigger by the week. This time, though, it’s Vector’s time to shine!

Yesterday, entertainment publication The Hollywood Reporter, er… reported that Mahershala Ali is in talks to join the cast of James Cameron’s Alita: Battle Angel movie. According to the publication, Ali is currently angling for a role as “one of the movie’s villains, a man named Vector who runs and fixes matches in a gladiator-style combat game called Motorball.”

Mahershala Ali has been active in the film industry since 2001. He made his début as Dr. Trey Sanders in Crossing Jordan, a role he held for 19 episodes. In 2008, Ali played Tizzy Weathers in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The role earned him a nomination for Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. In 2014, he was cast as Boggs in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

In 2013, Ali was cast as Remy Danton in House of Cards. To date, he’s been featured in 33 episodes, and nominated for both the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. MOst recently, the actor was cast as Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes in Luke Cage.

Previously, we reported that five actors either signed on, or are in talks to perform in the film:

  • Alita: Rosa Salazar (Confirmed)
  • Lead Male (Unnamed): Keean Johnson (Confirmed)
  • Doctor Dyson Ito: Christoph Waltz (In Talks)
  • Zapan: Ed Skrein (Confirmed)

In addition, Jackie Earl Haley will play “a monstrous cyborg in a villain role that will call for plenty of CG and greenscreen.”

battle-angel-alita-volume-2-cover-20151014Alita: Battle Angel will hit theaters on July 20, 2018. Filming begins in October.

Collider describes the movie as:

Based on the manga series by Yukito Kishiro, Battle Angel takes place in the 26th century and tells the story of an amnesiac female cyborg who is rescued from a scrapyard by a doctor, rebuilt with no memory of her previous life excepting her kickass martial arts skills, and becomes a bounty hunter tracking down vicious criminals. Salazar has a pretty impressive resume for an up-and-coming actress, especially for only having been on the scene for the last five years, and after a notable turns in Insurgent, The Scorch Trials, and the wonderful FX comedy Man Seeking Woman she’s become a name to watch. Now, she’s landed what could be her breakout role.

Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Sin City) was hand-picked by Cameron to direct the project, which features both James Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment partner Jon Landau as producers. According to Collider, Rodriguez is working from Cameron’s original script, though he’s likely to “punch it up with his own style.” Cameron commented on the collaboration:

Robert and I have been looking for a film to do together for years, so I was pumped when he said he wanted to do Battle Angel,” stated Cameron. “He’s very collaborative and we’re already like two kids building a go-kart, just having fun riffing creatively and technically. This project is near and dear to me, and there’s nobody I trust more than Robert, with his technical virtuosity and rebel style, to take over the directing reins. We’re looking forward to learning a lot from each other while we make a kick-ass epic.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter (Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the tip!)