For years, a film adaptation of Yukito Kishiro‘s manga Battle Angel Alita was one of the primary films James Cameron was developing as a possible directorial project. At some point the film that became Avatar took over as his priority project. That continues to be his prime focus, at least as far as narrative projects are concerned, with plans developing to shoot two Avatar sequels in the coming years.

The last time we heard anything about Battle Angel was over a year ago, but Cameron still says it is “just a great, kick-ass story,” and that he is reluctant to give it up to any other director.

MTV asked Cameron about his plans for the film, and he expressed continuing interest, but also sees Avatar as more important.

[But] I see the good that the ‘Avatar’ franchise can do in terms of keeping a world audience cognizant of our relationship with nature, but doing it in an entertainment context. Ultimately, I think there’s more good to be done there than with ‘Battle Angel’.

Asked if he would let another director tackle Battle Angel, Cameron echoed past comments,

It would have to be pried out of my cold, dead fingers. But on the other hand I don’t want to take it to my grave, either.

In the past, the director summarized the story and his interest in it, expressing his life with his daughters as a prime reason for being interested in the title character, who questions the nature of her own existence.

Battle Angel, I think, is a science fiction movie that begs the question ‘What does it mean to be human?’ It takes place in a future world, a world that has cyborgs, but are you human if you have a mind, if you have a heart, if you have a soul? It’s a journey of a young girl who tries to discover herself and what she learns upon that journey… I just love the character. Maybe it’s from having daughters. I have three daughters, and thinking about what it’s like, the main character is this little girl that everybody kind of ignores. She’s got such a heroic heart on the inside, I’ve always loved that character.

Here’s the video interview, from MTV:

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