It’s not a good week for fantasy films. First the announcement that, in all likelihood, Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass, American Pie) will direct New Moon–now it’s possible that Jesse McCartney will star in M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action film adaptation of Nickolodeon’s anime-esque series Avatar: The Last Airbender. McCartney’s potential role is Prince Zuko, and it’s such an inappropriate casting choice for many reasons. First of all, Zuko is probably the most interesting character in the series: driven and vengeful, his bad guy/good guy fluctuations give the story of the three-season series much of its arc. “Interesting” and “Jesse McCartney” do not belong in the same sentence together.
Second, Zuko (as well as most of the other characters in Avatar) is pretty clearly Asian. Avatar‘s creators are white American guys, but the series is set in an Asian world–and its Korean animators apparently contributed a lot to the show’s plot and characters. Yet, from the casting decisions that have been revealed thus far, Shymalan seems to be striving for an entirely blonde, blue-eyed cast. Great. Can’t wait to see them do martial arts.