Slumdog's Dev Patel Joins Shyamalan's The Last Airbender
by Alex Billington
February 1, 2009
We're not that excited for M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, but that's because we're not fans of the Nickelodeon show. However, this news may kick things up a notch. Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel, who picked up the Ensemble prize at the SAG Awards, will replace Jesse McCartney as the evil prince Zuko. "Jesse had tour dates that conflicted with a boot camp I always hold on my films, and where the actors here have to train for martial arts," Shyamalan said. Patel was "already one of the guys I was interested in. Then I saw Slumdog Millionaire, and the kid just grew in my eyes." You and me both!
Besides Patel, none of the other actors have changed from the original announcement. Noah Ringer, a 12-year-old first-time actor from Texas, will take on the lead role as Aang. Twilight star Jackson Rathbone will play Aang's friend Sokka, while Nicola Peltz will star as his sister Katara. Jessica Jade Andres will play the Earth Kingdom's rep named Suki. Shyamalan has found a very young cast for his film. Production is slated to begin in mid-March in Greenland, which seems like quite the odd place to shoot. Shyamalan is still planning to develop a trilogy of Airbender films, with this first one hitting theaters on July 2nd, 2010.
Given I've only ever seen Patel in one film, it's hard to truly judge whether his presence can add a lot to a project. But for some reason, I'm excited to see him involved in The Last Airbender, if only to add a bit more experience, and age, to the rather young and otherwise unimpressive cast so far. I doubt he will make (or break) the film, but I know I'm a bit more interested now that I know he's involved. Thoughts?