Element of Shyamalan in ‘Airbender’

M. Night Shyamalan will battle the elements when he tackles “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” a live-action big-screen adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon animated series, for Paramount Pictures’ MTV Films and Nick Movies.

Shyamalan will write, direct and produce the adaptation, which Nick hopes will turn into a three-picture series with  Shyamalan’s continuing involvement. The project marks the first time that Shyamalan, who is known for crafting original screenplays, will direct material he didn’t create. It also is a rare foray for him into the kids pic arena, though he did flirt with directing one of the”Harry Potter” movies and did co-write 1999’s “Stuart Little.”

Created by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, “Avatar” is set in a world balanced on four nations — Water, Earth,Fire and Air. In each society, there are masters who can manipulate their native elements — Waterbenders, Earthbenders, Firebenders and Airbenders — while the one person who can master all four is the Avatar.

When the current Avatar, a 12-year-old boy still learning to master his powers, seemingly dies, the Fire nation launches a war for global domination. One hundred years later, two teens discover and free the Avatar and his flying bison from suspended animation, and he must fight to restore harmony among the four nations.

The series, influenced by Asian art, mythology and fighting styles, has won several awards and garnered Annie Award nominations for best animated television production and best writing in an animated television production. The series also has attracted an audience beyond Nickelodeon’s usual 6-11 demographic.

Scott Aversano, head of MTV Films and Nick Movies, is overseeing the project. Shyamalan, repped by CAA, last directed “Lady in the Water.”

Because James Cameron also is about to film a new project titled “Avatar,” the films could end up in a showdown over their titles. Cameron’s camp said he began his “Avatar” screenplay 12years ago. “Ours is registered with the MPAA,” Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment partner Jon Landau said.

A Nick spokesperson said it also has registered its title with the MPAA.

[Hollywood Reporter]


  1. I'd rather Night do something else, but maybe if he is seriously considering this, there is something special about it. I've heard the cartoon is pretty neat…idk. The news I read claims Shyamalan is still shopping different projects, so this might not be his next movie, but his movie after next (?). Only time will tell.

  2. I've watched an episode of Avatar, and thought it was a pretty great show. I also ordered the complete first season collection on DVD last Friday. I won't know how I feel about M. Night doing this until I see the show, but I do have some friends that are big fans of M. Night AND Avatar. Together? Who knows.

  3. I thought that his next movie was about PARANOIA, like “Andromeda Strain.” Where did this come from?

  4. Chris,
    You are right, he was writing an original screenplay like you mentioned. This just means that the screenplay might be delayed in order to do this new movie or that this new movie will be done after he directs and releases his original screenplay film. Shyamalan was linked with Fox to adapt and direct a film called “Life of Pi” after 'The Village', but left the project for 'Lady in the Water'.

  5. I want him to make movies of his own creation, not some juvenille Chronicles of Narnia wannabe. He is so above this.

  6. I want him to make movies of his own creation, not some juvenille Chronicles of Narnia wannabe. He is so above this.

  7. I've only seen a few episodes, but I actually like the series. It would be pretty interesting if he did make his own adaptation to it. And a live-action?…I'm actually curious how that'll turn out. 🙂

  8. I hope he has some serious martial arts consultants…those are going to be a very strong component of this trilogy if it's going to work. Probably the best animated show out there, along with foreign ones like Naruto and Bleach…and American-made to boot!

  9. I like of this series and I am a little interested in Mr. Shayamalan's rendition. He has shown supernatural movies before, but most were western. How is he going to handle a story set completely in an asian back ground. This is going to be a serious stress of his abilities. With all due respect to M. Night himself.

  10. Maybe he will take the concepts of the series and place it in a different setting than the story indicates (more 'international identity search' as opposed to making it 'asian'). That would be interesting and different. But, from the sounds of it being a 'Nick' agreement, it seems like it may well be a 'kids' thing, in spite of the deep themes the cartoon has shown.

  11. M. Night is just simply amazing. I happen to be a big fan of both him and the Avatar series. It's actually one of the very few shows that I do follow. I'm really curious to see how he would create these movies, because with the effects of bending the elements, his imagination could run wild. I really hope he does this.

    We've seen his own work, I'd like to see him expand on someone else's to make it that much better.

  12. Thinking about it, this could be something good for Night. yes, we all love his style of movies, but they are all set in the same genre. This series could be a chance to stretch his abilities beyond the kind of supernatural he has shown us in the past. And, if the movie is a huge sucess, this will make the anticipation for his own original film grow even bigger.

  13. I just saw an episode on Nick, kinda liked it. This could be a welcome break for Night from his original works. I think this series has the potential to match the LOTR trilogy and the Potter series.

    🙂 🙂

  14. Im happy Night is making this movie! I love Avatar so this is great. Great series.

    You guys should watch it first before judging. Avatar isn't so kiddy compared to what the arcticles say. I think Night picked this movie because the show attracts not only kids but adults aswell. Great movie for the family.

  15. Have you all no faith? Not only have I seen the show but I find it a breath of fresh air on Nickelodeon. Also, I think a lot of you are missing a critical point in this choice of film. The show captures many elements that Night portrays in his original works. Most notably that EVERYBODY has a purpose, and sometimes those most unlikely to lead were always meant to. Also Night seems to like underlining the importance and special traits that children have (i.e. Cole Sear, Joey Dury). Another thought that crossed my mind is, maybe he wants to appeal to a younger generation, and provoke change in them. So this film could very easily hold some moral value and important meaning. Looking forward to it. And for all of you who already have you minds closed to this, remember Lady. Good luck Night!

  16. If you ask me, now we can seperate the true M. Night fans to the ones who “just like his movies”.

    I have never seen this show and I can't wait to see what Night does. I trust him and the choices he makes when it comes to film. This is going to be exciting! Also, three parts? WOW!!! Everyone just have faith and sit back and enjoy the anticipation.

  17. I was really surprised by reading this news and am excited about how Night will go about this movie. But i could not figure out is it an adaption of an animated Nickelodeon series to the big screen also an animated one? Or with real characters..

  18. In the first paragraph, it mentions “live-action,” which means that it would be performed by human actors with sets, props, and everything. It would not be animated.

  19. Wow, what a suprise! I had to read those first couple of lines a few times to believe it. This is such an interesting choice for Night. I havent seen the show, but might hop over to Youtube to have a little look.
    I'm a big Night fan (as we all are) and have faith in his directing choices. All the more power to you buddy!

  20. just saw my first avatar episode and cannot be more thrilled for the future!! 🙂 if he ever picked up someone else's material i wanted it to be important to him and not just to jump on a bandwagon. this story, these characters and the visual bravura demonstrated in this animated series is all indicative of a shyamalan experience. i'm so excited about all of this. best of luck night!!! ;o)

  21. I'm a great fan of both Night And Avatar so theres no real problem on my part lol. And I believe that Night can really pull it off. Coz Avatar does have some episodes that are close to Night's style.

    If some of you want to see an episode of Avatar, Youtube has every single episode of Avatar. Unless they deleted them.

    Episodes .

    Book 1
    108 – Avatar Roku: Winter Solstice Part 2
    113 – The Blue Spirit (Dark and Creepy)( A lot of fans love this one)

    119 – The Siege of the North (Part I)
    120 – The Siege of the North (Part II)(Fans Favorite)

    Book 2
    204 – The Swamp (Dark Episode)

    206 – The Blind Bandit (One of the Coolest Episodes coz of the martial arts)

    214 – City of Walls and Secrets (Dark and Creepy Episode (My fave episode so far))

    217 – Lake Laogai (A lot of Action)
    220 – The Crossroads of Destiny (Great Animation and action as well)


    Lists of some episodes of Avatar for those who never saw one. But I dont know if youll get some of the episodes cause of the contnuing storyline.

    Hope it helps!!

  22. So, I appreciate that even some of the uninformed can at least give M. Night the benefit of the doubt. I can understand the other reaction, though. You hear Nickelodeon, and I know what you think.

    The thing is, as a thinking adult, I was a huge fan of Avatar even before hearing this. I don't think I had ever actually flipped to the Nickelodeon channel before this discovery. The only thing you could accuse me of is being a fan of some of the better Anime on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. I *am* a fan of excellent animation, which Avatar has.
    But even moving beyond the art, this show is shockingly good. It's creative, original, and intelligent. This show is a product of excellent American writers who were inspired by anime aimed at adults but have no place to go but children's shows because the US has this strange idea that both imagination and animation are for children.

    I think anyone who has watched Avatar will totally understand why M. Night might want to do a trilogy about it. There's amazing potential there, and I can't wait to see what he does with it.

  23. 🙁 even if this movie turns out as good as all his other movies are i'm still disappointed at the fact that this isn't his original creation, i wish he would drop this and work on this “Green Planet” i'm hearing about at least it's original, my first name is M isn't that crazy!!!

  24. I'm not the biggest Night's fan, but at least I can say I loved The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable and Lady in the Water. But I am a great fan of Avatar. I also think it's one of the best animated series, along with Naruto. I believe that anyone who has seen an episode of Avatar can say a single bad thing about it. It's animation and story are simply excellent. If y'all want to know more about Avatar, you should check this site: http://www.avatarspirit.net . I don't feel good about it being a live-action film, but I'll have to sit back and see what comes from all this…

  25. Sorry, I made a small mistake while writting. I really meant that I DON'T BELIEVE THAT ANYONE WHO HAS SEEN AVATAR CAN SAY A BAD THING ABOUT IT. Sorry!

  26. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Cool!!! I hope Night will do the movie he got to do it, that will be awesome movie the best ever!!

  27. I love Avatar and I think Shyamalan is a good director but I don't know if he will be able to pull this off. The first season of Avatar is going to be extremely difficult to turn into a movie because most of the episodes are disconnected from each other. The second season of Avatar would also be difficult to turn into a single movie. Although the second season is very very connected plotwise (unlike season 1), it would be impossible to fit all of it into one movie. It needs to be split into at least two. Basically, a trilogy won't work.
    I'm also having trouble seeing Avatar being translated from animation to live-action. I'm not sure it will work. And Night has never done a project quite like this one before. I think that the movies will end up being a major dissapointement to Avatar fans, but we'll just have to wait and see.

  28. I have a seven year old son that loves “Avatar, The Last Airbender”. So naturally, I have seen it a time or two. It is a great cartoon! It has a storyline that adults can enjoy as well. I'll admit I have watched it without my son present. As for the live-action film, I can't invision how it will turn out, but I am excited to see it!

    Relax people, let the professionals do their jobs! It's in the right hands. I have a feeling we won't be disappointed!

  29. 🙂 I'm really excited for this! I want to audition for the role of Katara…but so far, nobody knows anything about auditions, from what I've heard. If anybody gets any information on auditions, please share it! 🙂 I have faith in Night. I'm positive that this is going to turn out really great. ^^

  30. dont listen to all of them night!!! they just think you poop out ideas just like that!!! give him a break you guys he likes avatar and wants to show it to the world so lay off. he is capable of making great movies…dnt bring him down im sure the movie will be a great succes

  31. M. Night tells how he fell in love with the story. He is going to be working on the movies for a total of SIX years! He swore to stay true to the story and setting and would work closely with the creators or Avatar: The Last Airbender.

    You can go to http://youtube.com/watch?v=HxrsPmvMDDE for part 11 and http://youtube.com/watch?v=YU_Mi3gpWXc for part 12 to watch the interview with M. Night found in the Season 2 set of Avatar.

    The whole interview is in 12 parts. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

  32. 🙂
    i think it would be cool to see Night making the avatar.Every time i watch Night's movie,it's always like i'm watching a fairy tale…all night's movie always about seeking something pure in human soul and heart,similar with the avatar story….so i'm looking forward to wacth Night'work on the avatar….

  33. 🙂 I think M. Night can pull it off.
    For all you haters out there just remember that Avatar has some elements(No pun intended) that M. Night is good at.

  34. 🙂 I am really excited about this movie. I've seen about every episode of the cartoon. I think he will enjoy making this movie. Come on, he knows what he's doing. This movie is going to be exciting. Hopefully it wont take six years :crying:. Love your work M.Night!!

  35. :laughing: I am so thrilled that a director as talented as Night is going to direct and Avatar movie! Avatar: The Last Airbender is a high quality series with unique characters, intricate plots, and a flawlessly clever storyline.

    As soon as i found out they're making 3 live action movies, i was ecstatic, and many of my friends are, too. I can't wait!! :laughing:

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