M. Night Shyamalan sat down to offer an update on The Last Airbender film with the L.A. Times and credited someone close for triggering his interest in the project as well as made an unusual comparison to some very successful films.
“She made us watch as a family and all four of us were hooked,” Shyamalan said of his then 7-year old daughter about the Avatar: The Last Airbender television show. “I was like, ‘This would make a killer movie.’ And my wife who really has been kind of in neutral about my career was insane about it. Insane about it: ‘You have to do it. This is it. This is the one.'”
For Shyamalan, The Last Airbender represents the first time in his career that he has directed a film based off of existing source material. In this story he finds similarities to the spiritual motifs found in Star Wars and the Matrix.
“In the first ‘Matrix,’ you realize that what you’re seeing is all false,” Shyamalan said. “Those are really ancient ideas. Basic old, old religion. This has that as well. So if you go on the journey and you’ll feel that epiphany on top of a great roller-coaster ride. It’s going to be something.”
One point not addressed in the L.A. Times article but overflowing from its comments section is the issue of race. The Last Airbender draws heavily from East Asian influences yet has a predominantly white cast headlined by Noah Ringer, Jessica Andres, and Jason Rathbone from the Twilight films. This “Westernizing” of the cast has enraged quite a few followers of the original television series.
The first trailer with the extended cast is expected to debut during the Super Bowl this upcoming Friday where fans can pass their initial judgment whether the actors talents or ethnicity makes the role.