15 Twisted Facts About The Movies Of M. Night Shyamalan
Whether you’re a fan of Shyamalan or not, there’s no denying that the guy who gave us both The Sixth Sense and Stuart Little in the same year will probably never cease to surprise us. Yay for that. We here at Cracked are total Shyamafans, so here’s a list of some wild behind-the-scenes stories about his twisty films — from the glorious Unbreakable trilogy to that movie where life’s just a beach featuring Gael García Bernal. To the beach!
M. Night Shyamalan Went To Great Lengths To Keep The Ending Of Split A Secret
Probably his second-best and biggest twist ending of all time, Shyamalan made sure it didn’t leak to the public and even omitted it from the version shown to test audiences.
M. Night Shyamalan Ghost-Wrote She’s All That
Yeah, the director of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable once admitted in an interview that he was a ghostwriter and had done rewrites on that movie where Rachael Leigh Cook changed the course of everything by simply taking off her glasses.
M. Night Shyamalan Said No To Harry Potter
Spielberg recommended Shyamalan to direct the first Harry Potter movie, but he declined, not wanting to make a long-term commitment to the franchise. It’s where he met Rupert Grint, though — the two of them would later end up working together on Shyamalan’s current Apple TV show, Servant.
Related: The Drunken Wisdom of Harry Potter
M. Night Shyamalan’s Lesser Known Agatha Christie Homage
Shyamalan wrote a story called Devil that was a nod to Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel, And Then There Were None. In both stories, a group of people with questionable pasts are trapped together, and they soon start dying one by one.
M. Night Shyamalan Doesn’t Think The Visit Is A Horror Story
Surprisingly, the writer-director doesn’t think his scariest movie (according to him) is a horror story. “This particular idea is a thriller. It’s primarily — 90% — a thriller, but it does tip over into extremely frightening things. I would say this is the scariest of my movies, but I’m not sure it’s a horror film.”
M. Night Shyamalan’s Biggest Movie Got A Disney Exec Fired
When he read the script, Walt Disney Studios' then-president David Vogel didn’t bother going through the customary channels and immediately bought the rights to The Sixth Sense. Vogel’s boss was livid — they had to get Spyglass Entertainment to finance the movie, leaving Disney with only a 12.5% distribution earning — and Vogel was fired soon after.
Sony Didn’t Want People To Know That M. Night Shyamalan Directed After Earth
By 2013, there was a lot of criticism toward Shyamalan — especially following The Last Airbender — and Sony wanted to keep the director’s name off the poster for After Earth because they didn’t want to attract negative attention.
It May Have Been M. Night Shyamalan’s Fake Documentary That Tanked Him
As part of The Village’s marketing in 2004, The Sci-Fi Channel released a near three-hour faux documentary titled The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan. It was basically a commercial for the movie, but it also lampooned people’s grande ideas and musings about who Shyamalan was and how he became so successful at a young age. The media did not get it, though — they thought it was a legit documentary, and people absolutely lost it when they found out they were taken for a ride.
M. Night Shyamalan Said No To Writing The Fourth Indiana Jones Because He Was Scared Of Ruining It
Not only is Shyamalan the biggest Steven Spielberg fan, but he said no to writing the fourth installment of Indiana Jones because he didn’t want to mess it up. “I was asked, but it didn't work out ... It was a tricky, tricky thing to get four of us (Night, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford) together at the same time on the same page ... It was just a tricky time. I didn't think it was the right thing for me to do.”
For M. Night Shyamalan, The Happening Was Always Supposed To Be A B-Movie
“I think it’s a consistent kind of farce humor,” Shyamalan said. “You know, like ‘The Blob.’ The key to ‘The Blob’ is that it just never takes itself that seriously.” He didn’t blame audiences for not getting it, though. He said it was probably his fault for being too inconsistent with his tone in the film.
Old Was Filmed During Hurricane Season In The Dominican Republic
Said Shyamalan: “We were super stressed and doing it in the hurricane season and just all of it outdoors on a beach. Everything on the beach every day. We’re weather-dependent every single day. We’re wave-dependent. If there’s a storm that happens 100 miles away, we’re going to get hit two days later, we know it in advance. So it’s like the waves are going to come crashing up and how to be nimble and all. There was so much respect for nature. We did this ceremony when we finished —everybody, the cast and crew went and put flowers in the ocean and thanked the ocean. It was a local tradition to thank the ocean and the beach for letting us be there and boy, was that the truth. The beach allowed us to be there for that time period and make that movie.”
The Table Throw In Glass Was A Combination Of More Than Five Shots
Check out some outtakes of how they composited that shot:
M. Night Shyamalan Created Signs Inside A Denny’s
Said the man himself: “There was this weird moment where, strangely, I went to Denny’s. I was sitting there and seeing a family that was silent, and they were eating. I saw a couple that was quiet, and they were eating. And I was saying to myself: I can make movies that are burdened, and that’s honest for me. But I was looking at those people in the Denny’s, and I knew they were coming to my movies, and I wanted to make them feel better. So I called Disney and I said, ‘I want to make a movie that is just joyous, and doesn’t have that lens of burden on it.’ It can have a lot of conflict in it, but the voice, the angle, I wanted it to be inspired and childlike, almost. And so Signs was born that way.”
M. Night Shyamalan Gave Up Doing An Adaptation Of Life Of Pi To Do Lady In The Water Instead
Said Shyamalan about Life of Pi: “I love that book. I mean, it's basically (the story of) a kid born in the same city as me (Pondicherry, India) — it almost felt predestined. But I was hesitant because the book has kind of a twist ending. And I was concerned that as soon as you put my name on it, everybody would have a different experience. Whereas if someone else did it, it would be much more satisfying, I think. Expectations, you've got to be aware of them. I'm wishing them all great luck. I hope they make a beautiful movie.”
M. Night Shyamalan Came Up With Unbreakable While Editing The Sixth Sense
“When I was editing Sixth Sense, I was writing Unbreakable, and the idea originally was a plane crashed and the guy survives and then someone says, ‘I think you might be a real-life superhero,’” Shyamalan said. “But then I put it into a train ’cause I love trains and I felt it was more comic book-y for me. It felt more reasonable that he would survive (a train accident) without a scratch, and so (it) could be dismissed as luck. But then Elijah’s character comes to him and says, ‘No, I think you might be a superhero.’ This idea of a regular person who doesn’t have anything to do with superheroes in a world in which that doesn’t exist is told: ‘Hey, you know these fake things in comic books? I think they’re actually based on people like you.’”
Thumbnail: Walt Disney Pictures