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!

117 Comments

  1. Wow, this is an interesting turn of events. I still don't see it at all, but I'm beginning hold out an ever so slight hope that Night knows what he's doing.

    Please don't screw this one up!

  2. I am not COMPLAINING about who they cast I think Jessica is the perfect Suki, just wondered because Sokkas love interest is Princess Yue in the first book..Suki in Second.

  3. What?! My mind was already wrapped around Jesse being Zuko and now this new actor? I don't see a resemblance in Zuko at all… I need to look at more pictures of him.

  4. Thank you, I had not heard that but good to know. Princess Yue was one of my favorites and had a big role at the end of book 1 so just wondering how they were fitting that in if Suki came in earlier. Cant wait to see!!

  5. I have watched Avatar and been a fan since the beginning as are my three boys fans(family affair :O)..) Zuko is one of our favorite characters so we have been very picky with the casting. I feel Dev will be an amazing Zuko and we are all but ready to put on our TEAM ZUKO shirts

    Here is another picture of Dev.

    http://file015a.bebo.com/14/large/2007/08/22/17/2072251217a5350257281l.jpg

    ALSO I wanted to say how happy we are also that Jackson is playing Sokka. He is such a talented actor and he really can make any character come to life. I cant wait to see him portray him.

  6. Great, cast the villain as the Asian.

    Now,
    Jackson Rathbone and Nicola Peltz need to announce their “scheduling conflicts”,
    confirm Noah Ringer is at least half-asian
    and everyone will be happy.

  7. First off, Dev is from Europe born and raised and he is NOT Asian. He will do an amazing job as Zuko, also anyone who is a true fan of the show knows Zuko is one of the most popular characters and I would call him a villain. I rooted for Zuko and his struggles the whole show.

    As for Jackson, YOU WILL NOT FIND a better Sokka. He is my favorite character from the show and not only does he look the part
    http://lisarosephoto.com/images/im_portf_portrait/jackson_rathbone.jpg
    he is ALSO an incredible actor. He will be able to brink Sokka to life like no one else. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9ogBxg5-vI

    Now after that audition you just saw of Jackson, doesnt it just finalize that he IS the best Sokka. ;o)

  8. Okay. I still don't see him as Zuko at all. No resemblance what's so ever! I have nothing against the actor is just I can't picture him as Zuko. 🙁

  9. it is very interesting how the story changes on how Noah Ringer was casted. First he was found during an open casting call in Texas, now he was discovered from a video on the Internet that he posted to a website Shyamalan set up for open virtual auditions. So what was this website? How come it was never public knowledge? Sounds like BS to me IMO.

  10. Rizzol,

    Dev Patel was born in Harrow, London, England, to Gujarati Indian Hindu parents, both of whom were born in Nairobi, Kenya

    My point was he is NOT Asian, and that is OK

  11. To Rizzol again :O)

    They did have a video casting thru Paramounts web site. Anyone was allowed to audition. Here is one of my favorites, for Aang
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54i1GvKCdYk

    Now whether or not that is how Noah was found I do not know. All I know is they did do video auditions and they did have auditions in Texas :o)

  12. Melissa,
    First off, Dev's parents are both from India.
    India is part of Asia. Dev is Asian like M.Night is Asian.
    Zuko is portrayed as the villain in the first book.
    In the second book, Zuko began his transformation to the good side only to make the wrong choice and become the villain.
    He didn't fully become the hero until the third book.

    I am not doubting Rathbone's talent.
    But, I just feel that Rathbone is risking his career
    if he really wants to get into Yellowface to pull of a character of asian/inuit descent.
    I am surprised that he was not dropped from the cast after his offensive comment in that mtv interview,
    “I am definitely going to need a tan.”
    How can you say that Rathbone is the best when you haven't even compared him to anyone else
    especially when you haven't seen any of the asian-americans and native-americans who auditioned?

    Stop being a Rathbone fangirl and open your eyes.

  13. ACTUALLY, I have seen many of the auditions as they were made public. I posted one of the Aangs up top. Paramount held open videos from everyone, and the one kid I like for Aang is up top and I loved Jackson as Sokka.

    Now on my comment on Zuko I meant to say I would NOT call him a villain. He showed sympathy to Aang MANY times throughout the first book, and the second before he turned on to their side. Letting him go at the end of book 1, letting Appa go book 2. Also we see that he isnt really the bad guy , just has a bad past and is so caught up with wanting to restore his honor he loses himself. That is why I loved Zuko from book 1 on..it was beautiful to watch how he unfolded to then become the firelord!

  14. Melissa, sorry but you are wrong. The online website was for video submissions for Aang to be sent to LA. While the casting directory Doug Aibel was still on vacation at the time. Folks even went as far as submitting to Douglas Aibel in New York, to increase their chances or possibly preventing their audition being lost in LA. All the means of audition seem to be covered well in the forums here. As far as live auditions, don't believe the hype. I was told last year that they would hold a live audition in my area in Las Vegas at a Kung Fu tournement. It was even advertised online at that website lastairbendercasting.com. When we called to find out if it was true, the person just stated that they will be handing out flyers to people at the event. Well I was personally there and there were no people around not even a kiosk.

  15. Melissa,
    I still say your fangirlism is blinding you to the fact that Rathbone is the wrong race. If Rathbone and Peltz are not dropped from the cast, it will perpetuate a message that asians are not good enough to play asians in film.

    You don't have to explain Zuko's character to a fellow fan. But, if you look at it from the perspective of a non-fan who watches the first movie, Zuko IS the villain. It's implied that he has good in him, but he still has conflict with the hero which makes him the villain.
    But, my point is that its going to be light vs dark literally. If ALL characters were of asian descent (even half asian) then there won't be this problem of “The hero always being white in film”

    If all the actors were Asian in this universe where there are no caucasians, then Asians won't have to be this stereotypical chinese delivery boy, kung fu master, asian gangster,”exotic” hot girl that the hero hooks up with at the end.

  16. First off, dont put labels on me. Would it be ok if I said your “Asianisim” was blinding you from seeing a great movie for what it was..a great up coming movie?

    I like you know that there were No white people in the Avatar, as a fellow fan I agree. Yes in the show Zuko was lighter then Katara and Sokka..will it be weird when hes darker…yes. So what do you say they do? Keep re casting till everyone on the planet is satisfied, or would you be ok if every one of the cast were asian? I agree Asians get some not good roles, I believe African Americans do also. There is a lot of rasisim in Hollywood. Now putting that box aside I am happy they re cast Zuko, on Sokka I think they did a great job, Suki they did even better. The other two I have not seen them audition so I have no idea what they will be like.

    So yes, it would be wonderful if the whole movie were just Asian as it in the Avatar. Will that happen, no. So we need to support the ones who are in it now. How do you know Noah is not Asian descent??

  17. Melissa, I didn't understand you last comment towards me? What do you mean you saw them with you own two eyes? You saw Paramount reps at the Las Vegas Kung Tournement last year? BTW youtube aang auditions was not an avenue for submission. Folks just placed their audtions online hoping something would come out of it. I seriously doubt the casting department had enough time to look over thousands of hard copy submissions and look on the internet as well.

  18. Hey Rizzol,

    What I meant is last year ON Paramounts web site they had a submission place. I wanted to submit my son, but he doesnt have any karate experience :O( They have since found the cast(obviously) and took down the site. There are quite a few people who put their auditions on youtube, which is what I have shown you. Now yes there are some that I think were not submitted and just people like you said hoping to be noticed.

    Not trying to argue with you, just telling you what I have seen :O)))

  19. My “asianism” aka “minorityism” is not blinding me. Its actually opening my eyes for what this movie really is (or will be if things don't change). It's a movie where the corporations are calling the shots
    Ignoring the creators vision of the Avatar universe.
    Casting white actors to bring in more profit does not equal a great movie.
    If you mean “a great movie” from an artistic point of view, then you would know that making this film following an old formula to bring in more profits is not the way to make “a great movie”. Respecting and honoring the cultures represented in the world of Avatar is just the first step in making this movie epic.

    I will just assume you are not asian, which means you have the privilege of not caring what race the actors play. But, for a concerned parent who knows the impact the movie will have if the actors are not represented fairly, I don't have a choice to not care.

    I did not mention anything about Noah Ringer.
    I am reserving judgement until he comes out of hiding.

    You agree that the film would be wonderful if the whole move was just asians. So, then as a fan why don't you support what the creators, Mike and Bryan envisioned this film to be. Don't settle for whatever they feed you. Make this film a piece of artwork worth investing in. Not a product that needs to be sold.

  20. This is a great example that M. Night and the gang know what they are doing AND that they seem to be listening to the fanbased feedback at least a little bit about casting. Dante basco would be fantastic as Zuko, but to be honest he doesnt really look any more like zuko than Dev does. Hopefully after Dev gets an Emo hair cut, he will look the part, I just hope he can act and looking at the links he seems to be able too so fingers crossed. And re early comments, isnt Suki in book 1 anyway when she owns Sakka in combat training? maybe they just need her for that short role in the first movie, then will make her more involved later in movie 2 & 3 like in the cartoons.

  21. Actually, my husband is not white and my kids who look more like my husband deal with a lot in school. So I know exactly what it feels like to not have someone serve you , or give you horrible service at a restaurant because we are a mixed family.So again with your labeling, you need to stop. All you are doing right now is labeling and pointing fingers. My point of the asianisim was that labeling is not ok..would it be ok if I labeled you like you me? NO!

    As for what I believe the film should be, YES they should all be Asians/Chinese etc. and show the beautiful world at is portrayed in the Avatar. However that is not happening and even more so the “creators” said they were all a go on the movie. I dont see the creators saying “HEY WAIT, you need to not cast white people!” Why arent they standing up for what is being mixed up?

  22. Mr Suntail, how is this a good example that M. Night and his gang no what they are doing and they seem to be listening to the fanbase?
    If the article's excuse is true (and not some made up story) then the only reason Dev was chosen as runner up was because Jesse McCartney has scheduling conflicts.
    Now if M. Night flat out said because of the fans we decided to make one of the main characters a minority, then I would have to hesitantly believe you.
    No one knows the politics and decision making behinds the scenes and do you think the ones who do know would give you the real story? It will often be watered down or filtered to try to be somewhat non-offensive with the least amount of damage.

  23. Melissa, well if they did have online video submissions posted on lastairbendercasting.com, we didn't see it. It may have been on actoracces.com for Gail Levin, but we didn't see it. This is where screenshots of the website would have been nice to refer back to. As for you son not have martial arts experience, I do remember it stating it would be a plus but not necessary.
    BTW – Perris is my son. I'm his dad. So thanks for for thinking my son was a favorite of yours for Aang. I'm just disappointed that he did not even get a call back. Now if they didn't choose him after a call back, then I can live with that. Out of all the comments we got on his videos a vast majority thought Perris would have made a great Aang. So this is not just parental bias.
    This would have been a great chance for some unknowns to make it IMO. Harry Potter three main characters where all unknowns.

  24. Melissa,
    About the creators of the show,
    Maykazine put it best,
    “They’ve probably been advised by lawyers and execs to speak nothing of the issue. Their stomachs are probably doing flips right now as they consider the cash that’s about to come into their pockets.”

    Ok, well being a parent, you really need to consider the effect the whitewashed cast has on your children. My kids (as well as yours) were inspired by the asian characters. With the predominantly white media, Avatar: The Last Airbender is a rarity. For children growing up the minority, having a show like Avatar is very empowering. And for the live action to disrespects the cultures represented is a slap in the face. I urge you to not be so accepting of this cast. Its nothing personal with the cast that has been chosen. I am against the decision.
    Please read this before replying,
    http://www.geneyang.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry090128-131008
    And if you want to get involved I recommend visiting this,
    http://aang-aint-white.livejournal.com/

  25. Rizzol, It is truly an honor to meet you. When I thought of someone playing Aang I thought of your son when I first saw him. I was actually watching his videos yesterday on youtube and my son came in and said ITS AANG! So I know that to you would be a great compliment because we are avid Avatar watchers and they know their stuff. Maybe with all the changing going around in casting all hope is not lost yet. Tell your son we believe he IS Aang :O)

  26. hmmm, to Concerned Parent. I would have to agree with you on that. I see now the point..very sad.

    I also read there is a protest at the Feb. 7th Open Call in Pa. Maybe it will help…

  27. Melissa,
    First off, I would like to apologize for all the labels I used. I have been arguing very passionately about this for the sake of my kids. I didn't know you were a parent and as soon as you mentioned you were I knew that you would be able to understand my point of view. So again, I apologize.

    And it is very sad,
    and to make it worse, you should read about what Rizzol's family had to go through.
    This was copied from aang-aint-white.livejournal.com
    This was after not being accepted to play the role of Aang, Perris's mother wrote,
    “Here's the kicker: my son now thinks Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Zuko are supposed to be White since that's what has been casted. You should hear us debate… Me and my husband debating our child who auditioned for Aang about how the cast is offensive to us and should be to him. Yes, some kids don't know any better. It sucks. Luckily, we sorta got to him and he “kinda” gets it. Our fault for being white-washed 2nd/3rd generation Filipino's I guess. We still watch Avatar every night. But the proposed current main cast still hurts.”

    Rizzol, I feel for you.
    Just let your kid know that there is a large community who got his back.
    I look forward to seeing his career grow.

    This is the very reason why I am so angry about this cast. Children are so easily influenced by the media. The message this cast is sending is that Asians aren't good enough to play Asians in film.

    I really hope the protest makes a lot of noise.

  28. Concerned parent, never be sorry for standing up for and (arguing) for what you believe in. Maybe that is all it will take to change this, all of us standing up and saying this is not ok.

    One thing M. Night doesnt understand is just how BIG the Avatar fan base is and how none of us will go see this movie unless they re cast the right way. Maybe M.Night wants to make Glitter part 2??Maybe thats what this is??LOL

    All joking aside, it either changes or it will not make money. The fan base wont stand for this.

    As for Perris, he IS Aang. He will always be in my mind, and I wish we could get the producers to take notice of that. We are big fans of his and will constantly check his youtube channel for updates and wish him many blessing in his future, he is extremely talented and the world is his for the taking.

  29. The Dev news is real. M night made an official statement

    Explaining McCartney's exit, director/writer/producer M. Night Shyamalan stated, “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.” The “Leavin'” singer was actually attached to Zuko character, who is the Fire Nation's evil prince.

    Coming in to replace the 21-year-old is “Slumdog Millionaire” lead actor Dev Patel. About the choosing of the rising star, Shyamalan revealed that the 18-year-old was “already one of the guys I was interested in.” The filmmaker then added

  30. I hope u are right but i just found this on Jesse web site…

    News
    Show Postponements22-Jan

    Unfortunately, due to a change in the production schedule of Jesse's film, The Last Airbender, the following shows have had to be postponed:

    March 3rd – Atlanta
    March 4th – Tampa
    March 5th – Orlando
    March 10th – San Diego

    We're very sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment this may have caused. These shows will be rescheduled to future dates soon. We will let you know as soon as there is any information, so be sure to check the site often for updates!

    The Jesse McCartney Fan Club Team

  31. whaaat? no resemblance at all. Why would they choose him? He doesn't have the face structure, or the intimidating persona that his looks create. Maybe he did a good job in the audition, but the looks are a big thing in a movie. :angry:

  32. Mr Suntail, that was on there last month. It sounds like all of this happen within a few days because Jessie just did an interview with MTV on Friday about being Zuko. SO either they are lieing, and hes still Zuko..or they pulled the carpet out from under him.

  33. Thanks Rizzol for the link. Looking at their pictures side to side though Jessie is more Zuko then Dev. I hate to even say that, I am going to go hide now.

    Oh, not before saying Toma Ikuta would be yummy perfect ;o) And that kid on you tube someone posted of Aang, he is amazing.

  34. Melissa, you're a champ. I think that it could be either of those 2 options as well. Either way its generating some noise for the movie. Maybe Jesse's managers didnt realise he would probably have to postpone his shows for the nect few years to do the movies. 😛
    Zuko is my fav character so I think that Dante or Toma would look the part, but hopefully Dev can Act the part.

  35. Have you seen Jesse's last mtv interview? He failed miserably at selling the movie.
    “scheduling conflicts” my foot!

    i bet the fans were heard, they found out his kung-fu was stiffer than keanu reeves in the matrix, and/or people will have a difficult time “suspending disbelief” that a privileged pop star would be able to play the role of a banished prince who suffers, struggles, and grows into a hero who leads the world into peace and harmony.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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 🙂

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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

  42. 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?

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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)

  46. 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

  47. 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.

  48. 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…

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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:

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. I have to agree with Mark, rasism or prejudise whatever you want to call it. It is not right to ball every one up into the same group, we all are from different groups.

  60. I agree Melissa we are all “people” but we come from different walks and differnt ethnic groups. Which is great and the world would be boring if we were not but to put labels and say well all brown people are brown and all yellow people are yellow is wrong.

  61. Haha I like how Dev and Jesse have similar hair in that article, like they want us to compare who looks more like Zuko (circa book 2 I guess).

    To Mark, I get the impression that I'm offending you and I really have no clue why. But I agree with your comment about Jessica Jade Andres as Suki. She seems perfect. I wonder how the makeup situation will work.

  62. Momo, you have not offended me. We are just having a lively discussion. I feel you have a lot of good thoughts on the Avatar and up coming movie.

  63. While I like Dev Patel (based on the one role I've seen him in), this hardly changes things. M. Night claims he's had his eye on Patel for a long time… but doesn't this sound suspiciously like an afterthought? They first filled all these principal roles with pretty white folks, then suddenly got wind that maybe fans weren't so happy about that. So they get the South Asian dude to play the villain!

  64. Melissa: You think that is fishy, well they edited the original article on EW's site. Now the McCartney story coincides with the Variety website. Luckily I took a screenshot of the original article.

  65. Rizzol, I noticed that they did that, what is going on? Like you even said about the Noah casting..I dont even know what to believe any more

  66. :wassat: I'm a little upset about Dev being Zuko. I just can't see. I really hope M. Night knows what he's doing. Personally, if it was me, I'd cast Justin Chatwin. He's not that well-known but oh-so good looking! 😉

  67. Emily, i can see how he would be a good choice too, however i think that Dav has proven that he can act and according to the reporst he has the moves too, I just hope he can capture Zuko's Intensity and emotion.

  68. NOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!! Recast on Zuko!!!!!!!!!!! Zuko character should be played by a hot mouthwatering delicious (Japanese/American)Actor who is strong & physically powerful. M. Night Shyamalan should really handle this delemma asap cuase as a true avatar fan I’m extremely aggravated. Zuko is one of my Favorite characters and is a huge element in this movie. I’m really starting to get worried about the whole production of this movie. RRRRRReeeeccast Zuko!!!!!!!

  69. I'm sorry but I saw Patel and I saw Rathbone and I think that, if anything, they should switch roles! Being tanner and having those great ears makes him, visually, a better Sokka! And I've seen some of Rathbone's work and he could totally play the damaged prince! Plus his lighter skin-tone and gorgeous features makes him, visually, more appealing as Zuko! If the cast must stay as is then I believe they should–at the very least–shuffle some roles!

  70. I would be such a better zuko then Dev. First, I'm asian, I'm a wrestler, I love kung fu, I go to College in Philadelphia. And I make a fight look good, Dev just doesn't look like Zuko. You should see me when I'm angry.
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  71. Hello All! Whilst all the bickering is going on i just wanted to say this: Avatar is a great series and i think the movie has a good chance of success as long as we, the fans stick together! To bollocks as to who is who and what is what and who will play this part well. (By the way I am for Dante Basco for Zuko) but that is besides the point. For any hope of success we must back our heros no matter what! Its the characters we love not the bloody actors so what do you say?

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