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?
Reader Feedback - 38 Comments
Oh God, his career is ruined before it even started. Tragedy.
Fuelbot on Feb 1, 2009
Thankfully his role isnt that much of a big issue here. The biggest issue I see with this is that M. Night Shyamalan is directing this. What twist will there be.....because even if there isnt one in the show you know he will make one.
Movieraider321 on Feb 1, 2009
The twist? the twist is the cast......
Bob on Feb 1, 2009
omg, a hindu as zuko
supes on Feb 2, 2009
Oh FUCK OFF, Slumdog. Honestly.
Merc on Feb 2, 2009
@3 damn right...but dev's presence is a little bit of a booster
fanboy d on Feb 2, 2009
According to Wiki, Patel has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and won a bronze medal in 2004 World Championship in Dublin. So you he can kick some ass, which means less Martial Art training needed. Hope Shyamalan doesn't ruin his young career.
Chongster on Feb 2, 2009
Thank God, an actual actor playing Zuko. Maybe there's hop after all.
Ironmonging on Feb 2, 2009
I'm a pretty big fan of "The Last Airbender", but this is ridiculous... While brainstorming one night, Shyamalan has an epiphony. "You know, I'm going to get rid of the white kid and get an Indian kid to play a Chinese kid!! I'm brilliant!"
L on Feb 2, 2009
I dunno what's going on. Did he pick the kid because Slumdog did so well? I think M Night has mental health problems, or even worse ego issues. I want this film to be good but I doubt it will be. Shame. I'll wait to see a trailer before I fully dismiss it. Doesn't matter how good the cast is, if the directors being an idiot, the films going to be shit.
Crapola on Feb 2, 2009
This is better than McCarteny and quite frankly I think this has some potential... PS You don't like the show? Your one of the few I've heard of...
????? on Feb 2, 2009
I love the show, watched every single episode. Some of the scenes were incredible for an animted tv show, but more importantly the story, characters and the lore kept me coming back. I still think ego and madness could ruin it, but I just watch so stuff so what do I know...
Crapola on Feb 2, 2009
it sounds like a really great idea to me. (ps, the show is amazing and I'm a 23 year old college grad) The thing that worries me most about it is actually the fact that M. Night is directing it. He's used the same formula in ALL of his movies. I'll be interested to see how he breaks out of that to make an epic 3 part trilogy that's geared more towards kids and adults alike. (pps, watch the last season if you're not a fan, it's one of the most mature kids shows I've ever seen)
rocker on Feb 2, 2009
Fuckin sweet! That's the best news I've gotten all week!
Clamson on Feb 2, 2009
Not impressed with the kid at all.
Tim "Cloverfield" on Feb 2, 2009
#1 Maybe, hope Shyamalans don't F*** up Patel's career.
Fisherr on Feb 2, 2009
The problem is M. Knight Shamalama-ding-dong is directing. Hope Nickelodeon comes to there senses before it's too late. Chris Columbus available?
l.21 on Feb 2, 2009
yall are idiots... the movie is for kids mainly
kindbuddy on Feb 2, 2009
What we really need, Alex, is an Avatar trailer . . . and no, not for this Avatar. The _other_ one. This is one of the movies I can see renting and enjoying with low expectations, though.
Timothy on Feb 2, 2009
i might actually see this because Dev Patel is in it. Slumdog was the best film of the year. I still have my doubts about this being anything as good as the series. @13, it is infact one of the most mature (and at the same time randomly immature) kids shows ever. its one of the few good shows Nickelodeon has put out in the last ten years (and kept, unlike Invader Zim)
dave13 on Feb 2, 2009
Shamalan needs to stay out of the Kid friendly movie business and keep directing wacked out movies like Signs or any of the other films he's already done. That's his thing not kid movies! My Daughter has been waiting for years for this already and is totally upset about his involvement. And frankly so Am I! I am however fairily happy with the fact that Jesse McCartney is out. It makes me feel much better about the credibility of this flick for kids. Jesse needs to just stay in Music and not in movies. Dev Patel was a great move I think.
yaten24 on Feb 2, 2009
Ryan on Feb 2, 2009
yo i hope we don't get cheap cgi like dragon ball.
darrin on Feb 2, 2009
Another mindless comment from kindbuddy.
feohatestheworld on Feb 2, 2009
fuck yeah. so happy Airbender is my first "childhood" memmories being adapted to screen and I want it to succeed. Although the cast foreshadows a dismal future at least I know Dev Patel should be able to hold his own. He dealt with more complex anxieties in Slumdog. Dev Patel is such a HUGE improvement over Aaron Carter. I don't know I think Night is a competent director my worry is that he'll fuck over the story or dialouge. Also I hope Night dosen't badly influence the (inexperienced) actors he has, when I saw the Happening and talked to my uncle (a Mark Wahlberg fan) he thought that Night did some weird dipshitty thing and told them to act that aloof and stupid the whole movie. Yeah so far the ominous traits of this project are the downhill Shyamalan and untested actors. I hope that Nick knew what they were doing getting Shyamalan and that the Avatar people are involved because they always seemed to have an intimate and positive relationship with their show. I'm suprised you guys aren't happy they changed the actor from a white american to an Indian actor... right continent at least...
Silver on Feb 2, 2009
lol my bad. I was thinking Aaron Carter for some reason. I meant Jesse McCartney. lol did you see this little bit of Shyamalan-douchery "the kid just grew in my eyes". lol, he did it for you Shyamy.
Silver on Feb 2, 2009
Deuce! What the hell! I think Dev would be more suited for Sokka, especially since ZUKO IS PRACTICALLY CHINESE! But I like Dev, he's got the chops to play the tormented Prince Zuko, I just find it hard to imagine since the cartoon image is practically plastered in my mind and as 4 said, an Indian playing Zuko will take some getting use to. Now if only they'd recast the rest XD
Hyacinth on Feb 2, 2009
I honestly don't know why they don't go with Dante Basco for Zuko, he was the voice of Zuko, he was Rufio in Hook. He seems to be an obvious choice. But what do you expect from M. Night? It sucks that he is directing this, I love Avatar, hope the special effects make up for it.
sokka on Feb 3, 2009
I just came back from the 'casting call' this morn for the film, here is Philadelphia! Very Excited about it! Local shooting begins next month!
Suzanah1 on Feb 7, 2009
fuck slumdog i have seen it and it is shit
hippyhoward on Feb 10, 2009
Im a BIG Avatar FAN! but why that kid BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Chester on Apr 9, 2009
damn this sucks zuko is supose to be a hot character _ if the director wanted unknown actors grab some damn models
jess on Apr 17, 2009
dev patel or mccartney? i'll take it! seriously, actual race is not so much an issue as acting ability, talent, and character, and i don't think mccartney has any of these that fit with avatar. you can't judge patel on his race, what makes or breaks this is whether he can portray zuko correctly. i am much more at ease with patel in the role. and to those who say he's ugly and prefer mccartney? they're in it for the fanservice, don't listen to them. seriously, patel may not be the first person i would cast (and i do think slumdog has something to do with it despite what shyamalan says), he's still miles above casting a teenybopper like jesse. shyamalan i'm not so worried about. for one, he's a huge fan and he's working closely with the creators of avatar. thus, you know he's not going to butcher these storylines, he's going to remain faithful to the show. if you've seen any of the pictures taking during shooting, you know he's taking this VERY seriously, and from the looks of it, he's aiming this at adults too. one of the sets was an air temple ruin littered with skeletons. at the same time, it's very likely that this will be a family movie seeing as it originated from a cartoon, and shyamalan got into it because of his daughter. aside from mccartney, i don't really have many problems for the cast. yes, rathbone and peltz are some of the most pale people i've seen, but i can see why they and patel have been cast. how they look can be changed drastically with today's prosthetics, makeup etc... it's more important that they cast them for acting ability, martial arts talent, and most importantly, how they SOUND in relationship to the original voice actors. when seen in this light, they're casting choices make more sense.
Peregrine on May 18, 2009
OH PLEASE. Please. There is so much immaturity on this board it's disgraceful. Dev Patel is not Chinese (more aptly, Asian...I don't know where people are getting Chinese from, and for the sake of argument I'm not counting India). So what? And for those of you who are worried about him not being hot enough...how sad. You do remember this is an adaptation of a kids show, right? Maybe he's hot in your crazed fantasy world, but I'm sure that's not what Mike and Bryan had in mind. Dev Patel is a talented kid, and I think that he might do a really great job with this role. Do I think he'll do a better job than Jesse McCartney? Yes. Do I even like Jesse McCartney? Yes. I'm not biased; there's just the simple fact that he's not an actual actor, Summerland and voice acting aside. As for Dev ruining his career, I wouldn't be so quick to judge. Apparently Shyamalan is putting a lot of heart into this, project, so maybe give it a chance to get to teaser-trailer stage before having a massive conniption. My only peeve is that he probably would have made a better Sokka...but hey, let's wait and see.
Really on May 27, 2009
got to admit dev patel aint that good of an actor and reckon they should have got a chinese or japanese person to play the role as the cartoon is meant to be like that, look at dragonball z ruined to the limit. an up and coming actor from one of those countries would do, his accent would probalby ruin it
kaiz on Jul 4, 2009
I dont like this at all, I mean come on!!!! Seriously this cant be, I dont know him at all but he just doesnt cut it as the character, Zuko had so much presence and had a dark side that only a few people could ever pull off. This will in my mind play a big part of the movie and will be a major talking point in what seems a very unusual casting selection.
Max.W on Jul 8, 2009
I agree with Max. W. Zuko's conflicting personality is what made the series great, you could almost say he was the main character. I mean I really liked Dev in Slumdog, but for this role I wish they had picked someone a little scarier. I'm sure he wants to extend himself as an actor having just done a movie so melodramatic, but this is Zuko we're talking about!!!! No other character goes through as intense a transformation as Zuko. I really doubt Dev's going to pull it off.
sokka on Jul 8, 2009
I knew this movie was doomed when I heard M. Night Shyamalan was in charge.
Dallas on Aug 8, 2009
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