Aasif Mandvi, Shaun Toub and Cliff Curtis have joined the cast of M. Night Shyamalan's THE LAST AIRBENDER for Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. Shyamalan, Sam Mercer and Frank Marshall are producing with principal photography to begin mid-March 2009.
The casting of THE LAST AIRBENDER has come under significant scrutiny, as Caucasian actors were hired in initially for the main characters, who in the animated series are of Asian descent and culture.
They join a cast headed by newcomer Noah Ringer, who plays the title role, Nicola Peltz, who plays the Waterbender Katara, Jackson Rathbone, in the role of Katara's brother Sokka, and Dev Patel, who plays Prince Zuko, prince of the Fire Nation.
Mandvi, who was born in India, is set to play the role of Commander Zhao, an ambitious and hot-tempered Fire Nation commander. A regular correspondent on Comedy Central's hit show, THE DAILY SHOW, Mandvi is repped by Endeavor and Lillian LaSalle at Sweet 180 Management. He will next be seen opposite Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in Disney's THE PROPOSAL, and recently wrapped production on 7 TO THE PALACE, his feature co-writing debut in which he also stars.
Iranian-born Toub, last seen in IRON MAN and THE KITE RUNNER, is cast as Uncle Iroh, the retired Fire Nation general and devoted surrogate parent to Dev Patel's character Zuko. He is represented by Abrams Artists Agency.
Curtis, of New Zealand Maori descent, is set to play the ruthless ruler Fire Lord Ozai. Represented by Abrams Artists Agency, he most recently appeared in CROSSING OVER with Harrison Ford and will next appear in the Paramount film A THOUSAND WORDS with Eddie Murphy.
In addition, Keong Sim has been cast in the role of Earthbending Father.
Air, Water, Earth, Fire. Four nations tied by destiny when the Fire Nation launches a brutal war against the others. A century has passed with no hope in sight to change the path of this destruction. Caught between combat and courage, Aang (Ringer) discovers he is the lone Avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements. Aang teams with Katara (Peltz), a Waterbender, and her brother, Sokka (Rathbone), to restore balance to their war-torn world.
Based on the hugely successful Nickelodeon animated TV series, the live-action feature film THE LAST AIRBENDER is the opening chapter in Aang's struggle to survive.