The Last Airbender Update: Shyamalan Currently Editing

Published 6 years ago by , Updated October 28th, 2009 at 12:27 am,

the last airbender header The Last Airbender Update: Shyamalan Currently Editing

The last time we posted about M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming cartoon-to-movie adaptation, The Last Airbender, producer Frank Marshall said that, “all is well in post [production]“ and that we would see a (full) trailer around Christmas. But according to one of the film’s stars, Aasif Mandvi, the Sixth Sense director is most likely, “pulling his hair out in the editing room.”

Of course, Andvi isn’t Shyamalan, so I’m sure it’s just his best guesstimate – plus, the actor says stressing out in the editing phase is part of the usual process. However, I imagine Andvi’s not that far off, since The Last Airbender is by far the biggest project Shyamalan has ever done as a director who is accustomed to smaller, more intimate films where subtle character interaction prevails over special effects and action (for example: one of the only fight scenes Shyamalan has ever shot up until this point was towards the end of Unbreakable).

Andvi went on to talk to MTV about the visuals and action that will be in The Last Airbender“There’s a lot of martial arts, there’s a lot of really cool special effects and CGI and action.” But he was quite reserved with the details, saying that, “it’s going to look really cool, and I know what it’s going to look like and I’m not telling you!” Oh, c’mon, pretty please! No? Oh well…

However, Andvi did go on to talk about another aspect of the film – working with Slumdog Millionaire star, Dev Patel. Here’s what he had to say – “He’s a black belt… That kid knows his martial arts, so they needed to help me. I was the old guy on set who was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here.’ He taught me how to cheat at ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire… That’s really all he taught me.”

If you want, you can head over to MTV Splash Page to watch the video of Andvi talking about The Last Airbender.

In case, like me, you’re not familiar with the story of The Last Airbender (the original cartoon is called Avatar: The Last Airbender, but the name had to be changed when James Cameron and his ideas came along…), here’s the general lowdown thanks to MTV Splash Page:

“In the fantastical world of “Airbender,” there are four tribes-Air, Water, Earth and Fire-each of which can control one of the four elements. The Fire folks have been waging an incessant war against the other nations, when a young child named Aang (12-year-old newcomer Noah Ringer) discovers he’s the only person on the planet who has the ability to manipulate all four elements and, perhaps, bring lasting peace to the land.”

Since I’m not familiar with the original cartoon series, I can’t speak about whether or not it works in that context, nor if the above premise for the movie follows the series to the letter (Shyamalan has said in the past that he planned to stay true to the fans and the source material). But the premise to me sounds like it has great potential as a fantasy-action film, with my anticipation only heightened by the first teaser trailer that was released (I wasn’t expecting it to impress me but it REALLY did).

However, the thing I’m most interested in about this project is the fact that M. Night Shyamalan has written and directed it. As I said, he’s used to smaller films that are certainly not as fantastical in nature as The Last Airbender. I’ll be interested to see if the genre is a strength for Shyamalan, and if he’ll redeem himself after the last three or four disappointing (to say the least) cinematic outings. The elements are all there (get it?) and I hope Shyamalan gets the most out of them.

Are you a fan of the original Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series, and if so does it seem like they’re sticking to the story? And if you’re not a fan originally, do you like the sound of the film?

The Last Airbender is scheduled to hit theaters on July 2nd in the U.S., and on August 13th in the UK, both in 2010.

Source: MTV Splash Page

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46 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. I see this movie as a major disappointment. The casting is terrible and unfair. It’s a cartoon, “so who cares”, but it’s a cartoon based on not only Asian characters but Asian cultures. Anyone should have the opportunity to play a role in the movie, yet in this movie the casting call was specifically for whites. That is a fact. That is also unfair to the many Asian actors who rarely make it into American movies. Now Asians are not even considered in a movie about Asians…truly shameful. Especially coming from an Asian director.

    To the person who claimed to be black, What if Roots was done in blackface- (white actors with black make-up)? Is that not racist, would you then say it’s ok, because it’s only a movie…lighten up. I hope not black man, I and every other black person would not allow racism to become acceptable.

    Truly, this is for Asians to step up and not allow themselves to be discriminated against. I understand some Asians don’t want to be continuosly typecasted as martial artists with a sacred culture, but this discriminatiion and any other form should not be overlooked.

    I will not see this movie because of it’s insensitive nature. I hope changes are made to make this movie more accurate. Everyone has the right to make their own choice on watching the movie or not, but if you really want to see the true strory, watch the cartoon. If you only watch the movie, then I hope it was worth your 15 bucks, but understand your money is contributing to an ongoing form of discrimination.

  2. There’s no relevance to “black face” – (white actors with black make-up) nor discrimination opposed to white actors portraying characters of Asian background. They are not doing anything physically to the actors to make them insult. (i.e. slant eyes, yellow skin) So is it unjust for the vice-versa? Is it just as wrong for an Asian actor to play a character of a Caucasian background? Its not discrimination, its called “bad-casting” Discrimination would be not letting the Asian actors audition for the film, that would be discrimination. I myself am Filipino-American, and find no discrimination in this film. If there is anyone to blame for the bad-casting, write a complaint to the Casting Director. I highly doubt that will make any difference because they’re already in post-production stage, and they will not waste money re-shooting the film. I would agree that they couldve gone along with actors that best suited the portraying characters but casting directors know their job, and what they look for into acting itself. Who knows, they possibly didn’t find one good Asian actor to portray the role. I know there must be plenty of good Asian actors but how many of them do you know of in America who speak our language? You understand the movie is American, and is intended for our general audience. So its good marketing if you relate the characters and actors to the general audience. I know that might sound racist, but its not. Its good marketing, just as if we were in Asia, we wouldnt see many white actors portraying Asian characters because you want the general audience to relate to the characters. Its hard for America because we’re just a broad country full of many cultures, BUT the overall majority race would be that of Caucasian/White European decent. Trust me on the whole marketing, they do this in the pre-production stage of the film-making process. There’s a lot of money put into this film, Nickelodeon movies, and Paramount pictures would not risk and invest money into a flopping film. Its all marketing, no discrimination. It’s all about who, what, when, where, how much they can sell the film, that’s all it is and good idea for a film.

  3. I think that Pat has closed the racial argument. I agree with what Pat is saying and I hope we can stop talking about this. as Aang said “Everything is connected” we are all the same people.

  4. I’ve been a fan of Avatar since episode 1, I can’t say I’m EXTREMELY excited because to adapt a cartoon has its ups & downs, we can’t ALL expect the movie to have the same actions & animation from the original. A lot of fans are judging the movie BEFORE its out, come on guys, lets be patient & wait til its out in theaters.

    & as for the “racist” casting calls, I don’t mind the actors being white, black, asian, hispanic, or w.e so long as they can act & do a good job & DELIVER their characters, you guys wouldn’t like stiff actors now would you??
    *Either way I second wat Pat said =]

  5. Ok looking back at these above comments and that uncalled for the attack at Pat, In my defense just because I’m Filipino AMERICAN, and the emphasis doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge my ethnic background nor wanting to be “American”. What the hell is American anyways, Is it a culture? Lifestlye? Or simple i.d. of our nationality? So you’re telling me African-Americans, European-Americans, or Any “Ethnicity”-American all are trying to do everything in their will to be accepted by the Whites? b*******, When he stated he’s Filipino-American that tie’s no way into degrading Filipinos trying to be apart of American lifestyle. There’s a difference between Nationality and Ethnicitiy. He simply stated his Nationality, but his ethnicity is Filipino. I’m a full-blooded Filipino, American born and saw no racism. You obviously are apart of the Filipino crowd who feel suppressed and insecure by the American values. I’m not saying or distinguishing neither are better or who’s degrading either’s ideals. If anything, stating his nationality is irrelevant to the true thought behind filmmaking. But before you antagonize someone who’s Filipino-American. Here’s something a little about me. I lived in the Philippines for 5 years and was schooled there. I was raised and brought up with Filipino customs. I grew up into Filipino Martial Arts of Eskrima and trained at Doce Pares in Cebu. My father was in the military and was stationed in Asia, but opted for me to live in the Philippines with family. I speak fluent English, Tagalog, Bisaya/Cebuano. I moved back to California, and went to Film School. I met Dante Basco (Zuko) (For those of you who don’t know Dante personally, he’s Filipino-American) during an earlier film a couple years back (The Debut). I left LA Film School and worked a team on a couple of projects. And I now work for Paramount Pictures. And all what Pat said about the process of the pre-production stage is correct. So before you slant at someone you don’t know, be careful for what you say. Like he said, this is an American movie, and the cartoon is based on Asian cultures portrayed through an American film. If you have a problem with the film, then don’t watch it. And FYI. There are Asian actors in the film and some of the casting directors are Asian, so how could there be any racism. There were no separate lines during casting calls distinguishing ethnicity nor were any person denied because of their race. The criteria for the film had to be some Martial Art background and majority Acting background. Yes, they couldve had actors that “looked” the job but they did not lack the skill to portray the character. When you cast characters, you look into the actors personality and see if it fits into character beyond the acting skills. And these actors just didn’t get the role just because. So just before you slander the actors in this film or someone simply trying to educate people about the process that the film undergoes. Think twice before you speak, because you’ll look ignorant amongst the rest of us.

  6. I swear it’s like Black and Filipino actually did some research and read up on his material.

    1. “It’s marketing not racism.”
    Because the two things can’t possibly exist in the same breath. Stop kidding yourself that racism doesn’t exist in America. Especially in places like Hollywood.

    2. “It’s not Racism it’s Bad Casting.”
    The Casting was horrible. But, more to the point they had race specific casting calls. ‘CAUCASIAN and other ethnicities’, ‘Asian, African, and other ethnic for background characters’. I mean really? That is looking for ‘the best cast’ My rear end.

    3. “They couldn’t find 4-7 Asian actors”
    No I suppose it would be hard to find 4-7 Asian actors let alone 1 qualified actor when you put out a casting call calling preferring white actors then taking a canidate based not on his ability to act {“We’ll just send him to a few acting classes”}, Then hand delivering the roles to 3 other white actors 1 of which who is more or less completely unknown, 1 Disney channel reject, and only 1 up and coming actor. Then once the controversy came along they recast the disney channel reject in favor of Dev Patel. (An Indian Actor, still the wrong race, as the villain adding a whole new dichotomy. White kids saving the world from the evil darkies? And, I don’t care how you try to spin it Zuko is a villain who only redeems himself in the final reel. Darth Vader did the same deal but he’s not an anti hero he’s the freaking villain.)

    So if you want to see the film then do so. But, don’t be ignorant about what you’re doing. This film propagates the long running internationalized racism that has been ingrained in Hollywood for years.

    And, I bet you money that there would be an uproar if Lord of the Rings were redone with a Black, Mexican, or Asian Cast.

  7. Hey guys, can we dial it back a little bit?



  8. Looks like I struck a nerve in calling out Asians for selling out. I’m not in the crowd with insecure filipino’s, I’m black and filipino. I’ve seen more acts of racism in my lifetime for being one, the other, and both. I’ve been discriminated by blacks, filipino’s and of course whites. I know racism because I have felt and experienced it. Yay you’re from the Philippines, ok, we want to give family backgrounds. Well my Filipino side fled the Philippines during the Bataan death march so we’ve been a part of this American way for a while. yay. But all that doesn’t matter here on this cartoon board.”

    - Whoopity-doo man, we all have family that was in the Philippines during WWII, and it was horrible. My grandpa on my dads side was a little kid during the insertion , and his family was marching too. His older brother was beheaded infront of him, how about that? I also too had family during the Japanese insertion, and my grandpa on my moms side was making bombs for PI during that time. And I do face racial attacks myself. So don’t try to educate me with racism and your personal experiences. And you’re probably going to mention your african-american side and compare it to mine, Racism is racism man, wherever you’re from.

    “What I first wrote was that Asians need to stand up against this type of discrimination in movies. Why don’t you feel the urge to stand up against this movie. You can tell me how proud you are to be filipino, but you won’t fight against a common injustice in movies focusing on Asian stories and characters?”

    - See the difference in racism and discrimination acts, is that your assumption of this casting has to do with racial discrimation. And thats what ticked me off. You cant assume the people in charge of this film are racist and make them look bad just because of a coincidence and internal hate we have towards racism. Who knows, im not saying its racism or not racism. Im not biased towards any side. I just wont call out anything for being racist and maybe assume wrong and look like an idiot. I would only stand up for something clear and utterly wrong when I know it is. You are just butt hurt cause you dont see what you wanna see in this film.

    “Yeah, I know it’s all about money and these people can make whatever movie they want and how they want. But you’re still wrong when you don’t see the racism. I don’t have Racism mixed up, I see it when I see it. In this case it’s known as institutional racism
    per wikipedia: Institutional racism is the differential access to the goods, services, and opportunities of society. When the differential access becomes integral to institutions, it becomes common practice, making it difficult to rectify. Eventually, this racism dominates public bodies, private corporations, and public and private universities, and is reinforced by the actions of conformists and newcomers. Another difficulty in reducing institutionalized racism is that there is no sole, true identifiable perpetrator. When racism is built into the institution, it appears as the collective action of the population.”

    - Yes but in business and corporate world, racism has nothing to do with race but with what makes them money. They’ll market their product to whatever general crowd which will guarantee them money. So deal with it, there will be times when whites will be out casted, black will be out casted, asians, hispanics, etc will be out casted. Point is, everyone will once be out casted in marketing world. But you cant reference this one movie just to say its “pure racism”. Cause its not, were all entitled to our own opinion and every little one of us racist inside but its not to the means where theres an unequality of opportunity. In the film industry, they’ll cast what they see on camera. They’re the directors, you’re not. Deal with it. Its not gonna change anything you arguing that you dont see what you want. You aren’t apart of the film itself, its ok to have your opinion but it’ll get no where fast. If you dont want to watch the film and support it, then don’t watch it. Seriously, if you standby by your word and dont support how they chose to go with this film, then dont spend a dime to watch this film. You probably will anyway, making you a hypocrit. If not, kudos to you man. Its simple as that. And remember me, when you do watch this film for antagonizing how it went. Im not saying itll be good, in-fact thats what it has been about in this forum. Just about the film aside from personal experiences. My opinion still stands toward the film, but youre bringing your personal experiences in here to void the reality of the film. So just stick to the film or gtfo.

    “Watch a foreign movie? Ok I just watched Hero it looked great to bad Avatar chose to ignore it’s asian roots and decided it was best to relate to marketing.”

    - Look at my above comments, that how I saw and interpretated this movie to be. So i’m not racist. I’m just a filmmaker, seeing through the eyes of a filmmaker. I admitted in the earlier comments they could’ve chose better actors. I’m just explaining how the film industry, and corporate world see this. Theres racism in the marketing world, but its not bias towards any side or race. Just the side where money can be made. And since we do live in America, our opinion or views towards racial profiling and assumptions are all biased towards personal experiences.

  9. I see Pat is more MLK Jr. and black and filpino is more Malcolm X haha. Its true, Pats more calm and peaceful about it and Malcom X is all radical hatred towards racism

  10. Come on guys, lets take it back to focus on the film. black and filipino needs to calm it down a little, and focus more on the film. He’s bringing outsources irrelevant to film onto a general broad situation of racism. Yes we all can agree, there was bad casting. PERIOD. Lets leave it at that, I agree with Pat we can all have our opinion but it wont matter cause we’re not apart of the film or any major heads controlling the funding. It is for what is now. We can either watch it or not. If you dont support it and what you interpret your opinon for what it stands for, dont watch it all. But dont bring your opinion on others to sway their judgement. I gotta agree with Pat, Hero shouldve been the way to go.

  11. Pat and Anonymous: I’m tired of this. Go ahead and defend the movie industry. You obviously would rather not watch Asians in movies, I get it now. Major theatrical releases should only include whites and blacks. Whites obviously because they are a large population here and run the movie industry. Blacks because they fought for their right to be portrayed in the movies. Asians well they can be portrayed by whites… so we’re good there to. Hey, Tom Cruise did a great job in The Last Samurai. So you’re right we don’t need to support Asian-American Actors, we in America have plenty of great white actors who can challenge themselves and play the role Asians can only dream of. I’ll make sure to tell the asian youth to forget acting because they’re not marketable. Sounds right to me.

    That is what you two “buddies” are saying, right? No racism involved because none of us see it. It’s just one race telling the other you can’t be involved because they’re not good enough to make money. So, I guess let’s not even try to have representation. My apologies; my ignorant and hypocritical thoughts have been cured…

    This is the last thing I will say because others want me to tone it down, I agree it’s just a cartoon board. Here goes…
    Those of you who will never fight injustice will never see justice. Choosing to ignore the movie industry’s discriminatory acts does not make you right. You are cowards and tools of this movie industry. I hope that if you have children or are planning on having children that you teach them that their culture is important. Teach them that their culture should not be denied just because someone else wants to make a buck. The last airbender is not the first movie to discriminate against Asians and with people like Pat and Anonymous out there, it looks like it won’t be the last. Thank you for your opinions, nothing personal, I’m a grown man who does not like to see injustice and I’m willing to speak up against it. Whether I’m right or wrong, this conversation needs to grow and a change in the right direction needs to be made. Since I do like to include personal experiences (I am the one writing); my Filipino cousin grew up wanting to be an actor, studied and even graduated with a degree in Theater from a major university. Like many Asian-American actors there are no movie or tv roles for him. I want to see him and other Asians in the movies and on TV and I have participated in letters to movie exces and movie companies to make a better effort in this process. There’s no reason to fear standing up for your rights, it’s your right and responsibility to do so. Right?

  12. I’m closing the comments on this post – I’ve had it with the nasty bickering.

    Congratulate yourselves all around. Well done.