Daniel Dae Kim’s Sly Remark at M. Night Shyamalan’s Avatar Movie Accused of Horrible Whitewashing: “It wasn’t done this way”

The actor's comments focus on what the show did right, and what film bungled so horribly.

Daniel Dae Kim’s Sly Remark at M. Night Shyamalan’s Avatar Movie Accused of Horrible Whitewashing: “It wasn’t done this way”

SUMMARY

  • Daniel Dae Kim pointed out how the previous live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender got the casting so wrong.
  • The actor pointed towards Shyamalan's film, and how it got so much wrong.
  • However, despite getting the casting right this time around, Avatar: The Last Airbender still has glaring issues fans are not happy about.
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Avatar: The Last Airbender now has two distinct live-action adaptations, from two very diverse schools of thought, especially when it comes to casting. While The Last Airbender, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, was heavily criticized for its casting choices, Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender has significantly improved upon the casting aspect of the film.

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A still from M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender
A still from M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender

Speaking with Teen Vogue, the actor Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Fire Lord Ozai, talked about the diversity of the cast that he was a part of which, consists entirely of people of Asian descent. This is in stark contrast with Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender, which acts caucasian actors in place of characters of color like Aang, Katara, and Sokka, but leaves the casting of the Fire Nation and other antagonistic factions to talent of color.

Daniel Dae Kim took a subtle shot at M. Night Shyamalan’s film

Daniel Dae Kim as Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender
Daniel Dae Kim as Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Speaking to TeenVogue about the diverse cast that made up the show’s ensemble, Daniel Dae Kim might have taken a  hit at M. Night Shyamalan‘s version of Avatar, saying:

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“I don’t think it’s any secret to say that a live-action version has been done in the past, but it wasn’t done this way”

The jab was towards the fact that the film cast many key characters with Caucasian actors, something that was not true to the story, even if animated. The world-building of Avatar largely draws from Asiatic and Inuit philosophies and concepts, heavily implying that the cast should at least be wholly Asian. Instead, Aang, Sokka, Katara, and Iroh were all played by Caucasian actors, while more antagonistic characters were more or less ‘accurate’ (given that they were still played by ethnically diverse actors).

However, even Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender has some flaws

Fans were not happy with various narrative choices of Netflix's A still from Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender
Fans were not happy with various narrative choices of Netflix’s A still from Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender upped its casting game from its predecessor, but there were still plenty of things that have rubbed fans the wrong way when it comes to the narrative of the story. A lot of character introductions were moved up, bungling the arcs set up for other characters in the show. While a few scenes have also improved upon the bending, it has been noted that some of the editing for the CGI looks a little weird.

There is also the fact that a lot of lore has been moved around in the show. Aang’s alleged flying (which is a glaring red flag according to the lore) has made it very difficult for some fans to give the show a chance, along with other glaring issues like the pacing of the show and the dialogue, which focuses more on telling the story, rather than letting it unfold in its time.

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Written by Anuraag Chatterjee

Articles Published: 767

Anuraag Chatterjee, Web Content Writer
With a passion for writing fiction and non fiction content, Anuraag is a Media Science graduate with 2 year's experience with Marketing and Content, with 3 published poetry anthologies. Anuraag holds a Bacherlor's degree in Arts with a focus on Communication and Media Studies.