Shyamalan addresses ‘Last Airbender’ race-bending controversy
By Whitney Milam
HollywoodNews.com: M. Night Shyamalan, director of the upcoming film adaptation of popular Nickelodeon TV show “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, has directly spoken out against accusations of racism in the film’s casting.
Shyamalan responds to repeated criticisms about dark-skinned characters in the television series being light-skinned in the movie, and vice versa, with a simple explanation: the main actors (the film stars Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, and Jackson Rathbone) were simply the best fit for each of their roles, and the other representatives of each of the four ‘nations’ (representing the elements of Air, Water, Earth, and Fire) were then chosen based on the race or appearance of those principle characters, with M. Night making a conscious effort to include all races and ethnicities.
He states, “The whole point of the movie is that there isn’t any bad or good. The irony is that I’m playing on the exact prejudices that the people who are claiming I’m racist are doing,” and goes on to further defend The Last Airbender as “the most culturally diverse movie series of all time.”
Whether audiences will agree remains to be seen until the film is released on July 1, but in the meantime, you can catch a glimpse of the film versions of all four of the main characters–Aang, Zuko, Katara, and Sokka–in just-released new clip from the movie.
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