When "The Last Airbender" arrives in theaters in July, fans of the Nickelodeon animated series will finally get to see how well filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has adapted their beloved show. For now, they can at least take the word of co-stars Dev Patel and Jackson Rathbone that the writer/director best known for twist-ending thrillers like "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" was well-suited for the job.
MTV News spoke to the young actors at the Kids' Choice Awards and learned about the director's personal and respectful approach to the highly anticipated film.
"He's so intense as a director," said Patel, who excitedly shared his experience of being covered in live fire for his performance as Prince Zuko, the fire bender. "And his kids are massive fans of the show. So it's really close to him, this project."
Having an intimate reason for taking on a project, however, does not necessarily guarantee a great film. What might be a better indication of quality is how much effort and care Night apparently put into it.
"It's all about the preparation," said Rathbone, who plays Sokka. "That's one thing I really learned, is how hard and how long Night takes to prepare his films and to really get into it. He had every single shot plotted out, and it was really nice to work with someone who tells you what's going to come next in his vision."
As a result of Shyamalan's devotion, Patel said we can expect something more from the material than we've seen previously with the animated series. "I think he's going to bring [depth] to the film," he said. "We're going to get a more human look at the cartoon, which will be fun."
"What you can expect from the film is a lot of amazing action and a lot of really personalized drama," Rathbone added. "It's a very realistic story set in a fantasy film. What Night was able to bring to the cinema with this is an action/family film that people are [going to be] blown away by."
Just how much of himself has the filmmaker brought to the film? After appearing in minor roles in all his prior movies, Shyamalan didn't say whether "Airbender" is consistent with the tradition. "You never know," he told us about a cameo. "You gotta come and see."
Patel is hoping enough fans will go and see the movie so he can find out how his character moves forward in a planned "Airbender" trilogy. "He's sort of an Anakin Skywalker-esque character," he said of Zuko. "So he's got a really nice arc in his constant struggle between good and evil."
Are you excited for "The Last Airbender"? Do you think Shyamalan will do the animated series justice? Let us know in the comments!
Check out everything we've got on "The Last Airbender."
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.
Katy Perry to become a SmurfAndrew Koenig Seemed ‘Happy, Fulfilled’ Shooting Final Role, Producer Says