Cameron has been developing Alita: Battle Angel for years, with plans to tackle the live-action project himself, but he has found himself too busy with the Avatar sequels to do the graphic novel justice and has decided to hand over control to Rodriguez.

In a statement, the Titanic director declares: "Robert and I have been looking for a film to do together for years, so I was pumped when he said he wanted to do Battle Angel.

"He's very collaborative and we're already like two kids building a go-kart, just having fun riffing creatively and technically. This project is near and dear to me, and there's nobody I trust more than Robert, with his technical virtuosity and rebel style, to take over the directing reins. We're looking forward to learning a lot from each other while we make a kick-a** epic."

Rodriguez adds: "Battle Angel is an incredibly rich and vibrant epic in the tradition of Jim Cameron's spectacular, character-driven films. Getting to work from Jim's terrific and visionary script while learning the cutting edge techniques he's pioneered is a master class in filmmaking. It's an honor to explore the world of Alita along with Jim and Jon (Landau, production partner), whose films have impacted me for decades."

The movie will be based on Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita comics, which focuses on a female cyborg which is rebuilt from scratch after a doctor finds her dumped in a garbage heap.

Cameron and Landau will produce the project for their Lightstorm Entertainment firm. They are also in pre-production on Cameron's next three Avatar films.