If you thought M. Night Shyamalan's career was over after The Happening, you were wrong. And, uh, not very bright. But I do have to admit that I was among those who thought that his planned adaptation of the Nickelodeon "American anime" Avatar: The Last Airbender would never actually come together: it just seemed too bizarre a combination of filmmaker and material, and James Cameron already had an Avatar in the pipeline. But the movie, written by Shyamalan and renamed The Last Airbender to steer clear of this winter's 3D behemoth, has begun filming in rural Pennsylvania, for a July 2010 release.

This Reading Eagle article has quite a few details on the project, including some set photos that are too boring for me to transplant here. One of its insights is a worrisome explanation for what attracted Shyamalan to the project:

"'The film is very spiritual,' said [Shyamalan's long-time producer Jose Rodriguez]. 'The storytelling is more layered (than on the series). There's a Shakespearean quality about it: a ruthless king destroying a peaceful world. I think it's fair to say it has an almost operatic power.'"


At which point, people like me -- fans who've spent the past few years nervously looking on as one of their favorite filmmakers has wasted his talents on ponderous holistic mumbo-jumbo -- slap their foreheads and let out an "oh God." I mean, "very spiritual"? "An almost operatic power"? Does he have to? Can't we return to the subtle allegory of The Village and the quiet force of Unbreakable? C'mon, please?

I've never seen the Nick show, so I can't really comment on the sort of "spiritual" he has in mind here. If you're familiar with the source material, do weigh in.

[hat tip: AICN]