Archive for the ‘Jesse McCartney’ Category

Patel Speaks

February 5, 2009

MTV with another scoop on The Last Airbender, this time sitting down with Dev Patel, recently cast as the Fire Nation’s banished Prince Zuko.

“It’s based on a Nickelodeon cartoon,” explained Patel, who replaced Jesse McCartney earlier this week as the character of Zuko, the 16-year-old exiled prince of Fire Nation who is eager to regain his honor. “There’s this character called Avatar [played by Noah Ringer] who can harness all these powers in a slightly different world, and they have different nations like the Firebenders — who can form fire and use it to their abilities — and there are Waterbenders and Earthbenders,” Patel explained.

“[Aang the Avatar] is the Airbender — he can harness air and all the other ones as well,” he added. “He’s a special being, and I’m part of that.”

“I play a character called Zuko who is the Prince of the Fire Nation, and it’s good because it’s a dark role. I’m not playing the hero, whereas in ‘Slumdog’ it was real character acting and performance-oriented. This is [as well], but it’s much more physical, with martial arts. I’m learning on the job, so this is a great new experience for me.”

When asked about the Jesse McCartney situation…

“I didn’t,” Patel said enthusiastically when asked whether he had “kicked out” the “Leavin’ ” singer. “I came on very late, so I didn’t hear about the Jesse McCartney thing. In all honesty, I swear.”


McCartney Banished, Dev Patel is Prince Zuko!

February 2, 2009

In a rather unexpected turn of events, Variety reports that Jesse McCartney has pulled out of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender due to scheduling conflicts with his musical career. What a twist!

“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.

Stepping into the role of the banished Prince Zuko is Taekwondo blackbelt and Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel! Shyamalan on choosing Patel to take over the role…

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.

On a related note, Jackson Rathbone has worked out his scheduling conflicts with the Twilight sequel also filming later this year, and will be playing Sokka.

Jesse McCartney Speaks Out…Sorta

February 1, 2009

Once again, MTV caught up with one of the stars of The Last Airbender; this time they spoke with the live action Prince Zuko, Jesse McCartney.

First he touched upon the whitewashing controversy, his training, how he first discovered Avatar, and his meeting with director M. Night Shyamalan…

“I heard a lot about this online,” McCartney said, referring to fans’ criticism. “There’s a lot of hard-core fans out there [who] probably know more about it … I’m still learning. This is M. Night’s vision and this is what he wants. To all the fans, I can tell you I’m putting my best foot forward.”

“I’ve been in kung-fu training for the last month and half-learning all the moves. I’m looking forward to it.”

“I heard about the series from my little brother who’s an avid ‘Avatar’ fan,” he explained. “I heard about the project, and that Night was directing it. He flew me out to Philly to read with him. I worked with him a lot on the character. He called me on my phone and was like, ‘I want you to play this character.’ And we took it from there.”

He then spoke on co-star Jackson Rathbone…

“He was there for the reading and he and I have been in training together. We’re flying in a few weeks to start production and then to Greenland to start filming. He’s a super nice guy. We’ve been getting along great.”

Again, more generic talk about the film from one of its stars. Hopefully as we get closer to filming, we’ll begin to get some info with a little more meat.

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.

Saving the World with Postage?

December 14, 2008

Okay, so not everyone is exactly thrilled with Mr. Shyamalan’s casting decisions thus far. While this Avatar fan is far more concerned with whether or not these young people can act their way out of a wet paper bag, it seems that a group of fans led by aang_aint_white are mobilizing a letter writing campaign to the powers that be at Paramount Pictures voicing their opposition to the “whitewashed” cast. They have provided an example letter, tips for letter writing, and the address that the letters should be mailed to.

Will you take up the call to save the world…with postage?

Aang & the Gaang Cast!

December 11, 2008

According to, Shyamalan has assembled the Gaang!

M. Night Shyamalan has found the cast for The Last Airbender, his upcoming live-action film based on the popular anime-inspired Nickelodeon series. The youthful group is mostly filled with unknowns who are likely to be household names by the time Paramount opens the first in its potential three-film franchise in July 2010. After an open casting call in Texas, Shyamalan discovered karate star Noah Ringer and offered him the part of Airbender’s 12-year old hero, Aang, an Avatar with superpowers who must stop the Fire Nation from destroying the world. Twilight‘s Jackson Rathbone has been asked to play Aang’s pal Sokka, while Nicola Peltz (Deck the Halls) will star as his sister Katara. Genial singer Jesse McCartney, meanwhile, is negotiating to play against type in the role of the Fire Nation’s evil prince Zuko.

Noah Ringer as Aang

(no photo)

Nicola Peltz as Katara

Jackson Rathbone as Sokka

Jesse McCartney as Prince Zuko?