The brouhaha involving the casting in the upcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender movie has no doubt drawn harsh criticisms from both sides of the debate, some quite logical, some just totally – excuse me – stupid.
Joining the camp calling some casting decisions racist is the animatic director of the original Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series Dao Le, who sent a statement to Racebending.com calling the casting moves “a huge disappointment.”
“It’s just hard to believe they couldn’t find one Asian actor to hold any of the lead protagonist parts. Not one? This film is going to feel like some other Avatar story.”
“I always believed they were Asian, or even mixed Asian,” said Le, who was in charge of creating animatics, a type of moving storyboard created by mixing storyboards, stand-in images, and other elements of a scene in sequence with the dialogue, to help animators.
Le confirmed – to no one’s surprise, really – that the show was “heavily influenced” by Asian cultures, sharing that some of the characters were even modeled after some Asian members of the crew. “With the pre-dominantly white cast, it feels like all the Asian/Eastern influences, origins, what have you, were just a backdrop for these characters.”
Since Dao Le isn’t the first staff member of the animated series to cry foul over the purportedly racist casting for the Avatar: The Last Airbender movie, I seriously wonder if the people of the original series were consulted at all by Paramount.
At first, it would seem that it’s only the diehard fans of the show who see red whenever they remember. With this recently development, though, people who don’t see anything wrong with casting Caucasian leads for now patently Asian and Inuit roles might think twice.
After all, these are the people behind the original animated series. Their opinions should hold some weight.
– Glenn Diaz, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of Firstshowing.net)