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