Interview with M. Night Shyamalan, Audio Recordings, Hear what M. Night Has to say about The Last Airbender

M Night Shyamalan Director
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M Night Shyamalan Director

Listen to the Discussion we had with M Night Shyamalan, Director for The Last Airbender

As you may know, I recently had the fantastic opportunity to travel to New York to a round-table discussion with M. Night Shyamalan. Night seemed pretty pumped about the movie, and he had alot to say about a variety of questions. Listen to the entire Round-Table Discussion below, it has been split up based on the topic and question being asked.

Click on the Play Button to hear the question and answer from M. Night Shyamalan.

M Night Talks About The Status of The Last Airbender (1:58)
Question From – Amy of Paramount
Summary – Night talks about the status of The Last Airbender Movie, set to release in 3 months (July 2nd).

  • Night mentioned work on the movie is accelerating at a rapid pace
  • Night is learning and had to learn alot of new skills while directing The Last Airbender, particularly because now is the moment where he is in his “element”. Which is a long time after filming of the movie first began.

My Response – Night seemed really confident about the whole process now, the type of work required for The Last Airbender such as the CGI is all brand new to him, i’m glad that he’s been able to overcome those obstacles.

Shyamalan Talks about the Comedy and Humor in The Last Airbender (2:35)
Question From – Jordan G. of AvatarTheLastAirbenderOnline.com
Summary – As you could probably tell from the Trailers, The Last Airbender Live Action Movie is going to take on a decidedly more serious than the cartoon, but M. Night recognizes that the humor is an important part of the show and will try to honor it. He says that this is one of his single greatest challenges.

  • The humor is a tough balancing act for M. Night, especially because the cartoon show is “Schizophrenic in the best way”
  • Night mentioned how he has to ensure that the movie sticks to the main storyline while the cartoon had the liberty to branch out several times.
  • Night is going to place the Blue Spirit Episode straight into the movie … Awesome!

My Response – Let’s face it, you can’t really include the same type of humor in a movie that you can include in a cartoon, but I hope M. Night is able to fit some of the humor which made Avatar The Last Airbender so endearing, into the movie.

Night tells why he became interested in The Last Airbender (6:56)
Question From – Amy of Paramount
Summary – M. Night was offered the option to work on movies such as Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia, he declined those offers for reasons he explained. He was introduced to the show by members of the Family, got hooked on it and eventually decided to make it into a movie, much to the excitement of his family!

  • M. Night has “focus groups” with his kids
  • Night Talks about how Avatar The Last Airbender had just about “everything he loved” in a show
  • Night has been practicing Martial Arts himself (Kempo)

My Response – Night’s experience was very similar to mine as far as the way we connected with the show, i’m glad his family introduced him to it and he decided to make it into a movie.

M. Night Talks about the Bending in the Movie, and what inspired the bending (4:32)
Question From – Amy of Paramount
Summary – One of Nights major focuses was to make sure that the bending didn’t look cheesy, he faced some challenging obstacles in this regard.

  • Night modeled Waterbending after Water floating in space, being controlled by Astronauts
  • Fire is apparently very hard to make it not appear fake or cheesy, even filming real fire looks fake.
  • Night has been practicing Martial Arts himself (Kempo)

My Response – I’m glad Night and the geniuses over at ILM worked so hard on the bending, I can certainly tell it paid off. The bending looks sweeeeet!

M Night Discusses All Things Momo (1:34)
Question From – Marc of CloneWeb.net
Summary – M. Night Teased the idea of taking Momo out of the movie, fortunately his kids literally attacked him to prevent that tragedy.

  • Night is going to try and give Momo a purpose
  • Night Acknowledged that it is very difficult to fit Momo into the Movie

My Response – Kudos go to Nights kids for ensuring Momos spot in the movie.

Night Talks about Why he chose relatively new Actors for the movie (4:32)
Question From – FilmStarts.de
Summary – M Night chose relatively new characters in order to make those actors be the person you thought of when you thought of Aang, or Katara. Much the same as the Harry Potter movies.

  • Night has full confidence in his choice of Actors

My Response – Best of luck to the new actors, they have a pretty tough job.

Night talks about parts of the movie that he had to leave out. (4:37)
Question From – Meredith from io9.com
Summary – M Night says that when he first went to Mike and Bryan with the script of The Last Airbender they said “This is good, but 10 hours long!!”. So M. Night had to make some tough decisions of who/what to take out and what to keep.

  • June, the Bounty Hunter couldn’t find her way into the first movie, but Night said possibly in another one
  • Jeong Jeong, Aangs first Fire-bending teacher will not be in the movie, but he will definitely be in a following movie (probably 3rd)
  • The Cabbage man will not be in the movie

My Response – Man, that would be some tough decisions, the supporting characters in The Last Airbender are much more vibrant than other shows. And I can’t think of a single episode I don’t like.

Discussion of the First Storyline M. Night didn't write himself (5:33)
Question From – Scott from ign.com
Summary – Night called the process of creating The Last Airbender “Liberating” because he was able to see The Last Airbender from an outer perspective, he also loved working on a Myazaki inspired show.

  • Night loved the entire process of working on The Last Airbender, it didn’t feel like work to him.

My Response – It’s great that he’s having a good time with it, that should mean the movie will turn out great.

Shyamalan Planning on making a trilogy - Part 1 (3:59)
Question From – Rick of ign.com
Summary – Night confirms that he is planning on making The Last Airbender into a trilogy, similar to Lord of The Rings, and closely following the Three Seasons of Avatar The Last Airbender.

  • If the first movie succeeds, Night will continue on with the second movie (Earth, Toph etc..)
  • M. Night said the script for the 2nd movie came much more easier to him than the script for the 1st movie.

My Response – I way hope the first movie succeeds because the way things sound, the first movie is going to be good, then the second one is going to be awesome!

Shyamalan Planning on making a trilogy - Part 2 (2:28)
Question From – Jordan H. of ugo.com
Summary – M. Night Talks more about the fact that The Last Airbender is going to be a trilogy, and mentions his plans of Aang becoming “ripped” by the last movie.

  • I can’t wait to see how Aang turns out in the last movie, although I guess that’s years away lol.

My Response – This looks like it’s shaping up to be an awesome trilogy!

M. Night going to finish the story of Zukos' Mom (0:35)
Question From – Everyone Essentially
Summary – M. Night makes the startling announcement that he is planning on finishing the gaping hole in the story that was never told, the fate of Zuko’s Mom, Ursa.

  • I can’t wait to see how Aang turns out in the last movie, although I guess that’s years away lol.

My Response – This looks like it’s shaping up to be an awesome trilogy!

Shyamalan Talks about The Challenges that came with Appa, and Appas Lost Days (3:44)
Question From – Jordan H. UGO.com and Jack B. LastAirbenderFilm.com
Summary – We’ve only been able to capture glimpses of Appa so far. Appa was a challenge to appear realistic, because according to the Laws of Physics, a giant Bison should not be able to fly without wings.

  • Fortunately Appa is going to be exactly the same as the source material
  • Appas lost Days will be included in the second movie.

My Response – I can’t wait to see more of Appa!

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Comments - 30 Posts

  1. racebending.com Said: Comment by racebending.com on March 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Permalink
     

    Here is Another long un-intelligible Racebending Comment (copied and pasted too several Last Airbender Websites), You can read an excerpt below.

    “Even “Up”, which hit the theaters this week is racist — it features asian boy who looks stupid and inferior to some white old guy. I didn’t watched “Up” because of just that (and am not gonna to — i won’t — the movie is bad cause it’s racist and that’s it). This practive needs to be stopped. We must stop Hollywood from doing this. We must hire lawyers and bring multi-million suits for every second movie they’re doing becase every other movie they make is a obvious and offense in our faces.”

    comment has been shortened by admin.

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    I can’t believe some of the Racebending comments coming through… In UP The Asian Kid turns out to be a major hero… How can that be racist? Sure he was clumsy at first, every kid that age is. It was simply showing his transformation.

    Reply

  2. notracebending Said: Comment by notracebending on April 2, 2010 at 12:37 am | Permalink
     

    I am sorry about racebending.com that poster has nothing to do with the racebending website and has been trolling under that banner for several months now on many other fan websites. Do not take that poster seriously whatsoever.

    Reply

  3. jason Said: Comment by jason on April 2, 2010 at 1:10 am | Permalink
     

    i heard on a youtube channel that some of the pronounces of names in the movie will be different i first thought that it was an april fools joke but it came for this interview and he used quotes and then i found this page and it does not mentio any of it so was it just a joke or do i need to be worried

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Yeah it does look like the name pronunciations are going to be changed you can read more about it here: http://avatarthelastairbenderonline.com/m-night-shyamalan-firebenders-within/ and here: http://www.ugo.com/movies/changes-to-the-last-airbender

    I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of that specific change, essentially M. Night is changing the pronunciations from American pronunciations to Asian pronunciations because that is the more “correct” way to pronounce the name, it will be a little irritating but not that big a deal for me. The rest of the movie still looks awesome.

    Reply

  4. gabriel Said: Comment by gabriel on April 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
     

    OH NOOOOO!! i just found out something,

    i was listening to the audio things and i just found out the M.Night Shyamalan helped end avatar the last airbender!!!!! ON the one called ”Shyamalan planning on making a trilogy – part 1” he said “ this has to end i mean i like the show, alot, but the series has to end at the third book“
    *cries* WHY?????
    I still Have respect for M.Night though

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Yeah, I kind of thought that at first, but Mike and Bryan were planning on ending it at Season 3 anyway, If you look at alot of other shows, after the third season the quality of the show nose-dives. It may have been for the best that it ended at three, even though I was way sad when it ended like you said.

    Reply

  5. Al Said: Comment by Al on April 10, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
     

    Hi,

    In the roundtable discussion M. Night talks about “a dinner table scene”
    I know this isn’t in The Last Air bender but as far as understanding what
    he means for the sake of the interview I’m a bit confused.

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Hey Al,

    Funny enough, I didn’t know exactly what he was talking about, I’m not a major Shyamalan fan (although I really liked Unbreakable and The Village). And i’m obviously way excited for The Last Airbender

    I’ll find out more about that soon. I’m thinking he was referring to movies like Signs where he dealt alot with families and “Ordinary” scenes, or like in The Village where everyone was eating together.

    Jordan

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    I asked Teddy from http://lastairbenderfans.com and he said I mainly had it right, and clarified “In Signs, the world is minutes away from Alien invasion, and instead of showing us that destruction waiting to happen, he shows the family and how they’re dealing with it while eating dinner – possibly their last together.”

    So that’s what Night meant by that.

    Reply

  6. Smiley216 Said: Comment by Smiley216 on April 12, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink
     

    Okay, when i first heard the rumor that they were making a movie out of Avatar i was extatic (as i imagine most fans were). The series is an engaging story with characters that grow and change as they experience new things while attempting to re-form a world torn apart by 100 years of war. When i heard it was M. Night directing i cringed but gave him the benefit of the doubt thinking “Its the first movie he’s done that wasn’t written by him … maybe he’s learned his lesson” but the more and more i discover through reading watching and hearing from reliable sources (like these sort of interviews) the more and more i realize he actualy said “Hmmm … if i base a movie around something people already like i can do whatever the heck i want and get away with it”

    I never expected him to match the quality of the story or characters in it. Not a single episode in Avatar is wasted as (what many people refer to as) a filler episode. And the characters are so deep that finding an actor who could portray every asspect of them properly would be nearly impossible. But it would have been nice if he’d TRIED. In the end the movie is going to have almost NO respect for the source material and will more likely be a real life rendition of Ember Island Players (one of the last episodes in the 3rd season) than it will be an adaptation of the series.

    What they need to do is escort M. off the set and go get a director. Sit James Cameron down for an Avatar Marathon, show him what Shamoo did and say “fix it”

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    I had some similar feelings, but I’d at least give Night a chance on the first movie. You can never tell completely from the trailers what it’s going to be like.

    I look at it as the “cool” version of Ember Island Players.

    Night also said that the second movie scripting came much easier to him so I think the first one is going to be good and the second one is going to be really good.

    Have to wait for the movie to come out to know for sure though.

    Reply

    art Reply:

    Gee. . . all of this expert analysis from a few 2 minute clips on the internet.

    It’s so nice to know that people have figured the entire movie and the entire trilogy out already.

    Reply

    Smiley216 Reply:

    Begging your pardon but … this isn’t comming from just a few 2 min clips … this is comming from a pattern of repeated selfish behavior from M. which has led to a string of sub par quality endorsed by our entertainment industry … he’s writting for himself, he’s directing for himself, he’s doing what he thinks will be cool … for some directors this isn’t a problem because what they like is somewhat close to what the public likes … in his past movies (sub par though they were) he was able to orient around almost whatever audience he wanted … but he’s trying for a more specific demographic … he’s trying (and failing) to please fans of a well established and highly appreciated television series … he may have liked the series and his kids may want him to make a movie out of it but that doesn’t mean his interests are in line with the REAL fans … he needed to take some opinion polls or involve fans in more previews … or better yet get Mike and Bryan involved with it … they spent 4 or so years MAKING the story, surely they’d be able to tweak it a bit to fit a movie format in a way that would please they fans they already know how to please

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    @Smiley

    Read this article, it may dissuade some of your fears:

    http://www.ugo.com/movies/why-m-night-shyamalans-last-airbender-will-rule

    Thinkagain Reply:

    I wouldn’t say there was a “filler” episode… but there were certainly episodes that sort of detoured from the overall arc of that particular season’s story. While these episodes worked in the context of a series; this method would have ruined the structure of the film had Shyamalan employed the same method. It is unrealistic to expect Shyamalan to incorporate all of the moments of the series. Furthermore, it would have been catastrophic for the film had he tried. I agree with everything he mentioned taking out… they certainly would have been digressions in the context of a 2 hour narrative film. It isn’t simply an issue of time but it also is an issue of structure. This is what people fail to realize.

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Yeah I agree completely, how in the world could Night include something like The Ember Island Players, or a similar type of episode into the movie. Still I hope he can fit some comedy into the movie.

    Reply

  7. Anthony Said: Comment by Anthony on April 23, 2010 at 7:19 am | Permalink
     

    DOES ANYONE KNOW THE FATE OF JET? WILL HE BE IN THE MOVIE? IT HASN’T BEEN BROUGHT UP AT ALL!

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Yeah your right, that was actually one of the questions I had planned to ask M. Night but we ran out of time. As of yet I haven’t heard any definite word, but as there hasn’t been any actors announced I’m guessing Jet’s not going to be a part of the first one. But he could quite possibly be in the second one, here’s why I think so.

    – Jeong Jeong (Aangs first firebending teacher, is set to be in the third movie)
    – Night is trying to fit the Bounty Hunter June in somewhere
    – So I’m guessing he’s also trying to fit Jet in somewhere, perhaps when Zuko is attempting enter Ba Sing Se, but that’s just speculation

    Reply

    Anthony Reply:

    but… hook swords 🙁 his part in the first book is important for the second book when he reappears in front of katara in lake laogai! aand did i mention how sexy hook swords would be in that movie 🙁

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Yeah I do have to admit the Hook swords were way cool, I hope Night can fit Jet in.

    Reply

    Thinkagain Reply:

    Nowhere did I hear (or read in the transcript) anything that suggested selfish decision making on Shyamalan’s part. Everything he said suggests an attempt to tell the story in the most effective way and much of what he said about the tone and structure rings true to anyone who has had training or education in the art of screenwriting. He is correct about the humor needing to be toned down and so far I agree with many of the things he mentioned taking out. Also, Mike and Bryan ARE involved with it (this has been established). As far as the demographic goes, he is trying to reach the fans but that isn’t the only people he is trying to reach. The demographic is much wider than the fan base.

    I must also say that making it personal to him is a good thing. It’s a labor of love and not simply an assignment like so many of these Hollywood products tends to be. It isn’t going to be exactly like the cartoon. So what? If you want to watch the series, watch it! Do we really need a carbon copy? Obviously there are things about it that should be kept the same but a carbon copy we don’t need. This is a chance to revisit the story in a more realistic medium. This can offer the fan new moments not available in the series or new ways to look at old moments they already know. I am a fan and have been impressed by the trailers and I like what Night had to say about the movie.

    I was originally dissapointed that the names would be pronounced differently but I can understand that change.

    I feel sorry for many of those working in the industry these days because any ignorant hack critic with a keyboard and internet access can express their opinion. Junior high school students are the new Roger Ebert. One doesn’t need to know anything about filmmaking to express their opinions and the sad thing is people take these jokers seriously. One could say this is just another hack opinion and who knows, perhaps it is. However I would bet I have more education in film and screenwriting than many… and my comments aren’t doing the movie harm.

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    I definitally think it’s a good thing he’s making it personal to him, in fact Night said several times he doesn’t want to feel like a “hired gun” like you mentioned. This isn’t “just an assignment” to him, it’s something he cares about and wants to make good.

    You’re right, Mike and Bryan have been involved with the movie from the beginning, I have no idea where people are getting the idea that Mike and Bryan are not involved (Racebending makes that claim) but they have no proof, while it’s easy to see from the special features and Night showing them his script to ask their opinion. Mike and Bryan are pretty involved in this movie.

  8. Thinkagain Said: Comment by Thinkagain on April 30, 2010 at 12:39 am | Permalink
     

    I have to say that while I will admit that “Lady In The Water” and “The Happening” were huge mistakes (and some would say that “The Village” would qualify as well… this one I am indifferent about), Shyamalan has proved he can make excellent cinema. Both “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable” were excellent films. Whether you like them or not, it cannot be denied that the quality of these movies were top notch and “Signs,” while perhaps not at the same level of the previous two films, was certainly not the film of a “hack.”

    When one looks at many esteemed directors, they can find a few duds. Peter Jackson is an excellent example. “Bad Taste” and “Meet the Feebles” were two films that would have been terrible miscalculations even with a budget. Still, this same man went on to direct one of the most incredible trilogys ever put on celluloid.

    Alfred Hitchcock made a few films that both critics and audiences agreed were mistakes in his day as well. Some of these have been reevaluated and are now seen as masterpieces, while others remain mistakes. He certainly wasn’t a hack by any stretch of the imagination.

    If directors were judged by their worst films, most would be considered hacks.

    The point is a few bad movies should not be enough for people to completely disregard Shyamalan as a talented director (or at very least we can say he is an able director). He certainly has made some good films. I agree those that were bad were extremely bad but he has the ability to make a good film.

    I think everyone at this site can agree that he is working with top notch material. This is a major factor in the success of a film. If people walk into the theatres this July with an open mind, and positive attitudes we may very well find out that Shyamalan has given us an excellent film. We should expect changes. We won’t be getting a reenactment of the series (this would be terribly disappointing in my opinion) but we will have an excellent summer film to divert us from all of our day jobs.

    Reply

    Admin / Jordash Reply:

    Of Nights movies so far The Village and Unbreakable have been my favorites, but I think The Last Airbender is going to blow those out of the water 🙂

    I think you’re right as well, I hope Night pulls a Peter Jackson, and from what i’ve seen of the Trailers I think he will.

    Quote: ” If directors were judged by their worst films, most would be considered hacks. ” – Very true

    Reply

    Thinkagain Reply:

    Yes, it just seems like some people are being unfair to the picture without having seen it. This sort of attitude will alter the viewing experience in a very negative way for those parties. I worry about myself too because the hype builds a certain level of expectation and I do love the series. It will be hard to go in with a fresh mind. The main thing is that we realize it will be different and that it has to be in order for it to work. The key is a closed mouth (when it comes to biased negative comments) and an open mind.

    I see no reason why the film should be without comedy. I do however agree with Shyamalan that a lot of the comedy in the series wouldn’t work in a live action epic drama. Essentially, that is what the story is at its core. Looking at the themes of the story, they all point to drama.

    Based on the trailers, the action looks amazing and Appa looks incredible. I was worried when I read a preview audience member’s review of a rough cut that criticized the action and the acting. However, I feel like this was a terrible abuse of that particular reviewer’s privilege to view an unfinished work. I believe it to be in terrible taste to say such negative things about a film that wasn’t finished. I have seen my fair share of rough cuts and I assure you, they are called rough for a reason! Usually they are pretty hard to watch. Those negative comments could very well be taken seriously enough to warrant some people not to go to see the film. This bothers me when the opinion is based on such flimsy evidence. I for one want the film to be a hit! I want a second and third film. This might not happen if it bombs at the box office.

    Enough ranting for this guy!

    Yip-Yip!

    Reply

    Casey Reply:

    I saw the movie with my son. I find the storyline and characters to be amazing, my son is 6 so he is more into it as a cool show. I am glad the movie theater I went to see it in was only $2.50 per ticket, I still think I got ripped off, but my son enjoyed the movie and that is why I was there. The characters are nothing like the show, Zuko is probably the closest to being tru to his character, but his scar is barely visible, to the point where my son did not know it was him because he said he didnt even have a scar. I think the changing the way names are pronounced is silly, selfish, and narcissistic by Shamealame. Iroh was not only skinny, but he did not act anything like the Iroh in the show. Sokka was almost like intoducing a new character as he was nothing like his counterpart in the show. All around, I give the experience with my son two thumbs up, I give the movie, the title “The worst movie I have ever paid more then $1 to watch”.

    Reply

  9. Jacob Said: Comment by Jacob on May 26, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink
     

    So, the animated shows will be dis-continued? If so could you link to something official that would be nice as well 😀

    Reply

  10. Jamaal Fieck Said: Comment by Jamaal Fieck on October 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
     

    interesting news admin

    Reply

  11. AvatarOlivia Said: Comment by AvatarOlivia on August 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
     

    I loved the way the bending looked in the movie. Amazing! 🙂

    Reply

 

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