Exclusive: M. Night Shyamalan on The Last Airbender


On Monday, ComingSoon.net had a chance to sit down with filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan to talk about his new apocalyptic thriller The Happening, and while we didn’t have a ton of time with the in-demand director, we did get to sneak in a couple questions about his next project M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender.

Some might be familiar with the cartoon that aired on Nickelodeon for three years called “Avatar: The Last Airbender” set in a world that’s divided up into elemental factions, two of whom are preparing for war. It’s somewhat strange seeing Shyamalan’s name attached to the film’s working title, but Shyamalan explained why he wanted to do the movie and what he hoped to bring to it. “It was just the story. I just loved the story,” he told us. “I loved the characters in the story and I felt like I could be me inside this larger canvas of this very long-form movie. I think it inherently had kind of family issues and serious larger topics–at the center, genocide–all kinds of stuff. Cultural differences at the center. It has Buddhism, Hinduism, things I’m interested in. It does have martial arts in a way that’s not bang bang bang, but more about the person mastering yourself and the things that I love. I took martial arts for a long time. A ten-year-old at the center. That point of view felt good, like I could do my thing.”

“It will be tough to keep it PG from PG-13,” he said about doing a PG family film. “It will be tricky. I don’t know how to make a PG movie so that’s going to be much harder, because with R, everything was no problem.”

When asked about the martial arts from the cartoon and how he planned on handling the action, he responded, “The great thing about it is it’s almost like they don’t ever really touch each other based in this world. They kind of do a form of manifesting something and then it comes at the other person and they manifest something. It’ll be great to do it as extensions of what the characters are feeling, and there’ll be much more CG.”

Check back soon on our sister site ShockTillYouDrop for our full interview with Night talking about The Happening, which opens on Friday, June 13. The Last Airbender is scheduled for July 2, 2010.