Avatar to be live-action movie

with an impressive director at the helm:

M. Night Shyamalan is making a rare foray into family films with a feature based on a popular animated series on the Nickelodeon kids cable channel.

“Avatar: The Last Airbender,” a series influenced by Asian art, mythology and fighting styles, has attracted an audience beyond Nickelodeon’s usual 6-11 demographic.

Shyamalan will write, direct and produce the live-action adaptation for Paramount Pictures’ MTV Films and Nick Movies. They hope it will turn into a three-picture series with Shyamalan’s continuing involvement.

The project marks the first time that Shyamalan, who is known for crafting original screenplays, will direct material he didn’t create. His last children’s film was 1999′s “Stuart Little,” which he co-wrote.

Shyamalan co-wrote Stuart Little? How did I not know that? And here I was thinking he was the perfect choice because he’ll keep it dark and creepy, but apparently he can keep it dark and creepy and silly and kid-friendly, if needed. Bonus!

Is it wrong of me to hope that an Avatar movie brings us some additional Avatar merchandise? My son wants all manner of obscure items he’s seen on the TV show, most of which don’t actually exist as toys. (I don’t dare show him that Lego is now making Avatar sets….)

Sorry, I got off on my own little tangent there. Ahem. Anyway! The course of the true Avatar ne’er did run smooth, it appears:

Because James Cameron also is about to film a new project titled “Avatar,” the films could end up in a showdown over their titles. Cameron’s camp said he began his “Avatar” screenplay 12 years ago. Both camps say they have registered the title with the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

How does something like that get resolved, anyway? Is there some approved method of film association smackdown where the creative teams go head-to-head to determine who gets to own the title? What else could you call this movie, anyway? Aang: The Last Airbender could work, maybe, but rabid fans everywhere would complain, I’m sure. Me, I don’t care what they call it.

I just want to see what sort of effects they’ll use to make a realistic, live-action Appa. (And maybe a small part of me wants to see some bald kid tattooed with a glowing arrow on his head, too. Don’t judge me.)

Be sure to visit the Avatar Store for cool Avatar gear!

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65 thoughts on “Avatar to be live-action movie

  1. I heard about the live action movie tooI wondered about seeing Avatar in live action, and would love. But you know it would take away from the cartoon. But I would still love it.

  2. are you kidding, this is probably the best thing to happen to avatar (besideds the third season). Avatar is great and a live action film can only make it better.

  3. Dude, how can you not be anticipating the live action with huge,…anticipationing? Though they better not mess with the whole story.

  4. Eh… It’ll be nothing compared to the third season of Avatar, that’s what I’m waiting for…

  5. OMG I remember like 2 years ago I said that would be hard it they made a live action film of Avatar I would even dream of it and make believe that I was a waterbender in the first season Avatar I WANT TO BE IN THIS MOVIE I HAVE TO BE I think that is so cool that they are doing this its gonna be awsome forreal

  6. They will need to find some Blind Girl to Play Toph The Born Blind Earth Bender

  7. i’ve been in the martial arts for 8 years now, and think it would be awesome to be a part of this live action movie. i think it would also ROCK casting as an earth bender.

  8. i think it would be quite interesting to see what they do with it. i want to see who gets casts as Aang?

  9. It seems like James Cameron wouldnt want to use this name for his movie if it has nothing to do with the Nickelodeon series since everyone will either be thinking it’ something about Avatar the Last Airbender or be annoyed that he copied it, even though he didn’t copy it because he had the name first. But still, people will think that regardless.

  10. About it taking away from the cartoon…I don’t think so. The effects technology is so cool they can do anything with it. Has anyone seen X-MEN??? The effects there (fire, storms, all sorts of mutant stuff) are on par with the most complex action/bending stuff they have in the cartoon. So with that, in real life, it’ll be awesome. But they better not make it kiddy-ish, just a bit funny and sarcastic (sokka-style) but still dark and tense and leaving you paralyzed and speechless at the end of every episode. Or at the end of the movie I guess.

  11. Man all of you who dislike this idea need to reconsider, this is the best idea they’ve ever had about this show its going to be awesome.

  12. i think a live action motion picture could certainly do the series justice
    there’s just so much to work with there…

    also the series is influenced by so many cultures, asian, inuit, african, indian, native-american… that could prove to be ground-breaking in terms of casting… the plot and storyline is versatile and captivating, so that’s right up shyamalan’s alley
    although i’m a bit worried about his endings, i personally love his way of telling stories, but the endings are always so blant, vague, leaving lots of questions, don’t get me wrong, movies can have sad endings, fine by me, but at least try to explain a few things (unbreakable and the village are good examples)
    and yeah well, with all the bending going on, i hope they get ILM and the “matrix” choreographer to work on the special effects and fighting scenes, i mean, if you look at beowulf and see how far they’ve come in terms of CGI, and u look at the matrix reloaded, which has an end fighting scene that resembles a dragonball Z fight scene… combine those two, and u have some pretty powerful and inspirational stuff to work with for an avatar motion picture…

    also, it opens up the avatar-franchise to a broader public, not just kids and teens, but i think grown-ups aswell…

    like i said, an avatar motion picture would be cool, but i just hope the director doesn’t screw up, there’s tools and reference material enough to work with in terms of visualising the animated series, he’s a great storyteller, but, again, like i said, i hope he doesn’t screw up the ending…
    one of his best stories (in my opinion), unbreakable, was compelling and captivating, but in the end, i just found myself wondering, now what?…
    and sadly, that’s a question i found myself asking after watching all of his movies…

    i know, spielberg and kubrick don’t explain everything either, but in most cases, you don’t leave the theatre with a feeling of emptiness or with questions about what’s gonna happen now, you’re satisfied with the way things are, in the case of shyamalan’s movies, i allways left the theatre with those questions…

  13. What do you guys think about casting some of the voice actors for the movie? Yes, yes, I know there’s some difference in appearance, but their voices are so strongly a part of the character… Sure, Zuko looks qiute a bit different than Dante Basco, but his voice is SO freaking awesome, plus he has the VIBE that the character Zuko presents (think Rufio from Hooke).

    I think Mae Whitman can be done with the right tan, hair and makeup. And Aang with Zach Eisen wouldn’t be too much of a stretch… shave the kid bald and you’re good to go…

    yes, some of them are a bit older than their characters, but still… I think it’d be GREAT to have some of the voice actors play the parts.

    What do you all think?

  14. I would be very satisfied if they’d stick to the original and have a varied Asian and Eskimo cast. In other words; would hate to see Disney’s Zack or Cody cast as Aang or Lindsey Lohan as Azula.

  15. I’ve been going over this whole Avatar movie thing for a while now. I’ve been a huge fan since the series started- and I’m 22 years old!
    I don’t agree with the whole “live action” idea, and I am also very wary of the idea of Shyamalan having creative control here. Is he even a fan? Is he going to hold true to the story we have all come to love? Not only that- if it’s going to be live action, they’re going to need actors… and I can only assume whatever actors they choose, no matter how talented they are, will completely obliterate the true sense of the whole Avatar story. Not to mention the fact that Avatars fan base already has each and every characters face and voice burned into our minds- and to see someone else attempting to portray our beloved Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph, or anyone of the other amazing characters will just be a total shock.
    Still yet- there is always the possibility that it won’t tank. I’m no director or producer. I know nothing of what they can or can’t do- or what they will or won’t do. All I know is that if the creators are just trying to cash out on the whole Avatar experience before it blows over- the world of the Avatar will end quite poorly. And that, to me, is a dire mistake. I hope they take into consideration this amazing and faithful fan base they have here. We should be the main reason they’re making this movie- and they should hold true to what these true fans want and what we fell in love with in the beginning.
    I truly hope they do what is right by us and the characters we’re so fond of, and not ruin this most amazing and very entertaining show.

  16. i think they should have asian actors because everyone in the show is asian (katara looks indian), only azula could pass off as cacausian.
    If they ruin it with this live action movie then ill riot in the cinemas.

  17. I can’t wait. I just hope they cast the right people, in the cartoon each character has such istinct personality, I hop they can recapture it. Other than that, BRING IT ON!

  18. I think the actors are American, almost none of the cartoon characters look Asian. Zaad, are you crazy?

  19. All this these people say is true. Totally could be kick-butt, OR could take away from the series if done HORRIBLY. It is going to be cool, but strange to see our favorite heroes in real. He better do a good job or there will be a heckufalotta angry fans out there!

  20. It’s pretty interesting. and the cartoon would’ve done fine on its own! but i guess they just can’t get enough of it. if any of you were in the movie would u not be excited!? it would be SOOOOOO AWESOME!!! i had a dream that i was water bending n it sure felt real…it was pretty weird…

    anyways…

    It could take away from the show…but like every movie out there, it could totally suck or could totally rock!…or just be eh.. It all depends. With technology today special effects would be nothing to worry about. ITS ALL ABOUT WHOSE CASTING! Lets just hope they capture the true essence of all our beloved characters..

  21. Well seeing that there are millions of Avatar fans the movie would rate high in the box office. What fan wouldn’t want to see? I would see it myself even though I think it’s totally bad idea. I mean Avatar is animated show you can’t just turn it into a live action movie. What’s wrong with sticking to an anamation movie? I can’t see Aang, Katara, Toph, Sokka, Zuko and the rest as real people. I mean can anyone play the role of Azula??? she’s pure EVIL. I don’t think they’ll find a girl perfect enough to play her. But hay it’s not up to me, I just hope they do make the right choice.

  22. When I hear about the upcoming movie I got really excited, not only because I’d love to see it, but as an actor trying to make his way from the stage, to film, I thought it would be really cool to get cast in, or at least audition for the film. Does anyone know anything about casting? Like whether or not you have to be SAG, because right now I’m only an AEA candidate.

  23. wow, i could deffinitly play the part of ty lee!!!! every body says i look EXACTLY like her!!!!!!!! I am also a great actress!!!!! i’ve been in a few plays!!!!!!! so, i could totally rock out the part!!!!!!!

  24. This movie is going to suck. I hate the fact that Hollywood thinks every anime needs to be created into a live action movie and I bet the whole entire cast will be white.

  25. Optimism, Rain!
    I agree that Katara looks Indian, when I think about it. With her long dark hair and tan skin.
    Even if the entire cast IS white, there is such a thing as makeup and computer programs to make it look more realistic. I certainly don’t think that any of the characters look ASIAN — it might be a very Asian world, but they don’t really look like Asian people.
    Fire nation people do look caucasian, and in some ways they act like it too (the whole Hitler believing that caucasians are the superoir race and should rule the world).
    I want to audition for the part of Katara. And Adam I heard that he wants no-name actors, so I’m sure anyone can try out. I will also be a wee bit disgusted if Lindsay Lohan plays Azula lol and I don’t know, Zac Efron plays Zuko, which is why I think they want no-name actors in the first place. Yes, it would be really hard to duplicate the voices and unique character of everyone, especially Zuko. But if they choose wisely and everyone stays open minded, it could be great. It means even more avatar, so I’m happy lol.
    Please, if anyone hears anything about auditions, post it here! It’s very mysterious…no news anywhere…..

  26. Yeah, I dunno, I’m happy that they’re making a movie, because that means more avatar, but I’m afraid that some meaning will get lost. To all the A:TLA fans out there- please keep an open mind- if you don’t you’ll be miserable. Also, i really want to audition for the part of Toph, so if anyone hears anything, please spill!

  27. well, im not sure bout havin a live movie thing cuz uhh… this would be a highly anticipated film and I would hate to see disappointed kids and adults *cough cough*. Like if any of you seen Ben 10 race against time or watever its called yea… that suck’d! well i think it did it was corny and not like the cartoon version of it. and i’d hate to see the avatar come out like that… but if they did do a good job… hmmm… i wonder wat the water and fire and earth bender would look like… especially air.. you can really see air can you…. and if its a short, crappy, not action packed movie and nothin like the show ohhh.. im goin to be ssooooo MAD!!! and i have a feeling alot of other ppl would too… am i riight?

  28. I am very desprate to hear any news about the whereabouts and whenabouts of the auditions.
    Unfortunately, all I have is a disapointing rumor :(
    Apparently they have already held auditions for the major characters in NY. You had to have an agent. And they have already had callbacks too.
    This is REALLY SAD…but remember it IS a rumor, you never do know.

  29. If you watch the season 2 boxset bonus features there is a featurette with M. Night and the creators of Avatar talking about the movie and how M. Night watches Avatar with his kids and is a big fan of the show, he is working very closely with the creators to make the live action movie in their image. I think M.Night being a fan could make this a really awesome movie!

  30. I’m from australia, and i;ve been trying, for months, to find information about auditions, and some good soul sent a reply on one of my emails, and said that it’s still in script development, set to be released in 2010. I want to audition as Katara, but the only way I can is if i send in a tape. I highly doubt me for the fact i’m australia, and don’t have the right accent, but Amy, i hope that rumor isn’t true. That would be so disappointing

  31. omgsh you talked about everything i was thinking…in my opinion this movie will either fail horribly of succed more than anyone thought…they are either going to let down an entire fan base of more aged watchers like myself…or are going to enlighten us and show us that avatar was always ment for the big screen! :D the moment i heard about this three IMPORTANT characters came to mind…Zuko, Aang, and Appa…i am so excited to see who or what plays them and how true to avatar they stay when casting…or creating.

  32. I am looking very forward to the release of these movies! I don’t think they will take anything away from the series (if anything they will add to it’s popularity). I personally believe that race isn’t that big of a deal in the movie, people who are suited to play the part will be in the cast regardless of being Asian or Caucasian. I believe this will be the next big “kiddy” seires that appeals to everyone of all ages (i.e. Harry Potter). I am 20 and have loved the series from the start.

  33. I hope they get Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to play as “The Boulder”, that would be awesome.

  34. I think that for those who aren’t already fans they will love the cool graphics and special effects in the movie. However, the first thing about Avatar that I loved was its new take on how the elements are bent and the cool action sequences. I don’t feel like any live-action movie could ever be as great as the show. Yes, I will pay to see it, but I think we’ll have to see them a separate parts of one whole. Afterall, you can’t move actors the way you can cartoon characters.

  35. As much as I would love an Avatar live action movie, I don’t know if this can even compare to the show…
    All the same, I would love to be a part of this movie! I really want to know when the auditions are so I can try for Ty Lee. That would be so much fun. I have faith in the director… But we all know nothing turns out as good as the original, so we’ll just hope for the best.

  36. i really wanna be Ty-lee too!
    where and when are those auditions being held
    (i live in the uk so if it was in America i would die!!!)
    PLEASE HELP!!!

  37. I love Katara, but I think I might make a good Toph. Maaaan I wanna be in this movie soooooooooo much. but im not event an actress, damn!

  38. i really want 2 audition. But there’s no info on how, where, or when to anywhere!

  39. Haha, I love your sense of humour. ^^ Bald kid would be awesome. I personally think it would be a different take on it, and would enjoy seeing what they could make out of it. ^^

  40. LOL OMG AS SOON AS I FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS THE ONE THING I WANTED TO SEE WAS A KID THAT HAD TO SHAVE HIS HEAD AND PAINT A BLUE ARROW (white avatar state) AND THEN GROW HIS HAIR BACK IN TIME FOR THE FIRE MOVIE LOL

  41. i have to agree with many people here, it could be done right if they have the right actors, and effects. But because we recognize the characters by their voices, maybe they will do a sort of voice over dub along with look-a-likes. I can’t wait to see the effects they use for all the bending techniques. I also wonder from where they’ll start the movie, will it continue from the ending, or will it be some random “behind the scenes” parts not mentioned in the show that’ll comp;ete the story fully.

  42. Have auditions started? I want the part of Zuko. I have acting experience, but I recently dropped my agency. Ahh!! It seems impossible to obtain audition info.