Looks like M. Night Shyamalan’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” movie is rounding out its cast, with the new addition of Indian star Dev Patel, the star of the critical hit “Slumdog Millionaire”, the odds-on favorite to take the hardware at the Oscars this year. Patel will join a cast that already includes Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone and Jessica Jade Andres. Texas martial arts guy Noah Ringer will play the lead, Aang, while Patel will play Zuko, a member of the Fire Nation, a role that was supposed to go to Jesse McCartney, who had to ditch it because the role conflicted with his tour dates. He’s apparently also a singer, my niece tells me.
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.
Patel will play Zuko, a member of the Fire Nation. Peltz plays the Water Tribe rep Katara, while Andres is the Earth Kingdom’s representative, Suki.
So what’s the twist this time, M. Night? It all turns out that James Cameron is really directing, and aliens pop out and eat everyone? Actually, that would be kinda cool…
Below: The joke around the Fire Nation is that Zuko likes to run into doors with his eye. He’s kind of wacky that way.