Rewind to the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and M. Night Shyamalan was known as one of the most intriguing and epic directors of his time. The Sixth Sense contained the twist of the decade, and all of Hollywood was lining up to work with this legend. He quickly followed this up with Unbreakable and Signs, both considered to be modern day masterpieces in their own right and then came The Village, which seemed to mark a tipping point for Shyamalan. Don’t get me wrong, I actually loved The Vilage, and maybe as a teenager I wasn’t as familiar with his work, so I missed the fact that everyone was not too impressed with the film.
It’s around this time that Shyamalan became a meme of himself, with his knack for grand twists becoming a bit of a joke to audiences and critics alike. It wasn’t long after this that he just started making bad movies. Maybe it was the weight of the blockbuster studio film life (and the creative limitations this comes with) but the early 2000s was not a good time for this legendary filmmaker.
Fast forward to 2015, and Blumhouse gave him a shot with The Visit, which seemed to mark his return to form. Then came Split, which solidified this, and with the highly anticipated Glass on the horizon, it’s safe to say that the world of Unbreakable appears to be his true saving grace. But I’m guessing if you like this guy, you already knew all of this. So let’s instead take a look at some interesting facts about the filmmaker, as well as some of his best compositions from his films over the years.
Cool facts about M. Night Shyamalan:
- One of the first scripts he ever sold was titled “Labor of Love” and focuses on a man who walks across the country to prove his love for his wife who recently passed away. The project is still in development and it looks like he will eventually direct it.
- He’s an avid comic book fan, which was made apparent in his film Unbreakable (2000) – no surprises there
- His three supernatural thrillers, The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), and Signs (2002), grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide.
- Was offered the chance to write and direct new versions of both Spider-Man (circa 2000) and either Superman or Batman (circa 2002), but having already directed a superhero project of his own with Unbreakable (2000) turned them down.
Here are some beautiful shots to celebrate the works of M. Night Shyamalan
From Unbreakable (2000)
Fun fact: At the time, this marked the fourth film to feature Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. The others were Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995).
From Signs (2002)
Fun fact: Joaquin Phoenix replaced Mark Ruffalo, who had to pull out of the film due to a brain tumor. It was later found to be benign.
From The Sixth Sense (1999)
Fun fact: The movie was rented by 80 million people in 2000, making it the year’s top-rated VHS and DVD title.
From The Village (2004)
Fun Fact: The inspiration for the story comes from two unlikely sources: “Wuthering Heights” for the period drama, and King Kong (1933) for the community living in fear of predatory creatures.
From Split (2016)
Fun Fact: M. Night Shyamalan hired cinematographer Mike Gioulakis after seeing his work on It Follows (2014), and composer West Dylan Thordson after hearing his music on the TV show The Jinx (2015).
From The Visit (2015)
Fun Fact: The quote from the train conductor: ‘I’m disgraced, impeach’d, baffled here’ is from Richard II (Act 1, Scene 1).
Hope you enjoyed this celebration of the legend! What is your favourite M. Night Shyamalan film?