Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 3:51pm
It’s been a million and one years since I last wrote on this thing, but I’m coming on here to talk to those who know about ‘The Last Airbender Movie” and its turbulent time in the press.
This essay I promise will be shorter than the last.
Well, it’s been announced by M. Night Shamalan in a recent interview that he does have plans of making a three-part movie which of course will reflect the three books (seasons) of the Avatar show. He also released statements stating that the movie will be “darker” than the the light and almost whimsical nature that show has AND that he will address the issue of Prince Zuko’s mom (if you’ve seen the show in it’s entirety you would know that there is some wonder to her existence and at the end, Zuko approaches his father on her whereabouts, but we never see a reunion). He also let is slip that Toph will be ‘Asian’ which stemmed this entire entry::
This guy proclaimed up and down through out this entire interview, that this movie was not based on race. That he was more so looking for people of all ethnicities and that he chose those who he thought would “best capture the character.”
THEN he claimed that he chose the cast he did because he “wanted everyone to be able to see themselves” in the film. WTF?
Ok, so I’m now a little peeved at M. Night because it seems like he doesn’t know how to address the idea of white washing the characters of the show. First he said it was open to everyone, then he said he was going for the rainbow effect so that everyone could feel included? Horse doodie. I GUARANTEE YOU I more than LIKELY will NOT SEE any BLACK PEOPLE hanging around Aang or Katara and I BET YOU that NO BLACK PERSON will be used to portray any of the secondary or tertiary characters on the show. And guess what? If this movie was more of an accurate portrayal of the show, I’d kindly watch a film that had no black characters in it, because guess what? On Avatar there weren’t any black characters. There were dark-skinned people but none of them BLACK. I don’t even think I’ll see people of hispanic origin in this film…so I don’t buy that.
And according to some disgruntled fans, one of his casting calls wanted “Actors of Caucasian decent and other ethnicities.” If you were not discriminating, then why not just say “All actors, between ages, 18-blah blah, martial arts a plus…”
Then he tries to strip the movie of its ‘Ancient Orient’ feel by removing the Chinese writing that we saw used in the show, but rather is going to use/make some pre-historic “oriental” looking pictoral language. M Night, what the frig is wrong with you?
I don’t know how he wants me to believe that Mai and Tai Lee are people of South Asian and “South Asian Looking” decent, when they are obviously anything but. I mean, I respect the people of different ethnic backgrounds for doing this movie- I mean, hey, you want to make money, but please M. Night do NOT make it seem like you couldn’t have gone to San Francisco and found some well deserving Asian actors with Martial Arts techniques…sh*t, Bruce Lee founded Jeet Kun Doe there, don’t tell me you couldn’t find ANYONE!
What he won’t admit is that he just wanted people of a Caucasian audience who didn’t care about Avatar to come see it. Prime example: Jackson Rathbone is starring in a lead role as Sokka. This is the same guy who plays one of the vamp kids in ‘TWILIGHT’ which means that all Twilight Saga and Robert Patterson groupies will probably flock to this film because of Jackson’s association to his past movie roles and co-stars. And the girl who plays Katara is cute, but her last movie was a few years back and he’s probably hoping he can get some time to shine as an ‘actor-making director’ and have her and Noah Ringer (who plays Aang) to be his big-break kid stars. And if that was the case, he could’ve brought in some really talented underrated Asian youths to the fore-front and be like the next Ang Lee
Quite frankly, if I could cast the movie (and note this is a FANTASY casting) I would’ve have the little ‘boy’ from “The Golden Child” J.L Reate (which seems to have actually been a girl) OR someone with that look, and Zhang Xi Yi as either Tai Lee, Mei or even AZULA! Russell Wong to play fire lord Ozai (cause he plays BAD really GOOD) and throw in Jason Scott Lee and Robin Shou for good measure. He could’ve even had Dante Basco (the voice of Prince Zuko on the show) play Prince Zuko. It wouldn’t be the first time someone casted middle aged people to play teenagers. ::shakes head::
Either way, I’m pretty disappointed in M. Night. His logic seems to be wavering and I can’t believe someone with an EAST INDIAN background would succumb to pressures to make his cast white or “seemingly free of ethnic restraints” to make a buck on a show that was pretty much AWESOME on its own right and then wait for the people who will spend their money to watch it AKA THE FANS to tell him how wrong he is.
I don’t know if I want to endorse this film. The previews are looking hot- but I’m not feeling the ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ feel without it the casting that will truly bring it to life. Maybe I will see it, but I don’t know man…I don’t know…
“The End of Avatar” by Jayun on Deviantart.com