Dev Patel has said that seeing himself in ‘The Last Airbender’ was like seeing ‘a stranger on screen’, and taught him to be wary of major studio projects.
Patel went straight from his starring role in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ straight into the derided fantasy movie, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, in 2010.
But it was not a pleasant experience.
“I don’t know what I would like to play, but I know what I’m afraid of playing: those big studio movies. After Slumdog, I did a film that was not well received at all,” he said at The Hollywood Reporter’s Actor Roundtable.
“The budget of Slumdog was like the budget of the craft services of this movie.
“And I completely felt overwhelmed by the experience. I felt like I wasn’t being heard. That was really scary for me, and that’s really when I learned the power of no, the idea of saying no.
“Listen to that instinct you get when you read those words for the first time.”
He went on to say that he ‘saw a stranger on the screen that I couldn’t relate to’.
The role, as Prince Zuko, scored him a Razzie nomination for ‘Worst Supporting Actor’, while the film was torn to bits by the critics.
It made $319 million from its substantial $150 million budget, which while not an unmitigated disaster, would not have left much profit after advertising and marketing costs.