Robot 6

Derek Kirk Kim on The Last Airbender‘s cast

Comics creator Derek Kirk Kim comments on the casting choices for the The Last Airbender movie. While the setting of the cartoon the movie is based on is “wholly and inarguably built around Asian (and Inuit) culture,” white actors have been cast in the roles of the four main characters:

Avatar

Avatar

Before I go any further, it behooves me to spill some information on “Avatar, the Last Airbender” for those people who have no idea what it is. 1) It’s the greatest, most ambitious animated action adventure TV series ever hatched in the U.S. A cartoon series for kids in which one epic story actually spans 3 entire seasons. A kid’s show in which the characters actually grow and change and evolve! A cartoon which actually respects a kid’s intelligence and vast imagination. Imagine that! 2) It’s wholly and inarguably built around Asian (and Inuit) culture. Everything from to the costume designs, to the written language, to the landscapes, to martial arts, to philosophy, to spirituality, to eating utensils!—it’s all an evocative, but thinly veiled, re-imagining of ancient Asia. (In one episode, a region is shown where everyone is garbed in Korean hanboks—traditional Korean clothing—the design of which wasn’t even altered at all.) It would take a willful disregard of the show’s intentions and origins to think this wouldn’t extend to the race of the characters as well. You certainly don’t see any blonde people running around in “Avatar.” (I’m not saying that would have necessarily been a bad thing, I’m just stating the facts of the show and the world in which it is set.)

Read Kim’s entire statement at his site.

The four main characters from The Last Airbender will be played by Jackson Rathbone, Jesse McCartney, Nicola Peltz and Noah Ringer. Rathbone, who was in the recent Twilight movie, talks about needing a tan for his Airbender role on MTV.com.

Kim, whose book with Gene Yang, The Eternal Smile, is due later this year, also asks creators in the arts and entertainment industry to sign a petition to condemn the movie and boycott the film:

Since the outraged fans seem to be getting ignored by Paramount, I am starting a petition for professionals in the arts and entertainment industry who want to condemn this move and boycott this discriminatory film if it isn’t recast. If you’re involved in the Film/TV/Animation/Comics/Literary fields in any way and you find Paramount’s racist actions even the least bit reprehensible, please leave your name and occupation in the comments.

News From Our Partners

Comments

12 Comments

in all honesty, i wish that boycott every success. i love tha show and was heartbroken to find out that they’d whitewashed it…i’m pretty sure american audiences can enjoy movies with ethnically diverse casts. it betrays the soul of the concept, and it is truly disheartening.

I was already gonna boycott it anyway, since the cartoon is utter crapola..

Done and done, glad to help out.

wow. i feel like i just got punched in the face.

this is absolutely insane. what was the casting director thinking!?!

Wow, there is someone else who doesn’t like Avatar. I am the only person I know who has watched it and doesn’t love it. Though I wouldn’t call it crapola. I just find it dull.

That said, there is no excuse for an all white cast. But I don’t think our protests matter. The show’s legions of young fans are probably not going to care about who’s in the film very much. Or even that its director hasn’t made a good film in ages.

I agree with the protest, agree with everything Derek wrote except I don’t think the casting decisions are the result of racism, it comes down to ignorant executives who don’t believe an Asian cast, or even an Asian lead, can “open” a movie. Same reason they had to put a white actor as the central hero in a movie that had JET LI and JACKIE CHAN (Forbidden Kingdom).

That was a very convincing post. I didn’t really care before, but he laid out a very strong case.

Now even though the show was pure genius, I do believe that an all white cast is not what this movie needs, I do believe that Aang, should be played by Noah Ringer because he has experience in acting, and the martial arts, and he does resemble Aang in some way, but Im signing this petition because who in the right mind would pick Jesse McCartney has Zuko, I sure in Hell wouldn’t !

There will be a protest at The Last Airbender Open Call on February 7th in Philadelphia, from 10AM to 4PM at the Independence Hall Visitor Center.

Independence Hall Visitor Center
“Independence Ball Room”
6th & Market Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106

We are asking EVERYONE who is against the all white casting, and racism in HollyWood to please come out ad use their voice. News channels will also be out..lets make an impact. It takes ONE person to change the world..it will take a group to change this movie!

I WILL NOT SUPPORT THIS FILM! I think the whiting out of this movie is so typical of Hollywood. This movie was a chance to put Asian actors (who are severely underrepresented in Hollywood) in the spotlight. But instead of casting Asians or other people of color, the main characters of the cast are all white. It’s a disgrace to the show, the spirit in which it was created and the millions of fans who love this show. Not to mention M. Night Shymalan is directing this. His career as a filmmaker is in the toilet as far as I’m concerned. But this movie either needs to be re-cast or shut down. These people must think we (the fans) are complete dumbasses. You can’t take something that so loved and change it so drastically and expect people to just accept it. They might not think it’s a big deal but obviously they don’t realize the shit-storm they’ve started by doing this…

[...] against it: the difficulty inherent in making the leap from animation to live action; the casting, at least of initially, of white actors in the four central roles; and Shymalan’s spotting track [...]

[...] Last Thursday, I found out that the four main roles in the upcoming live-action Airbender trilogy would be played by white kids, discarding Inuit and Asian heritage in lieu of something (which I assume Paramount considers to [...]

is there auditions for the last airbender book2 earth cause i want to audition for katara

Leave a Comment

 



Browse the Robot 6 Archives