via: 30 Ninjas.Cojm /Blog.
Aasif Mandvi: He’s in competition with Zuko. [But] it’s not just being in competition with Zuko. He has a very fundamental point of view and he’s fundamentally bereaved that he is more the rightful heir to the throne than Zuko is. And it’s very Edgar/Edmund from King Lear. I played the relationship between me and Dev [Patel]’s character very much like the relationship between Edgar and Edmund in King Lear. You know, they’re the two brothers. One is the bastard son, and one is the legitimate son. And Zhao is clearly the bastard son of the Fire Lord.
This is clearly what happens when you encourage your actors not to interact/read the source material. They decide their character is important based on XYZ (it's very Shakespearean Actors Going For More Lines) and spout off what may be unintentionally misogynist phrases about how the battle for the crown is between two men.
Azula? What Princess Of Unmerciful & Terrifying Firebending Ability? There's a royal woman somewhere? What?
PS: (Aasif) Mandvi
"It’s about colonialism. It’s about aggression"
Colonialism and (imperial) Aggression can't be separated from race theory. The idea of we the aggressors are right and bright and all that is good and proper and they the conquered are in need of our knowledge and benevolence and mastery and to be under our control?
That can't be separated from race theory.
"I mean, the thing is that the Fire Nation, as it is seen in this movie, really represents a sort of a hybrid of the Japanese Empire, the British Empire, the Nazis, the American Empire, this kind of imperial aggressive force in the world. And not to touch too much on the race stuff, but what I will say about it is if you just look at it as brown people versus white people, you are reducing it a little bit. It is a little bit more complicated than that. Because when you look at the Fire Nation as created in this film, it is kind of a hybrid of a lot of different influences, Eastern, Western, European. It’s British, it’s American, it’s Japanese, it’s Middle Eastern. It is a lot of things."
No one's just looking at it as brown vs white. People are looking at it as a history of propaganda where brown is dangerous, wild, evil and out of control; propaganda based on imperialism, colonialism and racism vs white as the saviors where the same propaganda has white as the champions for all that is good.
Invoking the Japanese Empire alongside the British and American empires doesn't absolve the racist and bigoted history of imperialism. Ask Koreans, or some venerated elders from Thailand. And did you just bring up West Asia in vague vague terms of 'some Middle Eastern empire somewhere' and not specifically the Persian and Ottoman Empires? With all the real world history (of Western Imperial Interference) specificity would bring?
Sheesh, I didn't know becoming an actor and promoting a movie was a form helpless puppetted subservience to the Studio. I guess you'll be glad when the Daily Show writers can give you intellectually witty and pointed things to say again on race, class and gender. In which case I think those are the better puppet masters for you.