ByRuss Fischer, writer at
Russ Fischer

Mahershala Ali has been the subject of conversation in the last few months for his dramatic work in films like Hidden Figures and Moonlight, for which he just won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. But Ali also has taken part in his fair share of genre roles as well. Last year's Luke Cage is the most recent, and one of his next big projects will be a film anime and sci-fi fans have anticipated for over a decade.

The actor is in Alita: Battle Angel, directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, with Rosa Salazar starring as the title character — a female cyborg who is discovered in a city-sized resource processing facility called the Scrapyard. Alita becomes a bounty hunter of sorts, and runs across a villain played by Ali.

Alita, the 'Battle Angel' [Credit: Shueisha]
Alita, the 'Battle Angel' [Credit: Shueisha]

Our reporter Jase Peeples was in the press room at the Oscars, where Ali spoke briefly about Alita: Battle Angel after his win for Moonlight, and the actor dropped an interesting bit of new info.

Asked about his upcoming projects, Ali mentioned Alita, saying:

"I’m really excited about that. I actually play two parts in that film. That was a blast. I literally wrapped that maybe two weeks ago."

Ali didn't go into detail about the two roles, and no follow-up questions asked him to explain more — the big moment was all about Moonlight, after all.

What we do know is that Ali was originally said to be playing "a man named Vector who runs and fixes matches in a gladiator-style combat game called Motorball." That's a bit of a tweak from the character as he appeared in the original manga — and further stories in manga and anime — but it's not a huge stretch.

Mahershala Ali in 'Luke Cage' [Credit: Netflix]
Mahershala Ali in 'Luke Cage' [Credit: Netflix]

The question is what Ali's second character will be, and on that front we have no real information. So, fans of the many different stories that spin off the core Battle Angel cycle should get to work speculating on possibilities.

Alita: Battle Angel is set to be released by 20th Century Fox on July 20, 2018. The film also features Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earle Haley, Michelle Rodriguez, Ed Skrein, Keean Johnson, and Lana Condor.

Besides motorball, what other things from Alita: Battle Angel do you want to see adapted in the upcoming film?


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