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Rediff.com  » Movies » Casting of Dev Patel's The Last Airbender sparks race row

Casting of Dev Patel's The Last Airbender sparks race row

August 02, 2010 14:08 IST

British Indian actor Dev Patel's new film The Last Airbender directed by M Night Shyamalan has sparked a race row -- after film bosses changed all the heroes into white people and cast Asians as villains.

The new flick is based on a hit kids' cartoon series set in a fantasy world from Chinese and Inuit legends.

The cartoon has three Asian heroes -- Aang, Katara and Sokka. However, in the film they are played by white Americans -- including two unkown child actors and Twilight's Jackson Rathbone, 25.

On the other hand, all the villains remain Asian, played by dark-skinned actors, reports News of the World.

The Slumdog Millionaire star plays evil Prince Zuko in the movie, which opens here on August 13.

The cartoon's co-creator has already slammed the "whitewashing" on his MySpace page after being deluged with messages from angry fans.

He wrote: 'I have nothing to do with the casting whatsoever for the feature film.'

Over 100 protesters picketed the premiere in Hollywood last month, dubbing it The Last Racebender.

The movie has already recouped its 96-million-pound budget in the US, but it has been universally slammed by critics.

Image: Dev Patel in The Last Airbender.