Do you recognize a voice in Alita: Battle Angel? You can’t exactly recognize a face and body in the movie, because thanks to some CGI wizardry, this actress has been completely digitalized for a motion capture performance as a cyborg trying to make her way through Iron City in the future. But, if your ears are sharp, and you spent this past holiday season watching some of Netflix’s original movies, Alita's star actress Rosa Salazar might seem familiar because she actually starred in Netflix's Bird Box.
First off, yes, Salazar’s role as Alita is all CGI, but that’s her voice, facial expressions, and body movements under all of that digital magic. Though the role is computer generated, that’s a real actress playing the part (props to Salazar for wearing all the motion capture equipment to bring Alita to life, by the way). While Alita does resemble Salazar, it’s safe to say that Alita does not look anything like Salazar’s character in Bird Box, a police trainee named Lucy. This is her being extremely terrified in the hit movie:
If you need a quick Bird Box refresher, or you weren't one of the 40 million people to watch it over the holiday season, Lucy is one of the survivors cooped up in the house with Sandra Bullock and Co. In one memorable (and frightening!) scene, Lucy and the others go to the grocery store — but remember, you’ve got to keep your eyes covered so the monsters don’t drive you insane enough to kill yourself, so they go to the grocery store with the car windows blocked out and navigate there using GPS. Once inside, they’re attacked, lose one member of their group, and head home as quickly as possible.
Later, Lucy and another housemate, Felix (played by Machine Gun Kelly) steal the car and leave together in a scene that happens offscreen. That’s a shame, because it feels like Lucy’s story never gets a proper ending since she just disappears one day (it’s also a total jerk move — sorry Lucy — because now everyone else is stranded in the house without any transportation). Salazar has joked that Lucy and Felix survived, and they’ve got an idea for a Bird Box sequel, so who knows if we’ll ever see them again.
Salazar has voiced that many scenes of Lucy in Bird Box were ultimately cut, so the character doesn’t have the backstory she was hoping for. Thankfully, Alita has a ton of backstory and character development to make up for anything trimmed down in Bird Box (even though at the beginning of the movie Alita can’t remember anything). She’s a cyborg who has forgotten her entire past (some 300 years or so), and spends the movie making new friends, enemies, and memories as flashes of what she once was slowly come back to her.
And thankfully, at no point during Alita does the heroine tie a blindfold around her head and try to perform everyday tasks without looking at them, a la the Bird Box Challenge. Thankfully, 300 years in the future that challenge has finally disappeared.