In case you haven’t heard, Aang and the rest of the gang are heading towards the big screen as M. Night Shyamalan directs Nickelodeon’s Emmy Award-winning animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Set in an Asian-influenced world of magic and martial arts, the fantasy series follows the adventures of Aang and his friends in their quest to save the world.
The news about Avatar‘s film adaptation sparked earlier this year when Paramount Pictures’ MTV Films and Nick Movies announced that they have signed M. Night Shyamalan to write, direct and produce a trilogy of live-action films based on the series, in which the first part will encompass the main characters’ adventures of book one.
Slated for 2008, the Avatar movie marks Shyamalan’s first time to direct a film with characters he did not create himself. Though the Academy Award-nominated director and screen writer is popularly known for his unusual approach in filmmaking and bizarre storylines, which includes films like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and his latest fantasy-thriller, Lady in the Water, he has decided to take on the animated series because of its distinct action and mystic style.
“I really was looking for something to do where I could do these cool fighting scenes and everything,” Shyamalan said in the “Interview with Creators and M. Night Shyamalan” bonus featurette included in the recently released Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Complete Book 2 Collection DVD. “Avatar had such a beautiful way of doing that. The supernatural, with all of the elements — that’s another huge thing for me and it’s kind of based in all of this eastern stuff. It’s really beautiful ideas behind it.”
Although Shyamalan has already worked on many films, he faces a lot of challenges in adapting the series to live-action, specifically with the practical demands of the locations and compressing the show’s story to fit into three two-hour films.
“When you guys write a scene that [takes place] in the North Pole, you can do that. But we’ve got to be in Arctic weather for months on end,” he said.
Nevertheless, the movie is now positively shaping up.
“I think I’ve got to a place where I really know how to bring in the characters, and what characters I can save for the other movies, and what moments we can save for the other movies,” Shyamalan said. “So it’s really starting to take shape into a two-hour movie — and I think that will happen for each of the three movies.”
“I think they’re going to be mostly unknown kids and teenagers,” he revealed.
-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of ifmagazine.com)