M. Night Shyamalan defends his “Last Airbender” casting decisions
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Is M. Night Shyamalan’s new film, “The Last Airbender,” racist? It seems like a ridiculous charge to level against a director of Indian descent. Yet more than enough negative buzz surrounding the “Airbender” casting had forced the director to respond.
The “Airbender” characters, based on an animated television show, are of Asian descent. Shyalaman selected a few Caucasian actors. Then he cast darker-skinned actors as villains, leading to this minor outcry. The story exists in a fantasy realm, so leveling racist accusations seems silly. Yet Shyamalan, speaking to Indie Movies Online, felt compelled to answer his critics.
“The whole point of the movie is that there isn’t any bad or good,” he said. “They immediately assume that everyone with dark skin is a villain. That was an incredibly racist assumption which as it turns out is completely incorrect. They irony that Im playing on the exact prejudices that people who are claiming I’m racist are doing.”
Again, the accusations seem completely unfounded, but we can’t know for sure until we’ve seen the film in context. Judge for yourself when “Airbender” opens in theaters July 1.
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