Slumdog’s Patel Joins M. Night’s “Airbender”

“Slumdog Millionaire” and former “Skins” star Dev Patel has joined the cast of M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” for Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films reports Variety.

Patel steps into a role that singer Jesse McCartney was pretty much set for until his music commitments got in the way.

In the live-action film based on the Nickelodeon cartoon TV series, 12-year-old Texan newcomer Noah Ringer plays Aang, the film’s lead, who is the last of a race of people who can manipulate the elements of air.

Patel will play Zuko, a member of the Fire Nation. Nicola Peltz plays the Water Tribe rep Katara, while Jessica Jade Andres is the Earth Kingdom’s representative, Suki.

“Twilight” actor Jackson Rathbone also stars. Production begins in mid-March in Greenland for release July 2010.