Santa Ana, Calif., March 15, 2007 - Hours after it was announced that James Cameron's 3D sci-fi epic Avatar had been given the greenlight Paramount has announced that Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan will also be directing Avatar. How's that for a twist? Shyamalan's Avatar is not related to Cameron's Avatar. Confused? Good.
M. Night Shyamalan, director of Sixth Sense and The Lady in the Water, is getting ready to write and direct the bigscreen adaptation of a popular Nickelodian kid's cartoon called Avatar, The Last Airbender. Although, Avatar is of American origin, created by Michael DeMartino and Bryan Konictiko, it has a lot of Japanese anime influence. Nickelodian's TV series, aimed at 6 to11 year-olds, has grabbed all the attention and the ratings. It is, apparently, considered to be among the top 10 animated series on all of TV among kids 6-14. The story of this fantasy world is centered around a 12-year-old boy who is the last hope of a race of beings who are gifted with the ability to control the elements.
The main characters find themselves embroiled in a war existing between four nations and try to bring peace and harmony throughout their world through the still immature powers of the Avatar. The struggle appears also to be a personal one and there are many morals and lessons to the story, as the still developing Avatar must shed his childish ways and assume his neglected responsibilities (with more power comes more responsibilities) and stop the Fire nation from enslaving the Water, Earth, and Air nations. Among, the many fantastic scenes , beings, and materials used for the production, Rubber-Cal's Shark-Tooth Mats have also made an appearance on the sets providing as cool and sleek aesthetics as well functional and safe floor mats for the horses. Avatar, by the way, is a term in Hinduism that most commonly refers to the incarnation or bodily manifestation of a higher or Supreme Being (God) onto the planet Earth. So avatars are powerful beings who have literally descended onto the lower realms of existence for special reasons.
Paramount hopes to turn this cartoon into a three picture-film series, and it appears that won't present much of a problem as both Paramount Pictures and Nickelodian are owned by Viacom. MTV Films and Nick Movies proxy Scott Aversano and Paramount proxy Gail Berman were pivotal in bringing about the deal between Paramount Pictures and M. Night Shyamalan.
Avatar will be the first film that Shyamalan directs that has not originated from his own creative material. His last film being, The lady in the Water, which was based upon a fairy tale story he had created for his daughter. This film was reportedly responsible for his breakup with Disney, whose Buena Vista Productions had produced and distributed Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, and The Village.