Ever since the first trailer for Alita: Battle Angel released, the title character's uncannily large eyes have sparked a lot of conversation among fans and critics alike. Now, we know exactly who was behind this particular creative decision: producer James Cameron.
"It was always Jim's intention to create a photo-realistic version of the manga eyes that we're so accustomed to seeing," director Robert Rodriguez told Empire. "We really wanted to honor 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!"
The story centers on a female cyborg discovered in a garbage heap by a scientist. With no memory of her previous life, except for her deadly martial-arts skills, she becomes a bounty hunter, tracking down criminals.
Cameron has attempted to get the adaptation off the ground for more than 15 years, saying in 2012 he hoped to turn to the project once he completed the long-promised sequels to Avatar. In 2015, Cameron brought Rodriguez (Sin City, From Dusk till Dawn) aboard as director.
Starring Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson, Alita: Battle Angel arrives in theaters July 20, 2018.