Despite his earlier assurance to fans that he is putting his best foot forward for his role in "The Last Airbender", Jesse McCartney is no longer attached to the feature film adaptation. Of the matter, Variety reported the pop singer has to bow out from the project due to scheduling conflict with his touring dates.
Explaining McCartney's exit, director/writer/producer M. Night Shyamalan stated, "Jesse had tour dates that conflicted with a boot camp I always hold on my films, and where the actors here have to train for martial arts." The "Leavin'" singer was actually attached to Zuko character, who is the Fire Nation's evil prince.
Coming in to replace the 21-year-old is "Slumdog Millionaire" lead actor Dev Patel. About the choosing of the rising star, Shyamalan revealed that the 18-year-old was "already one of the guys I was interested in." The filmmaker then added, "Then I saw 'Slumdog Millionaire,' and the kid just grew in my eyes." By joining the project, Patel will be featured alongside "Twilight" actor Jackson Rathbone and newcomers Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz and Jessica Jade Andres.
A live-action film version of Nickelodeon's animated series of the same name, "The Last Airbender" will see Noah Ringer as Aang, Dev Patel as Zuko, Nicola Peltz as Katara, Jackson Rathbone as Sokka and Jessica Jade Andres as Suki. Production is expected to begin in mid-March in Greenland for July 2, 2010 U.S. release. The movie is said to be a part of a trilogy.