By Ryan Parsons | Image property of respective holders, Variety
Using Slumdog Millionaire as his launching point, actor Dev Patel is looking to next become a superstar. With the help of M. Night Shyamalan, he will star in the live-action adaptation of the Nick TV series, The Last Airbender.
Dev Patel an Airbender
Dev Patel will star alongside Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone and Jessica Jade Andres in The Last Airbender. Jesse McCartney was originally considered for Patel's role, but his booming career as a musician created a scheduling conflict.
While it might be considered a risk to cast Dev Patel, who remains to be an unknown to a majority of moviegoers, the film's star, Noah Ringer has yet to be seen at all. The 'actor' was cast for the title role after being seen on an Internet audition. It turns out that this kid has got some skills in martial arts, something Shyamalan was looking for.
Sound like something Shyamalan would do? Exactly.
"Jesse had tour dates that conflicted with a boot camp I always hold on my films, and where the actors here have to train for martial arts," Shyamalan said.
Patel was "already one of the guys I was interested in. Then I saw Slumdog Millionaire, and the kid just grew in my eyes," he said.
Ringer will play Aang, the film's lead, who is the last of a race of people who can manipulate the elements of air.
Patel will play Zuko, a member of the Fire Nation. Peltz plays the Water Tribe rep Katara, while Andres is the Earth Kingdom's representative, Suki.
Paramount is hoping to get The Last Airbender in theaters on July 2nd, 2010. Shyamalan has plans for a three-picture story arc.