– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Image via Paramount Pictures

Image via Paramount Pictures

I don’t think it’s an overstatment to say that we all have regrets about The Last Airbender. As well intended as writer/director M. Night Shyamalan may have been in adapting the fan favorite animated series to the big screen, there is little arguing that the quality of the film was less than optimal. Okay, less than optimal is an understatement. The film was a complete train wreck. I can take a bad movie any day, but when a movie commits the terrible atrocity of being boring, then we’ve ventured into unforgivable territory, and I’m sorry to say, that The Last Airbender managed to build a house on said territory.

Though, as bad as the film was for fans like us, it had to be a lot worse for all the parties involved in the project. Of course, the film didn’t really do any favors for Shyamalan’s career (who has slowly been trudging back up the slope to relevancy in recent years), but what about some of the other talent, namely the actors? Not a lot has really been heard on how this whole fiasco has affected them, but it’s sure to have left some scars.

Speaking during the THR Actor Roundtable, Lion actor Dev Patel (who plays Zuko in The Last Airbender) explained how his experience on The Last Airbender made him a bit gun-shy.

“I don’t know what I would like to play, but I know what I’m afraid of playing: those big studio movies. After Slumdog [Millionaire], I did a film that was not well received at all. The budget of Slumdog was like the budget of the craft services of this movie.

“And I completely felt overwhelmed by the experience. I felt like I wasn’t being heard. That was really scary for me, and that’s really when I learned the power of no, the idea of saying no. Listen to that instinct you get when you read those words for the first time.”

Following The Last Airbender, Patel managed to lock down some smaller film gigs before joining Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series The Newsroom, which lasted 3 seasons. All in all, it seems like he’s managed to do a great job of curating his roles in the years following that fiasco. Sure, he’s bound to have a few misses, but from the sound of it, he’s certainly willing to learn from those misses.

Patel’s latest film, Lion, is out in limited release now. Our very own Kellvin Chavez had a chance to check it out already, and if it’s showing in your area, it’s well worth your time.

Don’t forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page.


Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.