EXCLUSIVE: Seychelle Gabriel Talks The Last Airbender
" You'd be hard put to find a more polarizing director in Hollywood these days than M. Night Shyamalan. The acclaimed filmmaker who was first put on the map over a decade ago with his Oscar nominated film, The Sixth Sense, has had a rocky time of following up that masterpiece in the years since. He tried collaborating again with Bruce Willis on the modestly successful Unbreakable, and did score another box office hit with the critically panned film The Village but his only movie since The Sixth Sense to truly resonate with audiences and critics alike was the alien invasion film, Signs. In fact, Shyamalan's last two films, Lady In the Water and The Happening, completely failed to win over audiences and critics like his earlier work did and have brought doubts that the director might not be the heir-apparent to Steven Spielberg as once thought. However that could all change with the filmmaker's latest outing, The Last Airbender opening in theaters on July 2nd, which is an adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.
We recently had a chance to speak with actress Seychelle Gabriel (The Spirit), who plays Princess Yue in the upcoming film, while she was on the set of her new movie, Honey 2, which is currently shooting in Los Angeles. "I'm so excited for it," she said referring to next month's long awaited release of The Last Airbender. She continued by discussing collaborating with Shyamalan on the new film. "That was the biggest thing that I've ever done so it was quite intimidating, besides being extremely exciting, when I got the news but M. Night is the exact opposite of intimidating," Gabriel explained. "He is the most personable, warm-hearted artist. He's definitely just a true artist and he just made me feel so inspired and excited to create this world that doesn't really exist but it does on our sets. Working with him was great," she continued. "He gave me everything I needed as an actor. I like a director who ... well for me, I like to hear every detail whether it's good or bad given right back to me rather than keeping it to themselves and he gave me everything I needed."
Gabriel went on to tell us a little bit about the character that she plays in the film. "Princess Yue is a sixteen-year-old Princess but she is basically a Queen because there is no one higher than her. Her father who was the king passed away and she rules the Northern Water Tribe, which is at the North Pole. Her tribe is a bunch of Water benders, because as you know people can bend different elements. She has this long white hair and she has gotten her life from the Moon, which is kind of a complex story but she is a very serene but powerful person. People respect her a lot and she respects her people," the actress explained. "I think that's what makes her such a great ruler is that she has such great humility and such respect for her people. I don't think she sees herself in the same light that her people do."
Finally, Gabriel had this to say in closing about the upcoming film and working with Shyamalan. "It's very loyal to the cartoon. For fans of the cartoon it's very loyal and the thing is M. Night is such a fan of the thing himself. It comes out because all of the main points in the characters are very powerful and I feel like the theme of the movie very much matches the theme of the show. Stuff like the camaraderie, friendship and using your powers for good, and I felt like M. Night just really understood that. I feel like he's that kind of person, the guy who goes home and does martial arts. So he really understands that aspect in his soul and I think that is in the movie."