Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has reportedly cast major roles for his upcoming big-screen adaptation of the hit Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender. Entertainment Weekly reports on EW.com that an open casting call in Texas yielded 12-year-old martial artist Noah Ringer, who has been offered the title role of Aang.
The two siblings who join Aang in his adventures apparently have their live-action counterparts as well: Twilight‘s Jackson Rathbone has reportedly been cast as Sokka, and Nicola Peltz (Deck the Halls) as Katara. Young singer Jesse McCartney, who voiced the role of Theodore in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie and JoJo in Horton Hears A Who!, is in talks to play the evil Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation.
Like the series, the film will take place in a world where human civilization is divided into four nations: Water, Earth, Air and Fire. The Fire Nation is waging a ruthless, oppressive war against the other three nations. The film’s reluctant young hero, Aang, is the ‘Last Airbender”the Avatar who, according to prophecy, has the ability to manipulate all of the elements and bring all the nations together. Aided by protective teenage Waterbender Katara and her bull-headed brother, Sokka, Aang proceeds on a perilous journey to restore balance to their war-torn world.
Paramount plans to open the film, titled The Last Airbender, in July of 2010, kicking off a proposed trilogy. The studio avoided using the word ‘Avatar’ in the title because James Cameron is releasing his Avatar, a CG-laden, 3-D sci-fi thriller that has nothing to do with the cartoon, in 2009.