'Slumdog' Star Dev Patel Joins Jackson Rathbone For 'The Last Airbender'

Dev PatelDev Patel is on his way to becoming a real millionaire. According to Variety, the "Slumdog Millionaire" star has just signed onto M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adaptation of "The Last Airbender." (Shyamalan has dropped "Avatar" from the title in order to avoid confusion with James Cameron's sci-fi film of the same name.) He'll be joined by Twilight's Jackson Rathbone, and newcomers Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, and Jessica Jade Andres.

Patel is playing Zuko, a member of the Fire Nation and one of the villains of the series' fantasy world. He's replacing pop star Jesse McCartney, whose tour dates left him unable to commit to the film or its boot camp.

Rathbone dodged a similar scheduling conflict -- he is signed to reprise his role of Jasper in "New Moon," but was able to negotiate his appearences in both films, though his "Avatar" role is unspecified.

While Patel and Rathbone might be the biggest names of the film, it's Ringer who will be the star. He'll be playing the lead role of Aang, the reluctant hero and Avatar of the title. He nabbed the part after uploading an audition video of himself performing martial arts to Shyamalan's website.

Peltz ("Deck the Halls") will play Katara the Waterbender, who frees Aang and aids him on his quest, while Andres ("Gossip Girl") will play Suki. Production will begin in mid-March in the exotic locale of Greenland, and will hit theaters on July 2, 2010. If all goes well, it will be the first in a planned trilogy.

MTV readers and "Avatar" fans -- is this the cast you hoped for? Do they fit their animated counterparts? Excited to see another "Twilight" star land a non-vampiric role? Sound off below!

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