Filmy Sansaar : It sounds like you’re already prepping to one day direct a motion capture film.
Rosa Salazar : Yeah, I secretly am. I’m eager to learn and I feel like Robert and Jim respond to that. They want to be mentors. There are some people in this business that don’t and that’s perfectly fine. But Robert and Jim do. They are really generous with their wisdom.
Filmy Sansaar : How was working with Robert?
Rosa Salazar : It felt like making a run-and-gun independent film where everyone on the crew was like, “We’re making it with our hands” except it was a huge sci-fi epic, with a lot of moving parts. You have a normal-sized crew, and then you have WETA, all the visual effects crew, it’s just a huge school of people but Robert’s demeanor is so calm. He knows exactly what he’s shooting. Another thing is, he listens. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a set where that isn’t the case. But Robert listens, and he hears you. And for a Latin woman in the film business, it was, well, jaw-dropping. Because you don’t want to be difficult. I never felt like I was asking too much or getting in the way. Anytime I said, “Hey, Robert, if she says this, then wouldn’t it make more sense if this happens?’ I felt like I had a voice, which is great. And then, because you have a voice, you start to have responsibility for it. You’re like, “Oh. My words mean something. My words have weight. Now, let me be responsible.” He taught me so much. And it’s really nice to make a film with someone who just gets off on making films. Who is a film fan? He’s just the best.
Filmy Sansaar : Let’s talk a little about Alita, the character. Tell us in your own words who she is.
Rosa Salazar : Alita is… just a regular girl! In the same way that all of the mo-cap stuff kind of bleeds out when you’re in it, Alita is a regular girl who happens to be made of cybernetic parts and has an insane, traumatic history. Alita’s just like me. She has a whole palette of emotions. She’s insecure. She’s brave. She’s courageous. She’s strong. She’s curious and she’s defiant. She’s powerful and she’s weak. She has a real soul and I think that she bares it all the time. She doesn’t really hold anything back. She doesn’t suffer fools. She doesn’t pull punches. But she doesn’t actually know who she is. She’s learning everything for the first time. Now that she’s been reawakened.
Filmy Sansaar : And not only does she not know who she is, but she doesn’t know where she is.
Rosa Salazar : Yeah. She’s very open and vulnerable and wakes up in Iron City, it’s a post-apocalyptic trash heap. But, for those of us in the real world, if we’re not careful, we could be there soon, you know? So, she wakes up and she doesn’t know what the world is. She doesn’t see it as nasty or horrible or violent at first. She’s just wide-eyed, literally, and ready to learn. And what she soon finds out is that there are menacing forces in this world. There are evil people. There are cruel people. There are people who are opportunistic, who are totally fine screwing you over and ruining your life in order to get what they need to survive. It’s like the Gold Rush – everyone’s just clawing for what’s theirs and Alita smack up against that. Really, it hurts her. Because she’s a soft person until these menacing forces start to trigger her memories. At first, she doesn’t know anything about who she used to be. She’s new. But she knows there’s something there. So, when the world starts to push on her and fight her, she starts to fight back, and that’s when we find out that she’s someone really extraordinary. Someone with insane capabilities. Someone with a warrior spirit and warrior training. And the more she triggers her memories, the more she starts to find out who she really is. And to me, that is a relatable story of someone going through the pitfalls of life, the trials, and tribulations, and ending up on the other side knowing who they are, knowing what they’ll stand for, knowing what’s right or wrong. We see someone choosing. What they believe in, what they will and won’t do. She starts to remember her code of who she was.
Filmy Sansaar : So, it’s really about a girl working out who she is and her place in the world.
Rosa Salazar : Yeah, that’s it. Her place in the world, but also how she can help. Because there’s a moment in the movie where, spoiler alert, she’s fine to just be there. She’s thinking, ‘I could live here. I could take it.’ She’s totally fine to settle. But who she is, I think, very compelling because, ultimately, she doesn’t settle. Integrity is often very inconvenient.
Saajan Verma “Sanjay” is a Founder of FilmySansaar.com. He has worked for many producers and directors in Indian Film Industry. He is a good Hindi writer and his interest towards film industry has leaded to startFilmySansaar.com. Sanjay is a cool guy from small town landed at Mumbai and working in various fields in Bollywood. He has good knowledge in all the sections on film making, graphic designing and media production.
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