Shut Up and Talk: Dante Basco

The Avatar star talks about film life, Robin Williams, and YES, even the Last Airbender movie!

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

44 comments

  1. I agree with Dante, Avatar the Movie should have used Asian Actors and definitely used him in the film.
    They should have also worked with the creators of Avatar, I thought they did, so the fact that they didn’t Shame on you M. Night Shyamalan.

    • The fact that they didn’t makes A LOT of freaking sense when you see how inconsistent the final product is with the established world of the cartoon.

    • The Mysterious M

      I’m agreeing with you on a lot of those points. But uh…you do know India is in Asia right? So they did use Asian actors.

      • To a majority of Americans, the word “Asian” really means “East Asian”. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc. Not really sure why that happened, linguistically.

        • Professor von SCIENCE!!!

          That always seemed weird to me. I mean, no other “race” (for lack of a better term) is known simply by the continent they inhabit and The Mysterious M is right when he says India is in Asia so I just have to ask; WTF happened, the English language?

          • It’s the same with “america”, which is the name of the continent not just the united states, and just adding “the” at the beginning doesn’t make a difference.

    • To be fair, the casting wasn’t his fault.

      Dev Patel was cast since they needed someone of caliber, and he’s got an Oscar.
      BOOM! Entire Fire Nation are indian/Middle Eastern.
      Katara was the daughter of a friend of the casting agent.
      BOOM! Sokka is white to match!
      But wait, the water tribe are Inuit.
      Ok, so Katara’s family are from the north, right?
      BOOM! All the Northern Water Tribe and Gran Gran are white.

  2. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  3. yay after all that waiting its finally here

  4. He is SO charming!

  5. You keep saying that an Avatar movie can’t be done. Of course it can! Forget about the restricting of trying to cram an entire season into one film and instead use the set up as a spring board for a new story. Good script writer and good director and your sorted. Why would be want to see the exact same thing as in the cartoon anyways?

    • I think that’s what he meant, you can’t cram an entire season of a show, especially one so story driven into a 2 hour or so movie and it be satisfying or even all that good. A completely new plot could easily work and I think Doug would agree.

      • I alway thought they should’ve done a first movie that stops with Aang and the gang at Roku’s temple and him getting the vision of the comet, it sets up the threat for future films, it’d end on a pretty epic action scene of them escaping Zhao and Roku temporarily possessing Aang’s body to fight of his men and the Fire Sages, could’ve divided each season into 2 or 3 films, wouldn’t have felt so rushed and like Harry Potter the studio probably would’ve made a lot more money do to fans being willing to see all the films

  6. D. Basco, if you’re reading this, I think you’re awesome. That is all.

  7. Been waiting for this for a long time!

    Dante just seems like the coolest and most down to earth guy who hasn’t let Hollywood get to his head. I’m more of a fan of his than ever now.

  8. Man I’ve loved this interview… Dante really feels like he knows that he has done great things but is still incredibly modest about it…

  9. I’d love to watch this, but the volume is just too low. I have another program running at 5% volume and it’s louder than this at full.

    • AutoInfanticide

      volume is fine to me, look at your mixer? some combination of master volume and mixer?

    • My problem is that the volume was inconsistent; On any of the camera angles focusing in on one of them, it was quiet. With the further back shot with both of them in frame, it was loud.

      If I adjusted my volume so that the quiet parts were at ‘normal’ levels, the loud parts were just shy of deafening. If I adjusted my volume so that the loud parts were ‘normal’, I had to strain to make out what they were saying in the quiet parts. Trying for something in the middle left the whole thing feeling off. Just a little bit too quiet, and a little bit too loud.

      The sound levels need to be better normalized.

  10. AutoInfanticide

    Doug says every film is a little miracle.

  11. AutoInfanticide

    Doug was smart to take on the interview format, the less poorly-spoken rambling he does the better he is.

  12. Amazing interview. Next time can you raise your audio levels? Had my laptop on full blast and still had a hard time hearing. I’m sure this was a freak situation because other videos you do arent usually like this.

  13. I was expecting some comment about the late Mako after all the time they’ve spent recording Avatar together

  14. Dante seems like a really cool guy. Great interview.

  15. Fun fact: He played the catcalling trekkie in A Goofy Movie. “Yo Staceyyy! Talk to me, talk to me, talk to me baybehhh!” I remember when the movie came out, my siblings and cousins would quote that line a lot, just because we thought it was the funniest thing. I was just a hair too young for Hook, so that line was my introduction to Dante Basco. ;P

    When Robin Williams passed away, I was amazed how people came forward with stories of how they had met him and that those moments were some of their brightest memories. My grandfather passed away a week after Robin Williams. I painted a portrait of my grandfather for his funeral, and my great aunt commented that I brought out my grandpa’s similarities to Williams, and then went into a story about how my grandpa did construction work for Robin Williams in the late 70s/early 80s, and that she would tease her brother that their looks rubbed off on each other. I had no idea; it was certainly an emotional month. :))

  16. Mr. Bosco, I have a huge crush on you and your sexy sexy voice. Excuse me while I go die in a hole now.

  17. Is it possible to dislike Dante Basco? I look at him, hear him talk … and I think to myself … how can anybody be that likeable?

  18. About Dang time!

  19. Dante writes such beautiful poetry. I had the pleasure of hearing him live at an Otakon panel last year sharing some of his poetry. My favorite was the one based on the ponderings of Prince Zuko.

  20. YES! FINALLY! Can’t believe I missed this yesterday but I was too busy celebrating Revenge of the Fifth. Man, I can’t believe how many roles he’s done. Like his stuff has made up about 30% of my childhood. I would LOVE to see Loki Skywalker. I’d pay $100 to see that. 😀 LOL! This interview was such a joy to watch.

  21. Dante Basco is amazing. He’s prolific, likeable, he sounds like a pretty cool guy, and he understands what it’s like to be a fan very well.
    Thanks for the interview!

  22. AvariceRenaldi

    OH WHOA! I’m in San Fransisco right now! It’s beautiful, I’m loving it!

  23. GneissGeologist

    I fully agree with Dante on the point of giving young Asian actors a chance to break out – odds are NOT in their favor as it stands, and it really isn’t any better of a picture for adults, either. However, I think it is also unwise to assume someone who *appears* to be caucasian, for instance, is in fact entirely of caucasian descent – for one thing, caucasian refers *specifically* to people from or descended from inhabitants around the caucus mountains in Europe – it does NOT refer to all Europeans. For another thing…a fair amount of Europeans actually have some Asian heritage, whether they look it or not. I’m one of them – I look like my Estonian side, but I also have Mongolian/Chinese heritage and Native American heritage, yet by appearance I’d be assumed to be European. Excluding people based on appearance might ALSO exclude actors who are 1/2 or 1/4 or whatever percentage of East Asian descent, who identify strongly with the East Asian side of their family, but who happen to look more like their European side. A good example of this is another youtuber – Markiplier – who is 1/2 Korean and 1/2 German, yet is constantly mistaken for someone who is “just” caucasian. He is just as much of East Asian descent as he is of European descent, but happens to resemble his father’s side more. Appearance tells you very little about your actual heritage as even ONE generation on, because of some quirk of genetics, you might look NOTHING like one side even though it is very much part of your heritage.
    My other issue with this is his reference to “ethnic actors in hollywood” – I know what he means, and being someone of mixed heritage – whose significant other is also Chinese and whose children will be very much growing up identified by most as Asian – I can see the point – but it is a bit ignorant to imply that people of European descent don’t have ethnic groups or identities – that is what it is doing when you refer to “ethnic actors” and clearly are referring to anyone of non-European descent. There’s been a long standing trend of robbing people of European descent of any ethnic identity and just labeling them ‘white’ – and it has gone on SO long now that whole generations of people of European descent have now grown up under the belief that they have no identity other than ‘white’, they have no ethnic identity or cultural heritage, and have no right to feel pride in their heritage because somehow it’d make them racist to do so. And it is ignored because it is overshadowed by the wrongs of a group of Europeans in the past who decided it was a good idea to own slaves and take over other countries. A group – not all – yet all Europeans are robbed of identity and simply shuffled into the category “white”. That might not sound like a big deal to someone of another ethnicity, but try to understand it this way: if you are of Asian descent – let’s say Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, etc – WOULD you consider it to be a TAD ignorant and racist if all of the above groups – and the others I didn’t include – were constantly called, by everyone, just “yellow people”? Say you had a strong sense of identity as being Phillipino – specifically that – and didn’t take kindly to being lumped in the same group as Chinese, Koreans, etc as just “yellow” – having it implied you didn’t have a distinct ethnic identity or heritage but were all just “yellow”. How many Japanese people would enjoy being told they’re the same as Chinese? Or how many Koreans would enjoy being told their the same a Vietnamese? The same goes for European, who are an incredibly diverse group of people, ranging from brown eyed, black haired, olive skin toned or even close to brown in the South an Southeast to pale, freckled redheads and blondes with blue eyes in the Northwest. Genetically, they are just as diverse as any Asian ethnicity, and the same goes for culturally and linguistically and religiously, etc. There are even Europeans – quite a lot of Finns and Estonians especially – who have a unique Eurasian mixed set of features because, hey, guess what? Nomadic groups of Northern Asians live VERY nearby and have for a long time and they intermixed from time to time. That’s where it comes from in my family and why my Grandmother looked very Eurasian. Point is…racial classification is a whole lot more complicated than just going by appearance. Good example is Keanu Reeves. 1/4th Chinese, 1/4th Hawaiian, yet most of the public is relatively clueless about this.

    That all said, I must again assert that I fully agree with Dante on the whole giving young Asian actors a chance, but only feel the need to add that it is not so simple as looking at appearance alone unless you’re going to play the Nazi elitist game and disinclude any individuals who may have the heritage but do not LOOK that way.

  24. I might agree with at least 75% if I read your essay-like sentence completely.

  25. Oh god now I am ffucking jealous of Dante Basco’s youth or age a 39 year old who still looks like 20 or 21 years of age.

  26. We Jews and Russians living in New York City probably age all the time.

  27. Avatar was a horrendous film but M. Night may not be to blame. Take with a grain of salt, mind, but I recall hearing from an (alleged) production staff member about how that film came to be what it was. M. Night had actually planned to involve a lot of the strong character and humor of the series but he was strong-armed into cutting it down for more WOW AWESOME CG EFFECTS scenes.

    The only protagonist actor that actually auditioned proper for his role was Aang. Katara was cast via the magic of nepotism, Sokka was cast purely based on “We need someone who could maybe be the brother of this milk-white Katara” and the unfortunate “white protags fight colored villains” set-up was an unintentional byproduct of Zuko’s casting: Once he was cast, they needed the rest of the Fire Nation to look similar sooo…Bunch of brown people, why not!

    The actual account I read went into greater detail but by the end of it, it seems M. Night just completely gave up on his own vision and let them do whatever with it.

    Can’t say if that’s all the truth. But I can’t comprehend how someone who proclaims to be a huge Avatar fan could screw it up so badly without some huge fiasco like that, so I’m inclined to believe it.

  28. And to be fair, “Aang” would be pronounced like the movie in Asian languages. But Avatar isn’t *actually set in real-world Asia* sooo…Creator’s call.

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