M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by Miana Kenobi, Dec 10, 2008.

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  1. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

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    [image=http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/images/lstairbenderlogo.jpg]

    With the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender now at a finish, the eyes have turned over to M. Night Shyamalan, who is planning on turning the TV series into a 3 part film trilogy.

    Production is set to begin in 2009 and they are aiming for a July 2nd 2010 Release date.


    The first casting went up today:

    http://www.slashfilm.com/2008/12/10/first-look-the-cast-of-the-last-airbender/


    Newcomer Noah Ringer is making his film debut as Aang.

    Jackson Rathbone (Twilight) will be playing Sokka.

    Nicola Peltz (Deck the Halls) will take on the role of Katara.

    And popstar Jesse McCartney is in talks to play Prince Zuko.



    I'm happy that Aang is an unknown, and actually pleased that they cast a kid who has studied martial arts. He'll definitely need it.

    Jackson I am rather annoyed to find is a 24 year old playing a 15 year old, but we will see if he can live up to the witty humor of Sokka. Though I desperately hope they don't follow in Harry Potter's footsteps and actually make his and Katara's eyes the right color.

    Jesse McCartney as Zuko... *sigh* Why. I understand from a production standpoint that having his name attached will draw in the crowds of teenage girls to see it, but I don't know if he can do ZuZu justice.


    And, with this casting of a non-asian cast, it makes me wonder if Jason Issacs will be able to actually play Zhao. :D
  2. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

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    The fact that the martial art he studied is karate may actually work against him, though. I would prefer if he had studied a relevant martial art -- the kung fu style Ba Gua being most appropriate; failing that, either wushu or gymnastics. Karate -- traditional karate, at least -- is in many ways the polar opposite of what an actor playing Aang will be required to do.

    Like you, I understand the reasoning, and like you, I positively hate the decision.
  3. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

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    Completely true about the style of martial arts, but at least he already has learned one style so might be more adept at learning the forms for the movie, rather than someone who has no martial arts experience at all. Like, I'm guessing, the young lady playing Katara and Jesse McCartney will have no previous experience and it might be harder for them to adapt/pull it off well.
  4. Darthhelmut Jedi Youngling

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    This is starting badly....why not just cast the Jonas Brothers, and one of them can play Katara.
  5. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    I'm actually pissed the cast isn't more exotic and mixed looking...
  6. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

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    Same. Aang really is one of the few characters who looks more caucasian than the others. Katara and Sokka (and the rest of the Water Tribes, for that matter) clearly are based on Inuit/Native Americans, and the Fire and Earth Nations have a much more Asian appearance. :( It really wouldn't have been that hard to try and cast a bit more ethnically diverse.
  7. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    Can this be rolled into the [link=http://boards.theforce.net/science_fiction_and_fantasy_films_and_television/b10748/25438994/p1]existing A-tAB thread[/link]?
  8. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

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    I asked Conor if he wanted me to continue it over there, and he said to just make a new thread.
  9. Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Master

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    Agreed. I'm rather annoyed. That and the fact that this is M. Night Shyamalan (whose work I am not particularly fond of) directing, I'm not sure how well the films are going to stand up to the TV show. I was hoping for an enthinically diverse cast and, like you said, it wouldn't have been difficult to find the actors who resembled and had the experience to play the leads.

    edit -- the only actor (out of the known ones) who I recognize is Jackson Rathbone, and then I've only seen him in Twilight. I'm not familiar with their styles, but I'm already getting the feeling that they will not be able to capture the characters' essences very well. I try not to prejudge until I see the film, but "I have a bad feeling about this." [face_plain] :p

  10. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    *sigh*

    Well there goes the movie.
  11. Fel_Freak228 Jedi Padawan

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    And popstar Jesse McCartney is in talks to play Prince Zuko.

    Please, please no. Anyone but him...anyone!!! I'd prefer Joe Jonas over Jesse McCartney! Zuko is my favorite character in the series, and if the actor in the live action movie can't portray him perfectly, Zuko's character goes down the tube. And McCartney doesn't strike me as being a very talented actor, so I'm pretty sure this movie is dead. And McCartney's voice...it's just not Zuko.

    And why on earth are they all caucasian? *sob* That just doesn't make any sense at all.

    I guess all we can do now is hope and pray that the effects are decent.
  12. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Yeah...I mean, as a swarthy, ethnic minority myself, I always thought it was cool that this was a sweeping fantasy tale set firmly in a non-white context. Was the fear about alienating white kids?
  13. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

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    Who knows. We'll just have to see how it turns out. [face_tired]


    In an ideal world, who would you guys want to do the score?
  14. Fel_Freak228 Jedi Padawan

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    I don't know, anyone who can do epic I guess.:p I really hope that they'll use some of the old scores from the TV show, like the one from Zuko and Azula's Agni Kai. But of course that one would have to wait for the last movie, if they do make sequels.[face_frustrated]
  15. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

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    He plans to do all 3, but we'll have to see how the first one does. Look at what came of the His Dark Materials movies. ;)


    The Track Team I don't think has ever done a movie score; it would be nice, but I also would love to see a bigger name give a crack at it, and hopefully take stuff from the original music. Last Agni Kai definitely is some of the best music in the entire show.
  16. leia_naberrie Jedi Master

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    Frankly, I am disgusted with the all-White casting of the Avatar leads. It's just another method of subtle racism, culture-stealing, and Whitewashing that Hollywood has thrived on since the days of Charlie Chan. Whether or not Hollywood is correctly reading the pulse of the American public is left to be seen.
  17. Jek_Windu Jedi Padawan

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    I don't really think the ethnicity of the characters is at all important. I would much prefer that Shyamalan cast based on whether or not he thinks the actor will be good in the part, without ever asking "do they have the right amount of melanin in their skin?" Don't be so quick to judge the cast- remember what people said about Ledger.


    Considering that Avatar was created by Americans pulling from the philosophy and history of many cultures, I don't really see where you're getting this from. If anything, the fact the cast is not "Asian" will help the pro-multiculturalism purported by the series, as it will show that a particular philosophy or belief system is not at all inherent on one's racial background.
  18. Fel_Freak228 Jedi Padawan

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    I believe the ethnicity of the actors is very important, considering that A:TLA is set in an Asian culture, from the way they dress, write, act, and fight. And I do think that the casting should have been chosen to reflect that, not be filled to the brim with whites. This casting is a slap in the face to everything Avatar is, IMO. But if this casting is final, I'm praying their acting skills will overshadow their ethnicity. Like Jek_Windu said, who knows? We might have our next Heath Ledger.
  19. Jek_Windu Jedi Padawan

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    Avatar is not an Asian setting. It's a fantasy setting that is heavily influenced by Asian cultures, history, and religious philosophy. IMO, the world of the series was enthralling enough that I very shortly stopped caring which culture provided this, or which martial art that bending was based upon- I was far more interested in the mix they formed that led to those things.
  20. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    I think the problem is that, for a lot of people - particularly minority fans - one of the things that made Avatar interesting was that it took place in a fantasy setting not dominated by whites.
  21. Fel_Freak228 Jedi Padawan

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    And had characters who were also Asian in appearance. Hollywood is forgetting that little detail.
  22. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    With maybe the exception of Aang, all of the Nations in Avatar are clearly Asian. Therefore it makes sense to have Asians playing them. Having all white people playing them makes no sense and is, in fact, racist.
  23. Jek_Windu Jedi Padawan

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    That's a bit of a simplification. If Shyamalan saw 1,000 young girls audition for Katara, is he a racist if he picked who he thought could best act the part? What is more important- the actor's skin tone or the actor's ability?
  24. leia_naberrie Jedi Master

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    I'm going to get the important stuff out first then post a couple of responses.

    There are a lot of people out there (and in this thread) that are giving excuses for why we should all sit back and accept this. I ask people who feel strongly enough about this that sitting back is not the only option. It happened with 21 and Earthsea and it can and will keep re-occuring until the people that care stand up and do something about it. You can and should do something. Two things as a matter of fact:

    The first thing is to go [link=http://aang-aint-white.livejournal.com/646.html]here[/link] for tips on how to save the World with postage. Yes, that's what I mean: write a letter to Paramount. Not only will it make you feel better, but if we don't speak up against this, they will never have a reason to change.

    The second thing - and the most important thing in my opinion - is not to spend a dime on The Last Airbender movies with their current casting. Actions will always speak louder than words. Yes, by then it would be too late for them to change the casting - or invest in sequels - but if enough of us call them out on their bad behaviour, we can - and we will create an environment where something like this will never happen again.











    Jek_Windu, there are so many levels of offensive in your comments that I don't even know where to begin. I can only assume that you really have no idea of the gravity of your statements.

    What exactly does that even mean? It makes no sense as any kind of logical argument! If the ethnicity isn't that important then why did it have to be changed from what was depicted in the cartoon?


    Ah, the good ol' appeal to melanin. So according to you, out of the millions of children of Asian descent in North America, the casting people could not find four that had the requisite acting skills. And, it's a complete coincidence that out of the rest of the North American populace, the four "talented" child actors all just happened to be White? Considering that a singer from a Boy Band is in talks to play Zuko, I'm amazed anyone dares to even play the "Most Talented" card.


    With all due respect: Rubbish!!!. The leads are unilaterally White. How does that promote multi-anything? [face_plain]


    The only written script in Avatar uses Chinese characters. The clothes are taken from various East Asian cultures. Structures are Asian architecture. The Bending is based on Asian martial arts. The Water Tribe are brown-skinned.


    Let's talk about fantasy worlds, shall we?

    Nobody expected Harry Potter to be acted by a couple of Japanese children in a Japanese magic school. JK Rowling refused to let White Americans be cast in minor roles in the Harry Potter movies and the rest of the world applauded her for that. Nobody expected the Lord of the Rings to have Black Rohans and Native American Elves. But people like you think it's OK
  25. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    Apr 17, 2006
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    leia_naberrie is right. You can't just ignore the Asian setting and Asian characters of Avatar.
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