Noah Ringer of 'The Last Airbender' has nothing up his sleeve: EW at 'The Kids' Table'

aang-airbender_320.jpg Image Credit: Industrial Light & MagicNoah Ringer wore his Halloween costume to his audition for The Last Airbender. The Dallas native had never acted before, had never even dreamed of acting, before his martial arts coach suggested he respond to a casting call for the M. Night Shyamalan film. Thirteen-year-old Ringer rounded out our crew of five promising child starsjoining Mad Men’s Kiernan ShipkaLet Me In’Chloë Grace MoretzModern Family’Rico Rodriguez, and True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld.

Ringer, who’s of American Indian heritage, still lives in Dallas with his parents. He recently completed his second film, the Jon Favreau-directed Cowboys & Aliens, starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. Besides the Last Airbender, another of his past favorite Halloween costumes was Mork, which is just so charmingly nerdy. Ringer prefers playing outside to watching TV (the family set is broken anyways), though as you’ll see in the video below, he does like watching DVDs of old school classics like The Cosby Show. Will there be a Last Airbender 2? How does any actor, let alone a kid, swallow mixed reviews? And finally, Ringer doesn’t go anywhere these days without his magic briefcase. Below, he entertains his new friends with a card trick. Dude has a serious gift to fall back on if he ever tires of the acting game.

For more on The Kids’ Table, check out the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, and view our bonus interview with Noah Ringer in the video below.

Comments (82 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2
  • therealeverton

    He was about the only thing in that film that wasn’t a disaster, even if his dialogue and character were a pale shadow of the source; and, let’s face it he should have been Chinese, or Oriental at least.

    • cheese

      that is so unintentionally racist. Why does everything “martial arts” oriented have to be asian? I don’t care what anyone says about Avatar: The Last Airbender, but Aang was white no matter where the creaters of the show got their influences. He was white in the cartoon too

      • therealeverton

        You’re mistaken all over there. You’ll find evidence of this both in M Knight’s explanation / defence of why HE CHANGED the race of many of the characters (If he admitts the race was changed you should finally accept that is true), Also in the creator’s comments either before the film was ever conceived or their “take the 5th .1 ammendment,( if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all) responses regarding both the quality of the film and the race changes; AND in the comments of various cast members re their portraayl of characters original thought of as, and portrayed as Oriental or Asian. In other words the cast, show creators ANd film writer / director all say the race of all characters were not as portrayed in the film so why does your opinion trump theirs?

        Also millions of viewers the world over, including many prominient oriental people were very convinced of Aang’s race, as well as the other characters, are they racist to themselves?

        Your final assuption was about me, I have no preconceptiona about martial arts being to do with any race. I’ve studied both Chines and Japanese Martial arts and I’m black with a white wife and 2 mixed race children, born and raised in England, I’m no racist, conscious or otherwise.

      • Brian

        No one in the cartoon was Caucasian.

      • PUFFYsanjo

        How many white people have monolids and epicanthic folds? Aang has both.

      • FactsStraight

        It’s not racist, it’s true. The actual cartoon show depicts everyone in it as being of Asian descent. The kid didn’t need to be a full blood Asian, all he needed was to be at least half Asian and he would be fine. No one ever said that martial arts related ever had to be Asian ever since Jaden Smith starred in The Karate Kid. Aang wasn’t white. He was at least maybe half white, but he was not fully white

    • but p!

      Asian not Oriental.

      • therealeverton

        No I realy meant oriental. I know, from films and TV, that Americans tend to refer to people from China, Korea=, Japan and so on as Asian, but here in Britain Asian most definately refers to people India, Pakistan and the countries in that region. Where’s a definate distinction between the 2 regions. The difference is all the more pertinent here because if Asian covers the Orient as well as the South East then the Indian firebenders replacing the Japanese influenced Firebenders can seem “less” of a change than it actually is.

      • Emily

        From Princeton online dictionary
        Oriental- a member of an Oriental race; the term is regarded as offensive by Asians (especially by Asian Americans)
        Oriental used to be a slur, so it’s not really ok to use on a US website.

      • Brian

        Hahahaha, “celestial.”

      • kaloalo

        that is actually true – i’m asian american
        please don’t refer to me as “oriental”

      • therealeverton

        Thanks Emily…

        First things first; if it’s a slur, or used to be a slur to Americans then I apologise for any offense. I’ve never been aware of the term as a slur, certainly not in my lifetime in the UK.

        Secondly, as stated above, there’s a need here to draw a distinction between what we here see as a difference between South East Asians (Orientals to Brits) and peoples from South Asia, the Indian Subcontinent (Asians to us Brits); because of the change in race of many of the characters and “nations” from the show to the film. Therefore I drew the distinction between the two, which is a natural one for us here, but apparently not so for Americans?

        The internet is an international tool; wherever a particular site may reside in the real world As such we’re always going to have cultural “clashes” and faux pas / misunderstandings. I trust that anyone who has been, and be, offended by my use of a descriptive that is offensive to some in some countries is taken as it was simple ignorance of another culture. In turn I’ll do my best to remember that use of that word on the internet may be inappropriate, whatever country the website hails from.

        Thank you.

      • therealeverton

        @ kaloalo

        Your comment went up as I was typing my reply to Emily. I hope you understand why I use(d) that word and accept that I not only did I not intend to insult anyone but I didn’t even know that word could be used as an insult.

        Sorry.

      • v

        neither was David Carradin

      • FactsStraight

        @ Emily: The term “oriental” has been debated several times and personally I don’t find it offensive as it doesn’t protrude to any specific aspects of the Asian race other than the fact that you’re Asian. In fact, I know of many Asians whose families use the word Oriental to describe themselves, my family included. Also, because Oriental is such an old-fashioned word you really won’t find anyone who would use it today so it no longer matters. The modern word to insult Asians today is ‘chink’ and it derives from its root word “chinese”. This is highly insulting if you are not of Chinese descent and you have been called by that.So really, you would insult people of Asian descent if you called them a “chink”

    • Sarah

      please do not refer to asian people as “oriental”. that is considered a derogatory term in the US and is highly offensive. Also Oriental is used to describe a rug or an instant noodle flavor and as a asian person, i am neither. thank you.

      • therealeverton

        My grandmother is part Indian and my Grandfather is part Chinese ergo as well as being Black I’m part Indian and Part Chinese, like most Brits neither I nor they have ever had any issue with Indians being grouped under the word Asian (along with Pakistanis and other people originating from that part of the world); or with being described as Oriental (Along with Japanese people etc). I’ve been advised that it isn’t the same in America and made t clear that it’s nothing more than a cultural difference and misunderstanding, despite that I also apologised for any offense caused and apologised again, to kaloalo because my response appeared after their comment.

        To be honest bringing the issue up again, in a manner that seems directed at me, feels both disingenuous and mildly vindictive.

      • FactsStraight

        Being an asian person as myself, please limit your opinions to yourself. If Oriental was considered such a deragotory term, you would not find it in the Chinatowns in many states. On a recent trip, I found that an Asian grocery store named themselves “Oriental Groceries” and the owners of the store knew what the word Oriental had an impact on and told me that all of their customers who come into their store are not affected at all by the word “oriental”. My family, and many of my friends’ families who are also asian call themselves Oriental and it affects nor insults no one. Oriental is only used to describe a rug if you actually add the word ‘rug’ after it. There are no instant noodle flavors that are “oriental” flavored so you can’t describe an instant noodle flavor as “oriental” since it came from asian descent anyways. The only way you could describe it like that was if caucasian aka white people started making up their own instant noodle flavors that are named after fruits. all the good flavors have been taken by the asians so there’s no way that an instant noodle flavor made by a caucasian aka white guy would receive a good welcome.

  • RCB

    Aang was Asian in the cartoons, not white.

  • chiliamane

    Noah is adorable and a very good actor for 13. I hope he has a lot of roles in the future.

  • Love It

    Asian or not doesn’t matter as long as he looks and acts like the charactor. He’s adorable anyhow.

    • therealeverton

      Of course it matters. But, as I said above, I like him as a actor and wish him well. Please though scrap these films and “re-boot” in a few years with a better cast and more respect for the source. The film was so inferior it was hard to comprehend how it was so poorly written. Seriously were all the English speaking Chinese kids busy filming The Karate Kid?

  • Frank Anderson

    People just didn’t get that this was a kids movie. Not that that forgives bad filmmaking, but I feel like people reviewed the movie as adults rather than foir what it was. They never even took on the guise of considering the films audience, and most ignored that the movie was based off of a kids a anime show… and those aren’t known for their amazingly good dialog or plots. I have not seen this film, but I am a fan of Samalamadingdong’s movies (the ones that I have seen). Obviously I am not a mega-fan, but I did enjoy Lady in the Water more than any critic. I will be excited to watch this on DVD once I get a chance. At a point it seems like people make fun of his movies just because it seems like a “safe” and “cool” thing to do. Well, to be fair The Happening was one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time…. but it was so bad it was actually quite fun to watch.

    • therealeverton

      You make the point yourself when you say it doesn’t excuse bad filmmaking….

      Pixar, Hayao Miyazaki, these are children’s film makers and they make their films to the highest standard, why should this have been any different. You haven’t seen the show, although your statement that kids’ Animie shows aren’t known for their dialogue or plots must also stem from never seeing or hearing of shows like Gundam Wing or its current “sequel”. Avatar: The Last Airbender is in fact known precisely for the quality of its, long game, plot, the often snappy dialogue and its treatment of serious themes. Sure it has its comic relief moments and episodes but it’s a serious show. It’s been described as a junior Lord of The Rings and it is one of the best stories, at its core, that I’ve seen. It could and should have been one of the best film series ever made; I do not exaggerate here at all. Taken as a whole it is easily one of the top 5 children’s shows ever made (as far as you can judge without ever seeing All of them, and I’d list it as one of the best TV shows ever produced full stop. I’m not alone in that opinion and I’m not the only adult of that opinion either.

      It’s great that you’re keeping an open mind, more people should, but this is no M. Knight witchhunt, the film is awful in and of itself; as an adaption of a quality source that already contained excellent dialogue, great drama and action it’s nothing short of a disgraceful waste of talent and money. For what it’s worth I haven’t liked an M Knight film since Unbreakable, but I also thought Lady in The Water wasn’t as bad as some critics said, although it was nowhere near as good as it could have been or as M’s ego would have us believe.

    • Shaun

      Frank, have you seen the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” cartoon? Say what you want about anime shows (technically, “Avatar” isn’t true anime, but whatever) but “Avatar” had excellent dialogue and writing. Easily one of the best, and classiest, children’s shows ever made. In fact, forget about calling it a “kid’s show.” Lots of adults (me and my wife included) loved the show. We have all three seasons on DVD, and it makes for great family viewing in our house. It isn’t just my favorite animated show, it’s one of my favorite shows PERIOD.

      I have yet to see the movie, but the reviews, Shaymalan’s poor track record, and the casting controversies don’t fill me with much hope. I only wish a truly talented director, like Spielberg or Cuaron, had been in charge. At the very least, letting Shyamalan write the script was a terrible idea.

      • fluffy

        I agree. The fact that the script was rewritten [and not very wittily either] brought down the movie’s quality a lot. The flow seemed inconsistent and there wasn’t much intimacy when it came to developing character relations.
        Since you haven’t watched the movie yet, allow me to warn you that some scenes may make you feel like facepalming over and over again.

  • n

    I thought that Avatar: The Last Airbender took place on a world that isn’t actually Earth. If that’s the case, then no one is Asian, Native, etc. It’s a different universe. The artists/writers were inspired by different cultures, I’ve read, but if their world truly isn’t our Earth then all nationality/race labels should be void.

    • therealeverton

      I’ve read this argument before and it just doesn’t hold water. As I stated above the creators of the show, the writer / director of the movie AND the actors have all been very clear as to the ethnicity of the characters in the show VS the ethnicity of the actors in the movie, so why people are still trying to find evidence supporting the casting and cultural issues in the movie, as nonexistent, when everyone involved has blatantly admitted that they have been changed is beyond me?

      • n

        I’m not arguing, I’m just not sure why people from a different world would have our races/ethnicities/nationalities. That doesn’t make sense. I’m not a fan of this series but I’ve always wondered this–I’ve seen tons of arguments about the movie casting and I was never really sure why that would happen. If the authors/etc. back up the arguments, that’s even more confusing. Do they truly not understand that creating a new universe without a ‘recolonization from earth’ theme means inventing all the stuff that comes with it?

      • n

        Note that I am also not a fan of the movie, just a fan of keeping fantasy confined within its own universe.

      • therealeverton

        You are arguing. :), but that’s not a negative, you’re putting forward a point of view or a way of thinking, that’s your argument. It still doesn’t hold water, but that’s because of the way you’re looking at the issue. It isn’t a case of saying that if this is fictional universe / reality that is different to ours, say Middle Earth as opposed to Midgard (which is meant to be our Earth as we know it) then yes Gandalf is not British, Neither are Frodo and Bilbo and the Elves aren’t sailing off to America or wherever they go. So to have those characters talking about going shopping in London would be a mistake. However it would also be reasonable to expect the story to take place in a place reminiscent of Northern Europe and for the settings, clothing and culture to be Northern European. No one in the series says anything like, “there’s a lot of Chinese people in The Earth Kingdom”, or “The Inuit of the Northern Water Tribe use smaller ships than us.”, it’s the culture, the language (writing is mostly Chinese), style of dress, weaponry and fighting styles that is clearly of.. “Japanese / Chinese / Inuit” origin. The intention wasn’t to make a completely “new Universe”, (I can’t agree with your notion that any work that chooses to show a “human” world not quite the same as ours has to be completely different to ours. David Gemmell’s Legend series very clearly has races based on Mongol, Chinese and various European cultures but it isn’t any the poorer for that is it? Ditto Lord of The Rings where much is simply pre industrial Northern European culture transposed), but to be able to tell a story using their knowledge of South East Asian cultures and the theme of the four elements. They could have set the series in “Ancient~” Japan or something but they didn’t. The characters are what they are and what they are, according to all involved is based heavily on South East Asian people / culture. It’s that simple and it’s a matter of public record for anyone to read for themselves. I know you’ve said you’re not speaking to that point but many have tried to argue that the setting negates any issue of the character’s ethnic origins; they’re wrong.

    • FactsStraight

      It took place on a world that is tremendously similar Earth but comprised of a whole nother time. How? Religions have an influence on this as some religions have gods that can supposedly control water and the earth. Nature’s four elements have always been Water, Earth, Air, and sometimes debatedly Fire because techinically Man made that but fires could occur with lightning which techinically is nature. The writers based the Avatar upon Earth but changed the way people as to the limits of their powers and how they did things.

    • PUFFYsanjo

      “I thought that Avatar: The Last Airbender took place on a world that isn’t actually Earth. If that’s the case, then no one is Asian, Native, etc. It’s a different universe.”

      Too bad that someone who worked on the show had this to say:

      “We went out to lunch and started talking about the show, how the story takes place in an alternate world and the characters. Everyone is ethnic…Asian, but not from any specific Asian country. It was kind of like a non-descriptive ethnicity.”
      -Benjamin Wynn of The Track Team

      Who are you to say what fantasy writers should and shouldn’t do? Are you a fantasy writer? Any good one will write based on real life to add depth and believability to their worlds.

      Ask yourself why the main characters, even the fictional elves and dwarves, of The Lord of the Rings were white despite being in a different world. The elves and dwarves should have been blue, but the main characters are white because it’s a European fantasy set in another world. Then, when there’s an Asian version of this, the heroes are… also white? What?

      The people of fantasy stories will resemble the people of Earth who are tied to the cultures used in the fantasy world. Avatar’s characters are fantasy, but they look like our world’s Asian people, and they practice a mish-mash of Asian cultures. They’re not some weird blue mutated kitten-octopuses that shoot laserbeams out of their eyes.

      • quiggly

        Benjamin Wynn wasn’t a creator of the show, so please don’t call him one, thanks.

      • PUFFYsanjo

        “Benjamin Wynn wasn’t a creator of the show, so please don’t call him one, thanks.”

        You missed the part where I typed “Too bad that someone who *************worked on the show************* had this to say”

        Point out where I called him a creator, ya dimwit.

  • Mr. Holloway

    “Mixed reviews”? “Last Airbender” WISHES it had gotten mixed reviews!

    • therealeverton

      Lol. Indeed.

    • fluffy

      total agreement

  • Shiny

    They are adorable kids!

  • Shiny

    Last Airbender for some reason didn’t have the humor of the show for some reason. The show’s humor is a big of its charm; if they do another they’ve got to bring the yuks that the little ones are expecting to see.

    • Shaun

      Excellent point. Shyamalan, who claims to be a fan of the cartoon, completely missed the point (if all those negative reviews can be believed). I haven’t see the movie yet (I might Netflix it), but so many reviews talked about how joyless and dreary the movie was. The “Avatar” cartoon certainly had its dark moments, but it also had moments of great joy, humor, whimsy and a sense of wonder that can’t be left out. Let’s see Aang go penguin sledding, let’s hear Sokka’s wisecracks and Iroh’s bemusement over how seriously Zuko takes himself. Oh, and bring in the Cabbage Man too!

      • fluffy

        It made me upset to find that all the witty humor was gone. Shyamalan claimed that the lack of humor was due to the “wartime scenario”, however, that shouldn’t have caused the absence of comedy, especially considering the fact that this was based off a children’s show. Introducing such a dark tone for easily imprinted children is not the best thing to do in a movie meant to entertain minds of all ages.

  • stickittotheman

    My god, this is the worst comment section ever. You guys are so lame. Oriental vs. Asian? Seriously?

  • autumn

    where can i find noah ringer photos with chloe moretz and the other actress and actor thanks

  • cam

    I had no idea “Oriental” was an insensative slur. Good to know. I just never used it because it’s such an old-fashoned word. Interesting the things you learn at E.W.com.

    • FactsStraight

      It actually isn’t. I am “oriental” or Asian American, depending on how you want to say it. I don’t get offended when people call me Oriental unless it’s meant as an insult. The reason why some people think that Oriental is an insensitive slur is because it was often used to depict the small eyes many Asians have. My mother (who is also asian) calls herself and our whole family Oriental and my whole family says Oriental too. If you really want to get into Asian racial insensitive slurs, “chink” is about the biggest one out there invented. I get highly upset when people call me “chink” because not only is it disrespectful, it also derives from its root word “Chinese” so to other people of different Asian descent it’s also highly insulting.

  • Koko

    Ahhh Mr. Ringer is so awesome! Stay flamin and nanoo nanoo!

  • pat

    the last airbender is one of the worst movies i’ve ever seen, it was q

  • quiggly

    If you study animation, you’ll be taught something that has been confirmed through countless tests:
    cartoon characters are perceived as both male and the race dominant in the culture. In the United States, that is “white”. In Japan, the same character is “Japanese.” In order to convince someone your character is female, or another race, they have to look excessively female, or you have to be told directly they are female or another race. That is a key reason animated films do well internationally, the characters can be perceived as “white” in one country, and “Asian” in another, without any changes to the cartoon. Note that your race makes no difference, only what race is dominant in your society makes a difference.

    The creators have specifically said that they did not try to base any Nation on one culture, but used a combination of different cultures (There were European and African influences in the show, did you know that?) Because the natural reaction to a cartoon character is to assume they are male and the dominant race of a culture, Aang was perceived as white by many American kids. Other kids decided parts of the show were a “marker” that identified Aang as being Asian. So please stop saying that little kids (or even adults) that thought Aang was white are racists. It’s just a difference of perception.

    • WRong

      This is wrong on so many levels. People who identify Aang as being anything other than Asian need to have their heads examined. Its like watching Fullmetal Alchemist and arguing that Edward Elric is somehow Japanese when the entire Anime/Manga is based on Western European culture. The inability to differentiate your own ethnicity from what you are percieving is infantile in youth and bigoted in adulthood.

      • quiggly

        When someone from the United States sees a stick figure, it’s male. It takes a skirt to make it “female.” This is the principle behind bathroom signs. In addition, people will assume both of those stick figures are the race that is dominant in their culture. It’s true of smiley faces as well. It’s true of any depiction of a human being. You can deny it all you want, it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

      • TheRealEverton

        I wasn’t aware that anyone ever bothered to assign any race to a stick figure, how daft.

        Also I’m sure some people assign a race to characters that isn’t either the obvious or the implied race, but that most likely says more about them than anything else. My children don’t and neither do I or my wife. Not sure a lot of other people I know go either, bug I’ll run a poll and see.

        Also animated films, American animated films, do well internationally because of the lack of dubbing issues or need for subtitles and also for their huge marketing. See the relatively average box office for reknowned master Hayao Miyazzki’s films in America and other countries, not to mention countless others for the lie to that argument. I’m sure Africa and Asia are full of people who think Woody, Aang, the little Mermaid or Shrek and Fiona are black, or Indian too.

      • quiggly

        The key is animated characters must be “marked”.

        For example, let’s say you make a character that is a mouse, and it’s gender neutral. It will be perceived as male. You have to add something “feminine” to “mark” it as female. Things like a bow, a long eyelash, or a feminine voice (in animation) will make the viewer “mark” the character as female.

        If a character in animation has light skin, than the skin color will be a marker. If the character has a darker skin tone, that will be a “marker”. Look at “Dora the Explorer” – her skin tone is a marker, but her ethnicity isn’t immediately clear from a static picture. It takes additional “markers” for you to know she is Hispanic.

        In the last Airbender, Aang’s name and clothing are “markers” for some people that identify him as Asian. For other people, his eye shape and color mark him as “non Asian”. It depends on the interpretation of the characters “markers”.

        It is clear from fan discussion boards that there were fans who saw Aang as different races, depending on which “markers” they thought defined his ethnicity the strongest.

      • quiggly

        Here are some other examples. Think about what marks the character as a certain race.
        *Some people perceive “Po” from Kung Fu Panda as being racially Asian, even though he is a Panda.
        *Many people perceived Jar Jar Binks as being “black” even though he is an alien.
        *Sebastian, a crab from the little Mermaid, was seen as Jamaican.
        *The Crows from Dumbo are seen as being African American.
        For every person who thought these characters were a certain race, there is someone who disagrees.

        The comments don’t allow links, so you’ll have to google “Anime film characters: Do we perceive the intended race, or our own?” This is a study that shows the effect of assuming characters are the dominate race of your society, unless there is a “marker” that the viewer recognizes.

      • Fowad

        “When someone from the United States sees a stick figure, it’s male. It takes a skirt to make it “female.” This is the principle behind bathroom signs. In addition, people will assume both of those stick figures are the race that is dominant in their culture. It’s true of smiley faces as well. It’s true of any depiction of a human being. You can deny it all you want, it doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

        Hmm, in that case if you have a character dressed in authentic inuit clothing, he is inuit, no? he then goes on to say:

    • fluffy

      I think the point really is that the casting avoided people of certain ethnic descent, and the fact that no one in the creation of the film had any opposition to how the cast was selected is the issue. While yes, it’s true that generally people will subconsciously aim to see the lead role of a movie as their own race, it doesn’t make up for the fact that people [that had watched the show] didn’t care that everybody was Asian, so it shouldn’t matter if everyone or the majority of lead roles in the movie were Asian. They were given the choice to enlist Dante Basco as Zuko for the movie [because he had actually auditioned for the role], however they still didn’t cast him.
      If Shyamalayn really wanted to avoid any ethnic controversy, he should have just had everyone be of any race and not primarily focus on what they looked like and more of acting level. [let's be honest, there were a few characters that could have been better portrayed than they were]

      • quiggly

        Fluffy –
        I understand the issues of color-ism that are problematic in the film, however, there are people who assert that everyone in the film was clearly a specific race, and it’s racist that the casting was different. The problem with that argument is that not all the characters in the film weren’t clearly a specific race to even a majority of the viewers.

        I’ve also started to see people commenting that if you take any Japanese property – horror filmes, anime, book, comic book, and make an American movie adaption, the movie adaption must feature all Asian characters or it’s racist.

        If the Japanese made a live Full Metal Alchemist live-action movie, everyone in the cast would be Japanese. When Japan made Paranormal Activity 2 (they made their own) the cast is Japanese because they moved it to Japan. I don’t think the Japanese are racist to do so, and I don’t think the reverse is racist either.

      • TheRealEverton

        quiggly | 11/13/10, 12:15am

        That’s a non argument, a fairly obvious one too. It’s not racist to change the nationalities etc when transferring a story from one culture / country to another. West side story isn’t racist to Italians; neither of the War of The Worlds movies are somehow a sligt to my fellow Englishmen and certainly not The Ring to Ringu or Ran, or Throne of Blood, or The Departed. What you could argue is that I’n taking the decision to make a live action Akira maybe it’d be ‘nice’ to keep the main protagonists, at least, as Japanese. However I don’t see changes as racist.

        What you have here are 2 ( at least) very different things: first of all it is an American show in The first place, an American show that showcases Asian culture and characters, still a rarity AND made by the SAME parent company In the same parent country, same language etc. This was a very rare opportunity to showcase Asian talents in a major Hollywood movie; the chance was not so much spurned as spat upon.

        The 2nd key proof is the Nick Fury argument. Basically wherein some characters having their race changed from the “dominant” race to a minority race ( for example Nick Fury going from White I’n old school Marvel comics to Black in Ultimate Marvel comics & subsequently all filmed Marvel entertainment) is often acceptable, & often ‘necessary’, but changing an already underrepresented demo to the dominant race, as I’n Airbender, is seen as far more damaging. It isn’t too hard to see why either. Having Sulu played by a Korean actor was acceptable, especially with Takei’s blessing, but do you honestly believe it would have been ok, or justifiable, to have Sulu & Uhura played by Brad Pitt and Dakota Fanning? Or for Matt Damon to play Alex Cross? Heimdal, a White Norse God (actually an Alien) is being played by Idris Elba, now giving the comic book portrayal of Asgardian gods as more like aliens than true deities there’s perhaps not as much to moan about as a minority of Thor fan(atic)s would seem to think. Given that the Asgardians have long had the ‘Mongol’ ‘ Hogun I’n their midst there’s even less.
        Anyway the point is taking away characters from a massively underserved demo in mainstream Hollywood is I’n no way comparable to Japanese casting I’n Japanese versions of American or British stories / films, anymore than having the characters I’n True Lies, 12 Monkeys, The Birdcage, The Assassain or Taxi be American and not French is the dame as making all your heroes White, the people they live with Asian etc and the bad guys all darker still.

    • PUFFYsanjo

      So what if there were non-Asian cultures in the show? They were still all Asian people. Did you read the art book? “Chong and Moku were our ancient Asian version of hippies.” Not only does this show that the creators see race in their show, but also that they took a non-Asian element and made it Asian. I guess Disney’s Aladdin isn’t an Arabian story anymore because Genie did a Rodney Dangerfield impression.

      • quiggly

        It’s key here to recognize that children watching the show didn’t think the characters were Asian. Some may have, but most didn’t. Kids saw Aang as white, and Katara and Sokka as Hispanic, Indian, Native American, Black, etc. That’s why I agree the color-ism is a problem, but you can’t argue all the characters “were Asian” when only a few fans saw them as Asian.

        M. Night has come out and said that his kids, his friends kids, etc, didn’t see the characters as East Asian. So it never occurred to the creators of the film that they should be doing so, and it only came up after the casting was announced.

        Watch the Season 1 DVD documentary, the Asian cultural elements only came into play because they decided to add Martial Arts into the mix. Originally it was going to be post-apocalyptic with Aang away for 1000 years during the apocalypse. Aang’s original character design wasn’t designed to be Asian. They only changed his clothing after they added the cultural elements. The show is a mix between East and West, but people like to ignore the “west” parts. You notice that you skipped the “hippies” part of that sentence? How much more East-West combination can you get?

        As far as the Norse gods go – According to Norse Legends Odin came from Central Asia.

        Comparisons to Japanese film is valid, because whites are a bigger minority in Japan now than Asians were a minority in the US in the 1950s.

      • quiggly

        It’s key here to recognize that children watching the show didn’t think the characters were Asian. Some may have, but most didn’t. Kids saw Aang as white, and Katara and Sokka as Hispanic, Indian, Native American, Black, etc. That’s why I agree the color-ism is a problem, but you can’t argue all the characters “were Asian” when only a few fans saw them as Asian.

      • quiggly

        Watch the Season 1 DVD documentary, the Asian cultural elements only came into play because they decided to add Martial Arts into the mix. Originally it was going to be post-apocalyptic with Aang away for 1000 years during the apocalypse. The only change they made aftwards to Aang’s character design was his clothing. The show is a mix between East and West, but people like to ignore the “west” parts. You notice that you skipped the “hippies” part of that sentence? It’s a perfect example of East meets West.

      • TheRealEverton

        If that’s true, and I have no idea what leads you to think it is, it isn’t my experience and I know of very few viewers, of any age who saw the characters as anything other than what we here describe as Oriental ( see top of thread for more details please) then you still miss the point, I’n the same way that those who try to argue Aang is White etc. The creators and makers of the show tell us what ‘effective’ race the characters are and they are Asian (Chinese etc), the actors chosen talk about how they approached playing characters of a different race to their own AND / OR races different to the source and fan expectations AND the director of the movie explained his CHANGES more than once. Everyone involved knows they were effectively Asian so why do you think your opinion trumps that of those who created the thing?

        It doesn’t matter if children under 7 don’t think Cpt Jack Harkness ( Dr Who) is bi-sexual or omni-sexual or whatever it doesn’t change the fact that he is written as such! although the more you see him the more he seems to be moving towards just being gay. People might think Wolverine is American, many do, but he isn’t.

        You may be able to argue an inference or an impression of American for Wolverine or (lord knows how) white for Aang but when everyone I’n possession of facts or creative rights says otherwise, why argue?

      • quiggly

        I argue because the director clearly said his children, and his children’s friends, and his family, etc, didn’t see the characters as East Asian. They saw many different ethnicities. That is the basis of the breakdown – some people see them as Asian, others didn’t. If you can’t recognize that, you’ll never understand how the issue came up.

        It has everything to do with the way that cartoon characters are perceived by viewers.

      • PUFFYsanjo

        Quiggly, are you commenting to me about the hippies part? If you are, I brought up the hippies bit to PROVE that the western elements do not matter because they have been “Asianized.” So, how exactly did I “skip” that part when I used it particularly BECAUSE of it? Chong and Moku are hippies, just (ancient) ASIAN ones.

        Also, Aang was referred to as “Buddha Boy,” even before the martial arts stuff, when the story was a post-apocalyptic future world, so I don’t know how that makes him not Asian. Even in the early concepts he was Buddha Boy.

Page: 1 2
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP