I donâ€™t think itâ€™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 weâ€™ve ventured into unforgivable territory, and Iâ€™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 didnâ€™t really do any favors for Shyamalanâ€™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 itâ€™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.
â€œAnd 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 Sorkinâ€™s HBO series The Newsroom, which lasted 3 seasons. All in all, it seems like heâ€™s managed to do a great job of curating his roles in the years following that fiasco. Sure, heâ€™s bound to have a few misses, but from the sound of it, heâ€™s certainly willing to learn from those misses.
Patelâ€™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 itâ€™s showing in your area, itâ€™s well worth your time.
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