Why Dev Patel Hated His Role In Avatar: The Last Airbender

Zehra Kabak

A few years back, following the debut of ‘The Green Knight,’ Dev Patel sat down with The New York Times to discuss his acting career. During the chat, he shared his unwillingness to take part in blockbuster movies and hinted that his experience with ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ played a role in shaping that viewpoint.

Released in 2010 and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the film faced backlash from the original anime series’ fans due to its quality and the whitewashing accusations. Adding to that, Patel received a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actor after it came out.

This outcome created a contrast to the awards the actor won as the Best Actor and Best Young Performer after his role in ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ It also influenced his career choices, as he told The Hollywood Reporter years later:

“I don’t know what I would like to play, but I know what I’m afraid of playing: those big studio movies. After ‘Slumdog,’ I did a film that was not well received at all. The budget of ‘Slumdog’ was like the budget of the craft services of this movie. And I completely felt overwhelmed by the experience. I felt like I wasn’t being heard. That was really scary for me, and that’s really when I learned the power of no, the idea of saying no. Listen to that instinct you get when you read those words for the first time.”

In a different interview, the actor also revealed that the green screen and special effects used during the filming of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ affected his performance as Prince Zuko. He explained:

“I didn’t really flourish in that position. I take my hat off to all those incredible actors that do Marvel movies where it’s, like, big, noisy fans and green screen and tennis balls and whatnot.”

Following the 2010 live-action adaptation, Patel mostly leaned towards smaller-scale projects, including films like ‘The Road Within’ and ‘Hotel Mumbai.’ Still, he has two upcoming projects set for a Netflix release this year.

The actor will share the screen with Benedict Cumberbatch for a short film called ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,’ which will come out on September 27. He is also the director and main lead of an action thriller movie, ‘Monkey Man,’ whose release date is still unknown.

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