Thursday, February 5, 2009

Shyamalan Casts Slumdog Star Dev Patel for Airbender

By Hugh Hart


It didn't take long for Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel to go Hollywood. M. Night Shyamalan has cast the 18-year-old actor for his supernatural martial-arts movie The Last Airbender, which begins filming in Greenland next month.

"Patel was already one of the guys I was interested in," Shyamalan told Variety. "Then I saw Slumdog Millionaire, and the kid just grew in my eyes."

The movie is the first in a planned trilogy that Shyamalan is writing, directing and producing based on Emmy-winning animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Patel replaces actor/musician Jesse McCartney, who decided to skip Shyamalan's martial-arts "boot camp" for the movie to do tour dates, according to Variety.

The casting marks a speedy trajectory for Patel (pictured with Slumdog co-star Freida Pinto), but pales next to the out-of-nowhere momentum enjoyed by Noah Ringer. The 12-year-old Texan, who stars in the movie as air-manipulator Aang, got hired after submitted a video showcasing his martial arts skills to a website Shyamalan set up for virtual auditions.

Original here

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