Actor Dev Patel has officially joined the cast of M. Night Shyamalan’s new film The Last Airbender.

Patel, who has recently gained attention from his role in Slumdog Millionaire, will star in the Paramount- and Nickelodeon-produced film alongside newcomer Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone and Jessica Jade Andres.

Production on the television series adaptation begins in mid-March in Greenland.

It’s also reported that Patel is taking over for the role that singer/actor Jesse McCartney was set to play until the actor’s second career as a musician got in the way.

“Jesse had tour dates that conflicted with a boot camp I always hold on my films, and where the actors here have to train for martial arts. [Patel was] already one of the guys I was interested in. Then I saw Slumdog Millionaire, and the kid just grew in my eyes,” Shyamalan said.

Ringer is set to play Aang, the lead character, who is the last of a race of people who can manipulate the elements of air.

Ringer, a 12-year-old from Texas, landed the part after demonstrating his martial arts skills in an Internet video that he posted to a website Shyamalan set up for open virtual auditions.

Shyamalan said he is planning a three-picture story arc.

Nickelodeon and Paramount are set to release The Last Airbender on July 2nd, 2010.

By Tessa Petrocco

Tessa Petrocco is a freelance graphic designer and media professional. She graduated magna cum laude from Kent State University in 2007, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Media Production. She moved to New York City that same year, where she worked as the Editorial Assistant and Content Coordinator for a popular film review website. Tessa enjoys spending time with her dog and boyfriend, knitting, volunteering and being a one-woman film reviewer.

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