Archive for January, 2009

Open Casting Call in Philly!!

January 24, 2009

So you think you have what it takes to be a part of the lovely scenery in The Last Airbender? Well folks, if you’re not white, here’s your chance!

Aspiring actors on campus will have a chance to show off their Hollywood skills this weekend.

Tomorrow there will be a general open casting call for extras in the latest M. Night Shyamalan movie, The Last Airbender.

Shyamalan, a Philadelphia native, has directed a number of box-office hits, including The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and The Happening.

His newest movie will be a live-action version of the Nickelodeon fantasy TV show Avatar. The casting call will be held at Wachovia Spectrum’s Bullies Restaurant, located at 3601 S. Broad Street, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Deedee Rickets, the casting director for the film, said she is looking to cast men and women ages 18 to 65 and children ages six to 15. Casting officials are seeking candidates with military or martial arts experience, athletes, gymnasts and people of various races and cultures.

“We want you to dress in traditional cultural ethnic attire,” she said. “If you’re Korean, wear a kimono. If you’re from Belgium, wear lederhosen.”

Another way to stand out is to demonstrate skills such as basket weaving, hair braiding, making clay pots, puppeteering, knitting, looming – “any artisan craft,” Rickets said.

She said the set and cast will reflect the alternate world of the film, and not the streets of Philadelphia.

People auditioning do not need to bring pictures or resumes because pictures will be taken at the casting call. Those unable to attend can e-mail

An additional casting call will take place on Feb. 7, but details have not yet been determined.

Once Rickets sees all of the pictures, she will make a collage to present to Shyamalan. There are also possible upgrades for speaking parts or other roles “outside the realm of extras.”

All positions are paid, and experienced extras will receive higher payment.

Positions range in time commitment – shooting begins in mid-March and ends in July. A role could involve being on set for three weeks, then having a break, and then resuming for another three weeks. Alternatively, one could be on set for just a few days.

And then there are the perks of being on the set of a major film – the cast includes Jesse McCartney and Twilight’s Jack Rathbone. The movie is slated to come out in the summer of 2010.

The lead role is being played by up-and-comer Noah Ringer.

Recently, Rickets has worked on the sets of Tropic Thunder and Charlie Wilson’s War.

“All are encouraged to come out and see what’s going on,” Rackets said.

So kimono’s are traditional Korean attire, huh? Mmmkay, it seems like they’re trying to treat an infected laceration with a band-aid now. The outcry over the “whitewashing” of the main cast has clearly reached the ears of the casting director and Mr. Shyamalan. Though I fear it might be too little, too late as far as those offended are concerned. I admit that it’s going to be a little awkward to see a white Gaang mixing it up with the rest of the ethnically diversified population, who won’t be white.


Rathbone Hopes to Show Range

January 17, 2009

MTV spoke with Jackson Rathbone about The Last Airbender in a new interview.

On the audition…

“It was great. They flew us all out to Philly,” Rathbone remembered of his audition. “I got to meet the other castmembers that they hired on. I got to read with them, even. It was a blast. It was a great chance to get a free trip to Philly and get a chance to meet M. Night. He’s an incredibly nice guy, and I think we hit it off pretty well, and now I get to play Sokka.”

On Avatar: The Last Airbender…

“It’s a fantastic show,” Rathbone said of the Nickelodeon animated series. “I’ve always loved that kind of deep, mythical fantasy. It’s got a lot about the four elements: water, fire, earth, wind. It’s just really cool. It’s a really interesting series and such a cool character. I’ve always liked the show, and I thought it would be fun.

On his hopes…

“For me, it’s a great chance to show my range a little bit more,” Rathbone added, comparing Sokka to his “Twilight” character. “It’s a chance to do something a little funnier. Something less serious than Jasper.”

On the whitewash controversy…

“I think it’s one of those things where I pull my hair up, shave the sides, and I definitely need a tan,” he said of the transformation he’ll go through to look more like Sokka. “It’s one of those things where, hopefully, the audience will suspend disbelief a little bit.”

On M. Night Shyamalan…

“I think ‘Airbender’ has a lot of suspenseful twists as a TV show, but I think it’s something he’s really looking forward to, for expanding his own horizons,” Rathbone said. “He has kids. How many films has he made that his kids would be able to watch? So I think it’s really great that he’s making a family film. I have a sister; it’s exciting to make a film that my whole family can enjoy.”

For the full article and to view a video interview with Jackson Rathbone, click the link above.

Rathbone Begins Martial Arts Training

January 17, 2009

Jackson Rathbone was selected by MTV as one of its Male Rookies of 2009 in Pop Culture, and sounds very keen on beginning his martial arts training for The Last Airbender!

“It’s just an action-packed, epic film,” he said of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Airbender.” “I’m starting to do martial-arts training, which is going to be so much fun. It’s such a mythical world. We get to go to Asia, go film abroad.”

Congratulations Sokka!