Watch: ‘Slumdog’ star Dev Patel talks martial arts and ‘The Last Airbender’

07.06.10 9 years ago

While most audiences know Dev Patel as the wide-eyed lover in “Slumdog Millionaire,” many may be jolted by his dark, conflicted role in M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender.”

The British actor was able to use his physical talents — he’s a black belt in taekwondo — in his character of Zuko, of the Fire Nation, though the film demanded a multitude of different martial arts. And for his particularl act of fire bending, Patel only had a month to train, after Jesse McCartney (who was originally cast as Zuko) had to drop from the film.

“It’s Impossible to learn a proper martial art in a month, Patel said. “But it came a lot easier than dancing in ‘Slumdog,’ that’s for sure.”

Patel went on to describe how his part in the film sometimes coincides with moments in his personal life, with critics “summarzing” his life and career “in one sentence.”

He also touched on how the “controversy” around race and the casting for the film isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, mentioning that filming was like “walking through Heathrow Airport.”

“The Last Airbender” is now playing nationwide.

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