Avatar: The Last Airbender

Dev Patel is Zuko in The Last Airbender

Dev Patel as Zuko in The Last Airbender“Slumdog Millionaire” star Dev Patel has joined the cast of M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender,” the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films live-actioner based on a Nick TV series.

Dev Patel will is set to play Zuko, a member of the Fire Nation. Jessica Jade Andres has been cast as the Earth Kingdom’s representative, Suki.

Jesse McCartney was knocked out of the role of Zuko by scheduling, much to the relief of Avatar fans everywhere.  Jackson Rathbone, who is playing Sokka,  managed to work around a conflict with “New Moon,” the sequel to Twilight.

Patel joins newcomer Noah Ringer (Aang), Nicola Peltz (Katara), Jackson Rathbone and Jessica Jade Andres. Production begins in mid-March in Greenland.

Dev Patel - Black BeltIn casting Patel and Ringer, a director accustomed to delivering plot twists to audiences got some surprises of his own. Ringer is a complete unknown who was tapped for the title role off an Internet audition. Patel, meanwhile, steps into a role that Jesse McCartney had all but locked up until the actor’s second career as a musician got in the way.

“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,” he said.

Tyro thesp Ringer will play Aang, the film’s lead, who is the last of a race of people who can manipulate the elements of air.

Ringer, a 12-year-old from Texas, landed the part after demonstrating his martial arts skills in an Internet vid that he posted to a website Shyamalan set up for open virtual auditions.

-via Variety

More Information
Listen to Patel talk to NPR about Slumdog Millionaire
-Updated The Last Airbender Cast List
-Our sister site Last Airbender Fans

Also of note: Patel is a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do!

118 Responses to “Dev Patel is Zuko in The Last Airbender”

  1. LovingStrong says:

    I vote for this Actor as Zuko

    Toma Ikuta would be perfect to play Zuko


  2. rizzol0219 says:

    Melissa, thanks for the comments regarding Perris! I will let him know. You know the weird thing is we asked Perris if he thought Aang was white and he said yes! So we asked if he could picture any his caucasian friends being Aang. His answer was no. Then we asked if he could picture his cousin “very pale light skinned filipino” as Aang and he said yes. Note his cousin has very chinese like features. So I found it interesting that he was thinking along the lines of skin tones and not ethnicities.

  3. rizzol0219 says:

    Melissa, thanks for the comments regarding Perris! I will let him know. You know the weird thing is we asked Perris if he thought Aang was white and he said yes! So we asked if he could picture any his caucasian friends being Aang. His answer was no. Then we asked if he could picture his cousin “very pale light skinned filipino” as Aang and he said yes. Note his cousin has very chinese like features. So I found it interesting that he was thinking along the lines of skin tones and not ethnicities.

  4. Melissa says:

    Rizzol, sounds like your son has a beautiful heart as well as a lot of talent. I will mention Perris whenever I see or am asked who should play Aang. Maybe getting the word out will help in re casting?

    SO without further a due…here is Perris
    for the part of Aang!


  5. rizzol0219 says:

    Oops sorry for the double post! don't know how that happened?

  6. Melissa says:

    Thats ok on the double post..gets the word out on Perris :O))))

  7. Melissa says:

    Rizzol, I just told my son I was talking to Aangs dad, he asked if you could tell him that he would like to meet him one day 🙂

  8. Mr Suntail says:

    Can someone post a pic of Perris, im at work and you tube is blocked 🙁
    Also, If shooting will start soon, any rumors on other characters? uncle Iroh, Fire Lord, Azula, King Bumi? They should cast the Rock as the Boulder OR even Mick Foley as i think he did the voice for it.

  9. FuFu Cuddly Poofs says:

    This video is my favorite of Perris,
    Noah Ringer can't touch Drunken Fist Boxing!

  10. FuFu Cuddly Poofs says:

    Macho Man Randy Savage would be the best The Boulder since thats who they were mocking.

  11. Melissa says:

    FuFu, I saw that one of Perris. He is absolutely awesome. I hope and pray they re cast and cast him as Aang. The age group it was made for, which is my kids age they saw me watching the video and they were screaming AANG AANG! If he doesnt get cast he could make lots of money touring around as AAng, we would pay to see him.

  12. Mr Suntail says:

    My God how did they not get Perris? Talk about leading a horse to water and it crapping in the trough…

  13. Melissa says:

    Mr Suntail, the post by Rizzol that is Perris's dad. Go to the link he posted and Perris is number 9

  14. Melissa says:

    Mr. Suntail, YUP..our thoughts exactly. Its like the light is shining just on him. I am thinking they must have been intoxicated :O(

    Anyone who reads this board..spread the word PERRIS FOR AANG!

    Suntail, wait till you see the youtube videos..it is AAng in live action..awesome

  15. Mr Suntail says:

    I will watch tonight (9 hours or so) Looking forward to it.

  16. BAll says:

    Suki DOES appear in the first book. In the episode “Warriors of Kioshi”

  17. Liz says:

    u spelled Sokka wrong

  18. jstele says:

    Dev Patel should NOT be cast as Zuko. Zuko looks Thai, so a Southeast Asian should be cast as him.

  19. Elise says:

    I think Dev Patel should play Sokka. I would just look at pictures and I can see him doing a great Sokka. It would be even better if Freida Pinto could be Katara. 🙂 http://cache.gettyimages.com/xc/83608746.jpg?v=1&c=ViewImages&k=2&d=17A4AD9F
    I'd love to see them both in another movie together again! :laughing:

  20. Paul Martin Specter says:

    Hmm, this has taken a very interesting turn in the comments!

  21. Paul Martin Specter says:

    Holy crap, you're right! It's been too long since I've re-watched Book 1! I need to do that again!

  22. ml says:

    Still not gonna watch it. it is stupid.
    he haven't seem avatar or what. zuko does not look like him at all

  23. mll says:

    well w/e i'll just stick with the animation image of the cast. i think this movie is call cosplay: the last airfender

  24. Mark M says:

    I agree in less they change the whole cast there is no way I am going to see this movie, it is ridiculous

  25. rizzol0219 says:

    Thanks to all for the Perris for Aang Plea, but that ship has sailed!
    Note if by some weird circumstance that the opportunity was presented to us for Perris to be involved somehow with this movie, it would play seriously hard in our subconscious, and be a total mind FCUK. “French Connection U.K.” We have thought about it as a possible scenario.
    On one hand we do not approve of the turn of events that the movie has taken with its casting choices, but hey that is our opinion and we are not alone. Then on the other hand you have your 12 year old son who would love to be involved in any movie, just for the experience. Who knows where else it might lead him. What do you say to your son if that call ever came in? Uh sorry son, your mother and I feel strongly about you not being in it and you will understand when you get older. Or do you let your son make the decision despite your feelings?
    Then there is the whole “CAUSE” issue. We would feel like betraying our beliefs and others who feel that Paramount or the powers that be screwed over the overall Asian theme with its casting choices. Like I said before this would have been a great opportunity to cast some Asian unknowns. Harry Potter’s three main characters played by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were all unknowns. Yes I understand it was probably a business decision but do you think Harry Potter suffered any casting unknowns?

  26. rizzol0219 says:

    Anyways to avoid even the possibility of going down that road we decided not to pursue other opportunities that came about like the need for a Tattoo Tester or Photo Doubles. I am thankful we do not live in Philadelphia either. Perris might have wanted to do the casting call for the movie extras.
    Hopefully there will be something in the future for Perris in his acting pursuits. We still are seeking a talent agency though. We sent head shots to an agency in LA, which I will not name, but they represent some very famous people. They asked us if we were willing to come to LA to be seen. So we took a day off to do so. We arrived early and there was a park close to the agency so we let the boys play for awhile. Perris is into Parkour now and the park was perfect to practice his free running with high walls, rails and other obstacles. Well time came for us to go to our appointment. Perris’s appointment took only 15 minutes, and then we drove back home to Las Vegas.

  27. rizzol0219 says:

    Here is the kicker. Then next day we get an email thanking us for coming out but they could not represent Perris due to a conflict with an existing client. We didn’t know being new to the industry what exactly what that meant although we had an idea, so we emailed them back asking for clarification. Well turns out Perris has the same look and skills and a current client of theirs and that we should try back in 6 months. Uhhh? Ok! Well couldn’t you have noticed that from his resume and head shots that you already had? I so much love a long drive while everyone sleeps. At least we got to enjoy family time at a park 300 miles away from home for an hour and the lovely ride back. Thank goodness for DVD players, it makes a long drive tolerable.

  28. melissa says:

    Rizzol, I loved your comments and agree 100 percent with you.

    As for Perris, the future is wide open for him this moment does not define him and what he will make of himself. He is going to change the world, he has talent, a special God given gift, heart and parents who un conditionally love him. He will be unstoppable.

    As I said before we are Perris fans and will watch his career :O)

  29. rizzol0219 says:

    Spector, thanks for the response! I agree and understand with everything that you have to say. We know that it is hard to make to make it as an actor and it wouldn't be easy, but there are those very few occasions where you hear that someone just tried for the heck of it and got discovered. Especially for this role since they were potentially looking for fresh talent and Perris fit the criteria. For example Noah Ringer. Never heard of him, but luckily he got the part. BTW the story keeps changing with how he got discovered. First he was discovered in an open casting call in Texas, now he was discovered from an online video submission that M Night supposedly had created for auditions, but I digress. However not important.
    Perris is not only interested in acting but modeling, and commercials. Hopefully something develops from those avenues of the industry. Not all actors started out as actors when they first started, but I know you know that.
    As for Harry Potter, I’m glad that the author had creative control. Unlike Mike and Bryan, IMO. Although they may have been the brain childs of Avatar, they most certainly do not own the rights to it. Nickelodeon does, and Nickelodeon if my research is correct is under the Viacom Umbrella, and guess what so is Paramount. http://www.stopbigmedia.com/chart.php?chart=radio

  30. rizzol0219 says:

    Now this is just my thought pattern and strictly my opinion, Hypothetical situation of course!
    What if Jesse decided to leave on his own due to say maybe a friend telling him “Hey there is a big controversy with the casting” or maybe he was online one day and researching his role came across some comments on his AWESOME interview with that radio station (NOT) and the white washing of the cast, so decided to leave on his own. Then told M Night or the powers that be he wasn’t going to do the film because of the issue. Or depending on his contract found a loop whole to get out.
    I’m curious if the powers that be would tell that story or make something else up for PR purposes. I think make something up would be the correct answer, IMO.

  31. Mr Suntail says:

    Wow the movie Industry sounds like a tough gig. Perris is awesome, I'll keep my fingers crossed for him and maybe (hopefully) fate might step in again like it has with Zuko…

  32. Paul Martin Specter says:

    Wow, that's quite the story. Here's what I have learned, being a part of the film industry for eleven years:

    1) Every decision is a bottom line decision.

    2) Any opportunity to help with a movie is a great opportunity to be discovered.

    3) The business truly is all about “who you know” and “who knows you.”

    Sure, you might disagree with the ethics of the casting of a fantasy film, based on a cartoon that features characters from an alternate world based on Asia that have culturally ambiguous skin tones, but forcing a child NOT to do the film can rob him of the experience of knowing what a movie set is actually like. In reality, they're somewhat boring places. Every shot has to be reset, and sometimes a shot lasting a couple of seconds takes hours to put together.

  33. Paul Martin Specter says:

    Harry Potter is something that cannot really be compared to. It's based on a book by a British author that specifically requested that they cast only British actors. At the time, people cried fowl, believing it was a racist casting decision to not look anywhere else, but she wanted an authentic British look. What they got were a few pretty sloppy actors. By the third film, they had improved through acting classes and because they'd lived in that world for a couple of years already. But has any of them done anything else worth its' weight in Harry Potter gold? Not yet. I have a sense that, for them, it could be the Star Wars effect. They might all try things for a while, but maybe they're all going to be stuck, or one or two might move on to Harrison Ford like status.

    Just know that getting into any film, period, is very difficult, and if you limit him here, it won't cause and end to his potential career, but it does keep him completely unknown. In Hollywood, you can try out for hundreds of movies and only land two roles, and that is what is typical. But if your son is a secondary character, there are times when actors like that will shine in their small roles, and then will be called upon by that casting director that was captured by the performance of the side character.

  34. LC. MC. says:

    Anyone who supports Dev Patel as Zuko, yet complained about McCarty can now officially call themselves a hypocrite. In fact, if you don't support him and you complained then you're also a hypocrite. Technically Dev Patel is Asian, as his has ancestry from India (let's ignore the fact there's a plethora of ethnicities from India at the moment), which is located in Asia. What? He doesn't look like Zuko? But he's Asian! That MUST mean he's perfect for the part, right? Oh, he's not Asian in the way you perceived “asians” to be? Sorry, my mistake. So, I wonder how everyone feels now that the Caucasian who used to be casted as Zuko looked a lot more like him than an “authentic” Asian does.

    No disrespect to either Patel or McCartney, I just find the fans whining to be hilarious when they get exactly what they want and still complain.. or are so ignorant as to think India and Japan are “close enough”. Makes you wonder which group is more “racist:

  35. momo says:

    While I don't know much about the actors playing Aang, Katara, and Suki (who really does anyway?) I think at this point the Sokka and Zuko choices are now made for quality. Sure, the actor playing Zuko is darker than Sokka, but in terms of capturing Sokka's humor and Zuko's rage, Jackson and Dev will probably do a decent job. I'm not trying to say that it's impossible to find Asians who can look and act like Avatar characters, or that I'm supporting white people playing Asians, but for what this movie is trying to achieve, I can see the effort. The only thing I want is for anyone involved in making this film to understand how HUGE this fanbase is. It may not be a Harry Potter or Twilight, but it's big enough to compare to those two.

  36. rizzol0219 says:

    I'm starting to think my last statement at 3:23pm today wasn't so far fetched.


    It's a possibility. IMO

  37. Mark says:

    TO momo, I am sorry but you can not compare Avatar to Twilight. Avatar has a much bigger fan base..Twilight was read yes, but wasnt a household name until the movie. Avatar is a house hold name.

  38. Mark says:

    Ok saying being from India and Asia is the same thing is like saying Mexicans are Italians and Germans are dutch(I mean they are both WHITE right?!) You cant just lump everyone together like that, you my friend are being racist.

  39. Short Clip says:

    I saw that Dev Patel talked about the last airbender on TMZ's Tuesday addition. Please be warned there is some things that would not be suitable for younger viewers. Dev talking starts at 14:30


  40. momo says:

    Mark, sorry I didn't express that the way I wanted to. I was trying to say that I don't think the people involved don't know how big the fanbase is because it isn't as widely publicized as Harry Potter and Twilight. That comment was made in their possible point of view. I think Avatar has a bigger fanbase than Twilight but to producers of this movie, that might not be so. Many people in the media made Twilight out to be the romance version of Harry Potter, and so by comparison alone anyone oblivious to Twilight would perceive that the fanbase is as big as Harry Potter's. Clearly this isn't so as it appeals to one audience whereas Harry Potter and Avatar appeal to many more. I'm just saying that Twilight got the frequent Harry Potter references. To non-fans, Avatar might not appear to have a Harry Potter-like fanbase because nobody really puts the two together the way they did for Twilight.

  41. momo says:

    Don't know if anyone posted anything about Jessica Jade Andres as Suki but here's a picture of her.


  42. Mark says:

    One of the main reasons they compared Twilight to Harry Potter was because they are both trilogy books. Avatar is a show..going into a movie so to compare it to Harry Potter unless you were just strictly comparing movies would be stupid. I know M Night wanted this to be his Star Wars and I feel if done right it will be better, it just has to be done right though to accomplish that. I do not know one person who watched Avatar that wasnt hooked the time they watched just one show. Now onto the director, M Night is a fan of the show and his favorite character is Zuko, which is why he wanted to do this movie and approached the writers. He knows how big this could be, and I am really emphasizing the COULD.

  43. Mark says:

    Yes, Jessica is the perfect Suki

  44. dr crowe says:

    let's not lightly throw around accusations of racism.

    It's a far too serious of a accusation to call someone you really don't know it.

  45. Mark says:

    He/she was categorizing all Indians,Asians etc together and saying they are all Asians. No they are not, the color of someones skin and the nationality are two different things.

  46. Dr Crowe says:

    Fine, so say they was mis-categorizing peoples from the continent of Asia. Don't call them a racist. Not here.

  47. rizzol0219 says:

    Jesse story changed again… Now he didn't mesh with the rest of his cast mates. Brilliant!


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