Keean Johnson, best known for playing Colt Wheeler on Nashville, has joined the cast of James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez's feature film adaptation of Alita: Battle Angel and will play the love interest of Alita (who will be played by Rosa Salazar).
Johnson's character is named Hugo and is described as "a young man who teaches Alita how to play a gladiator-style game called Motorball but who also has a secret side job stealing robot parts."
"The studio did at least two rounds of testing for the part, all of them taking place in Rodriguez's studio facility in Austin," The Hollywood Reporter reports. "Among those who tested were Tut star Avan Jogia, Douglas Booth (Jupiter Ascending), Jack Lowden (who will be seen in Christopher Nolan's upcoming war drama Dunkirk), and Noah Silver, one of the stars of TVs Tyrant."
In the manga series, which takes place in a futuristic dystopian world, cybermedic expert Daisuke Ido comes across the intact head and chest of a female cyborg while sifting through the local dump. He's able to revive her, but she has lost most of her memories. Since she doesn't even remember her name, Ido dubs her Alita after his deceased cat. One of the things Alita does recall is the legendary martial art: Panzer Kunst. She uses that skill to become a bounty hunter who tracks criminals. Along the way, she uncovers the dark secrets of her past.
The cast also includes Christoph Waltz, Jackie Earl Haley and Ed Skrein.
Alita: Battle Angel is being distributed by 20th Century Fox. Fox is aiming to start production on Alita: Battle Angel in October 2016. Alita: Battle Angel has a scheduled release date of July 20, 2018.