The important thing in life isn’t the mistakes you make, it’s the lessons you learn after. For Dev Patel, the experience of working on The Last Airbender was so disastrous that he made some important, career-altering decisions which seem to have been working out pretty well for him ever since.
Patel, who came up through Channel 4’s Skins and the relatively small scale Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, felt completely overwhelmed by the sheer bigness of this production. The film was beset by controversy from the off, and this did not make for a happy set.
Patel later told the Hollywood Reporter that he felt he was not listened to on set, and “saw a stranger on the screen that I couldn’t relate to” when it came time to seeing the production in full. Patel doesn’t assign blame to anyone in particular, but rather chalks this up to experience – when you get involved with a production as big as The Last Airbender, you’re just another moving part.
Patel has taken the experience to heart and has since devoted his time to smaller and more interesting projects. If it keeps him away from disasters like The Last Airbender, then it was a lesson well worth learning.