M. Night Shyamalan's newest film The Last Airbender, a live-action adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon animated TV series, is one which undoubtedly will end up having a huge cast. We've already reported on some early casting news over the past few months, including Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel replacing Jesse McCartney as the character of Prince Zuko.
Well today we get four more people being added to the cast list: Aasif Mendvi, Shaun Toub, Cliff Curtis and Keong Sim. Don't recognize those names? No worries: we've got the info you need to know about the actors and their roles in The Last Airbender.
Mandvi, who some may know from films and TV shows like Ghost Town, CSI and Jericho (to name but a few), will play the role of Commander Zhao, a character described as "an ambitious and hot-tempered Fire Nation commander."
Shaun Toub, who we saw most recently helping Tony Stark build his first suit in Iron Man, is set to play Uncle Iroh, the "retired Fire Nation general who is the devoted surrogate parent to Dev Patel's character, Zuko."
Cliff Curtis, who some may know from the likes of Sunshine, Live Free or Die Hard and Training Day (amongst many others - he's a busy man), will play the "ruthless ruler Fire Lord Ozai."
And Sim, who's only appeared as mainly extras in a handful of TV shows, has been cast as the character of Earthbending Father.
These four will join previously announced cast members Noah Ringer (who plays the title role), Nicola Peltz (Waterbender Katara), Jackson Rathbone (Katara's brother Sokka), and Dev Patel (playing the previously mentioned Prince Zuko, prince of the Fire Nation).
Now, I'm not even going to pretend to lie and say I know all about the original Airbender TV series (in fact, I hadn't even heard of it before the movie was announced). But from the images I've seen, and the story outline, it seems like it could work as a film--although it comes off (to an unknowing movie fan like myself) as similar in style to Dragonball Z (which we all know the movie version of looks horrific). Is that an unfair association on my part?
Just as a reminder of what all we're talking about, here is the film synopsis for The Last Airbender:
Air, Water, Earth, Fire. Four nations tied by destiny until the Fire Nation launches a brutal war against the others. A century has passed with no hope in sight to change the path of this destruction. Caught between combat and courage, Aang (Noah Ringer) discovers he is the lone Avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements. Aang teams with Katara (Nicola Peltz), a Waterbender, and her brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), to restore balance to their war-torn world.
It's been mainly casting news that's been released about this flick so far, so we'll have to wait until the trailers drop to truly get a sense of if it's going to work or not.
However what's got me interested right away is the fact that M. Night Shyamalan is attached to this project. Yes, he has seriously lost his way over the course of his last few films (even thinking about Lady in the Water makes me want to vomit), regardless, it's interesting to see him try his hand at something like The Last Airbender. The man's gone from creative and original thrillers to a live-action adaptation of an animated TV series - I think we ought to give him the benefit of the doubt for now, if only to see what he does with this thing.
The Last Airbender is scheduled for a July 2nd 2010 release.