Even before the public has a chance to take a look at his “The Happening”, M. Night Shyamalan (picture, left) is already gearing up his next project — the first part of the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” trilogy, which he plans to direct and have ready by 2010. According to Shyamalan, who delivered his presentation at the Licensing International Expo 2008 in New York, he will probably only direct the first movie, and produce the other two. Or at least, that’s what he says at this moment; who knows if he’ll end up going Peter Jackson on it.
In total, the trilogy would cost Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies a nice, but not altogether “out there” $250 million for all three films. In this day and age, where “Spider-Man 3” alone cost that much, that sounds like a bargain to me!
Some excerpts from Shyamalan’s presentation via Reuters:
Shyamalan, who said his family was disappointed after he turned down a Harry Potter film and another well-known franchise, said several times that the film’s religious subtext was what drew him to the project. “It has to be something I see God in,” he said.
“I have a low action-fatigue level,” Shyamalan said after the event, when asked to explain why he hasn’t made many films outside his trademark thriller genre. “It can’t be ‘I want to hurt you.’ All the fighting has to have a reason behind it.”
Shyamalan estimates that the first “Airbender” will be about two hours long. He’s close to casting a set of young actors who will age with the story line, but said he’s committed to direct only the first film, set to be shot in Greenland and Vietnam. “I’ll need to rest after that,” he explained.
I’ve never seen more than a couple of minutes of the “Airbender” cartoons, so I don’t feel qualified to tell you what it’s about. But of course, that’s not going to stop me. It’s about a bunch of bald kids with arrows on their foreheads running around beating each other up with elemental powers. Okay, okay, so maybe only one of them is bald and has an arrow on his forehead, the rest kind of look like eskimos.