I See Shyamalan

Yumper and Svo are back and this week they are doing a deep dive into one of the most polarizing directors in recent date M. Knight Shyamalan. So get your popcorn ready, grab a drink, and be careful you might see dead people in this episode of Yumper and Svo!

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Let’s Get This Out Of The Way

The Last Airbender  (2010)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz Beckham, Dave Patel, and Jackson Rathbone
  • Budget of 150 million Box office of 319.7 million
  • Trivia
    • The most expensive movie ever produced by Nickelodeon Movies, with a budget of $150 million and an additional $130 million in advertising.
    • Based on the First Season of Nickelodeon animated TV series
    • The film was intended to be the first part of a trilogy, with the next two films being based on books 2 and 3. While the film ultimately made a modest profit at the box office, about $150,000,000 was spent on production with another $130,000,000 spent on advertising, which would bring a total of $280,000,000 spent on one movie. Therefore, The Last Airbender did not gross enough to have Paramount green light the last two sequels. However a new live action remake series of the original animated show is in development for Netflix.
    • The casting of white actors in the East Asian and Inuit-influenced Avatar universe, as well as the fact that the casting of the heroes and villains seemed to be racially backward from the show, triggered negative reactions from fans marked by accusations of racism, a letter-writing campaign, and various protests
    • Jesse McCartney was originally cast to play Zuko, but was replaced with Dev Patel due to scheduling conflicts.
    • Two original black-and-white graphic novels, entitled The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko’s Story and The Last Airbender, drawn in the manga style, were written by Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus. “Avatar: The Last Airbender has shown incredible crossover appeal with manga fans.
    • On Rotten Tomatoes, The Last Airbender holds an approval rating of 5%, based on 192 reviews with an average rating of 3/10, making it the lowest-rated film produced by Nickelodeon Movies, as well as Shyamalan’s worst-reviewed film to date
    • In the original show, Sokka is a comic relief character. However, no comedy comes from the Sokka in the movie, which garnered significant criticism.
    • The first film directed by M. Night Shyamalan that was not based on an original script.

After Earth (2013)

  • Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith
  • Starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith
  • Budget of 130 million and Box office of 243.8 million
  • Trivia
    • Will Smith conceived this story when he was watching the television show called I Shouldn’t Be Alive with his brother-in-law Caleeb Pinkett
    • Although not credited on the finished film, co-writer/producer Will Smith was responsible for much of the movie’s direction. While M. Night Shyamalan was primarily in charge of the blocking (composition of shots, placement of the camera) and the visual aspects of the film (color and design), it was Will Smith who personally coached Jaden Smith in his performance and dictated the development of the story and the on-screen action. After both the story and acting were heavily criticized, Shyamalan decided to take the blame.
    • The original idea for the film was a father and son on a camping trip. After the car they are traveling in careens off the road, the son makes his way through the forest to find help for the father. Realizing that the idea had greater potential, producer Will Smith and screenwriter Gary Whitta decided to adapt the basic survival concept into a much larger science-fiction project.
    • Will Smith, who had wanted to work with M. Night Shyamalan for several years but was unable to find a suitable project, personally hired him to direct. This became the first time in twenty years that Shyamalan accepted a project based on someone else’s screenplay, and the first film in Shyamalan’s career where he does not appear on screen.
    • The film takes place in 3071.

The Average

Old (2021)

  • Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, and Rufus Swell.
  • Budget of 18 million and Box office of 90 million
  • Trivia
    • The film is an adaptation of a 2010 graphic novel by writer Pierre-Oscar Lévy and artist Frederik Peeters called Sandcastle. When asked what inspired him to adapt the book to film, director M. Night Shyamalan explained: “The book gave me the opportunity to work through a lot of anxieties I had around death and aging, and things like my parents getting older.”
    • The movie that Charles (Rufus Sewell) can not think of that stars both Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson is The Missouri Breaks (1976). Its plot has no relation to this film.
    • Filmed in 2020, during the height of the global Coronavirus pandemic. Cast and crew had to be tested daily for potential infections. M. Night Shyamalan said of the production: “The main priority was to keep everyone safe and well. Despite all of us living and working together over a period of months, nobody became sick, which was fantastic.”
    • Director M. Night Shyamalan was hugely influenced by film maker Luis Buñuel’s famous satire, The Exterminating Angel (1962); another film about a group of characters that find themselves trapped in an otherwise benign location and unable to leave. Shyamalan was so influenced by ‘The Exterminating Angel’ that he made the logo of Old’s beach resort setting a white palm leaf; the exact same palm leaf features in the opening shot of Buñuel’s film.
    • Night Shyamalan said the subject matter of the film, in which a group of people find themselves trapped on an isolated beach, dealing with a deadly phenomenon, mirrored the experience of being in lock-down, and the uncertainty of the Coronavirus pandemic, adding: “It was strange. We were making a film that had nothing to do with the pandemic, but at the same time it was absolutely about this fear and uncertainty we were all feeling. This fear of infection. It made us think very deeply about death, about survival, and about being in lock-down. This idea of being stuck in a situation and not being able to leave.”
    • This film marks the first time that director M. Night Shyamalan has an active role as a minor villain.

Knock at the Cabin (2023)

  • Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Rupert Grint, and Ben Aldrige
  • Box Office of 54.8 million on Budget of 20 million
  • Trivia
    • Knock at the Cabin is an adaptation of the 2018 horror novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay, who had signed an option with FilmNation Entertainment in late 2017, prior to the book’s publication, and had to keep secret that the film was based on one of his novels until July 2022. T
    • In a 2023 interview with Screen Rant, M. Night Shyamalan explained how he came to cast Dave Bautista: “I thought, ‘This is an impossible role. A GIANT who can emote and do 30 pages of monologues. This doesn’t exist, this person doesn’t exist!’ And then I was like, ‘Wait a minute, what about that guy in Blade Runner 2049 (2017)?’ I don’t know much about wrestling, so it wasn’t like I had that in my head, and probably if I did I might’ve been blinded to the fact that this person was an amazing actor… They said his name was Dave Bautista and so I reached out, and then Dave reached out, and then we met. And when I spoke to him, I found a human being who was ready to start over again, take away all the success that he had and unlearn it and then start over… He just wanted to be proud of himself and I was like, ‘I’m down, brother. Let’s do it the right way from beginning to end’ and he’s like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this’ and I go, ‘But I do’.”
    • Andrew does not kill Eric in the novel, although its ending as at least equally as tragic. Instead, their daughter Wen is killed during the struggle over the gun.

Glass (2019)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anaya Taylor Joy and Sarah Paulson.
  • Budget of 20 million and Box office of 247 million
  • Trivia
    • Samuel L. Jackson said of working with James McAvoy on the movie, “As good as I like to think I am or what I do and how I do it, watching somebody transform characters in front of your eyes and have an argument with four different people is pretty amazing.”
    • Director M. Night Shyamalan was able to incorporate unseen footage from Unbreakable (2000) into this film, for flashback scenes involving the younger versions of David and Joseph.
    • The original script for Unbreakable (2000) included Kevin as an emerging villain for David to face against, but director M. Night Shyamalan could never make it work within the confines of a single movie. Thus, Kevin ended up being Split (2016) off into his own movie, with this film as the culmination of the original idea.
    • Sarah Paulson accepted her part without reading the script, even though her role was originally written for a man, for the opportunity to work with director M. Night Shyamalan.
    • Under normal circumstances, the film would have been a nightmare of red tape to pass through because Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016) were produced by different studios. Instead, this was one of only two films (or three) to be a co-production between Universal and Disney, which have been heated rivals in both the film and theme park businesses for more than half a century. Prior to this film, most Universal/Disney co-productions were relegated to television, most notably Monk (2002). Reportedly, Disney had no problem letting Split (2016) introduce David Dunn into its final scene, so long as they had some input on a full sequel. Touchstone (a Disney arm) and Universal had previously collaborated on the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000); another, Dan in Real Life (2007) saw Touchstone partner up with Focus Features, the indie arm of Universal.
    • According to writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, this is “the first truly grounded comic book movie.”
    • James McAvoy severely ups the ante on the number of personalities he portrays in a single film since the previous Split (2016) installment, from nine to a whopping 20 personalities appearing on-screen.
    • James McAvoy severely ups the ante on the number of personalities he portrays in a single film since the previous Split (2016) installment, from nine to a whopping 20 personalities appearing on-screen.

The Really Really Bad

Lady In The Water (2006)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bob Balaban, and Freddy Rodriguez.
  • Budget of 70 million and box office of 72.8 million.
  • Trivia
    • The reason for the film’s $70m production budget, despite being set in one location, was because the apartment complex and the pool were built for the film. Some of this film was shot in Levittown, Pennsylvania at a Jacobson logistics warehouse site (director M. Night Shyamalan had committed to using films sites in PA). The set, built on the warehouse site, includes the apartment complex and a half city block of row houses. Occasional footage was shot inside the overflow area of the warehouse. Most of the filming was completed after Jacobson work hours.
    • Director M. Night Shyamalan adapted Lady in the Water, originally a bedtime story, into an actual children’s book. It was released on the same day as this film.
    • Kevin Costner was considered for the role of Heep. However, Paul Giamatti accepted the part before they contacted Costner (Giamatti was the first option anyway).
    • Director M. Night Shyamalan was in talks with Philip Seymour Hoffman for an unspecified role in this film. Hoffman, despite the fact that he “loved the script and liked the role,” had scheduling conflicts.
    • Paul Giamatti said that this was his first movie in which he was paid at least $1 million to be in.
    • The title of the book “The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Tale” that recounted the making of this film is an intentional homage to Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).
    • This film was the first of director M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography not to contain his traditional twist ending of sorts.
    • Narf is what Pinky’s catch phrase is in the Warner Brothers cartoon, Pinky and the Brain (1995).
    • Director M. Night Shyamalan, delighted after he discovered the unknown Cindy Cheung, was shocked to hear that her agent demanded $1 million for her role in this film. Night was prepared to pay the SAG minimum, $65,000. They settled at $100,000.

The Happening (2008)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and John Leguizamo
  • Budget of 48 million and Box office of 163 million
  • Trivia
    • Mark Wahlberg admitted that he regrets working on this movie, but said, “You can’t blame me for wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook.”
    • Night Shyamalan wrote the screenplay with Mark Wahlberg in mind for the lead role.
    • (at around 53 mins) At one point, Elliot talks about primordial bacteria in Australia killing off fishermen. Pyrethrins are a neurotoxin derived from Chrysanthemum plants, specifically those native to Australia. The toxin is commonly found in organic insecticides. Pyrethrins are highly toxic to bees.
    • The picture that Alma gives to Jess of her parents is a picture of Julian with Ashlyn Sanchez’s real-life mother, Charity Renee Sanchez.
    • Night Shyamalan’s first R-rated film.
    • The leading female character of the film: Alma, was written for the actress Amy Adams, the objective was that within the chaos and uncertainty of the film, only Alma was the one who gave the feeling of peace and tranquility, however an economic agreement was not reached for which Adams rejected the role.
    • Unlike a large part of the cast of actors, Zooey Deschanel declares that it has been one of her favorite productions and that people did not know how to appreciate the concept of “natural terror” that the production used because it was strongly inspired by movies like The Birds.
    • As of January 2019, this is the shortest film of M. Night Shyamalan’s career, with a running time of 91 minutes.
    • The tagline “It’s Happening” was also used in Signs (2002).
    • (at around 32 mins) The exact answer to Julian’s math riddle, with the average month having 30 days, is $10,737,418.23. (The answer is not $10,737,418.24, because Julian is asking about the total sum of the amounts from all days, and every amount is an even number except the amount on the first day: $0.01. Therefore the total sum must be an odd number of cents.) In addition, when the month in question has 31 days, then $10,737,418.24 would be the amount on the 31st day and the total sum after 31 days would be $21,474,836.47.
    • Kristen Connolly has disowned this film and claims to hate it. She refuses to talk about the film when asked about it.
    • Mark Wahlberg’s line “Be scientific, douchebag” was improvised.
    • During pre-production, M. Night Shyamalan described the film as a paranoia movie from the 1960s along the lines of The Birds (1963) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
    • Plants have evolved some defenses. One plant, when defoliated by deer, releases a pheromone to “warn” other plants to produce less tasty leaves.
    • Reevaluated as a B Movie.

The Village (2004)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, and Brendan Gleeson.
  • Budget of 60 million and Box office of 256.7 million.
  • Trivia
    • Joaquin Phoenix made a wooden walking stick for Bryce Dallas Howard during the 19th-century preparation the actors participated in before the film. He engraved the name of her character, Ivy, on the walking stick.
    • Director M. Night Shyamalan put the entire cast through a 19th century “boot camp” in order for them to get a good feel for the time period.
    • The director cast Bryce Dallas Howard without an audition after seeing her perform on stage.
    • The film was originally to be called “The Woods”, but another film from MGM, The Woods (2006), was already scheduled to be using that name, so the title had to be changed to “The Village”.
    • Sigourney Weaver suffered nightmares for two weeks after reading the script.
    • Kirsten Dunst was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard after dropping out to star in Elizabethtown (2005). Dunst and Howard later appeared together in Spider-Man 3 (2007).
    • Ashton Kutcher was originally cast as Noah but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
    • The film is included on the film critic Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.
    • In The Village, Judy Greer plays a character named Kitty and costars with Bryce Dallas Howard. In Arrested Development, Judy Greer plays a character named Kitty and costars with Howard’s father Ron Howard.
    • The film has a number of similarities to the young adult book ‘Running Out of Time’. The book is about a village where the people who live in it think they’re living in the 1800s, when actually its set in the present day. The heroine of the book also goes searching for medical supplies, and the village elders take steps to make sure their children never learn the truth of their world. The book’s author, Margaret Peterson Haddix, threatened to sue for plagiarism; M. Night Shyamalan wrote off the similarities as “meritless.”
    • On the night the creatures come into the village Ivy tells Lucius that she and Kitty are watching the younger children (their little sisters). Noah is also with them. It is likely that the Walker and Percy parents were acting as the creatures that night
    • The names of the two leads characters – Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) and Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) carry great meaning to their roles. Lucius is a derivative of the Latin word for light and he is one of the few people who radiates an aura that Ivy can see. Ivy, of course, is a strong plant that grows its own way and tends to climb over walls.
    • Edward and Tabitha Walker actually have five daughters. Kitty and Ivy are the oldest. When Ivy is singing to Kitty Edward and Tabitha are watching from the doorway. Edward is holding one daughter, Tabitha is holding another, and the third is standing between them. The three girls can also be seen during the raid on the village by the creatures. When they are in the cellar, Kitty is holding the baby and the other two are nearby.

Unbreakable (2000)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright, and Spencer Treat Clark.
  • Budget of 75 million and box office 248.1 million
  • Trivia
    • Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan always had Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in mind to play the roles of David Dunn and Elijah Price.
    • The glass cane that Elijah Price uses was Samuel L. Jackson’s idea.
    • One of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films.
    • Night Shyamalan came up with the idea for this movie while filming The Sixth Sense (1999), which also starred Bruce Willis.
    • At a budget of $75 million, the film cost almost three times more money to make than both the sequels (Split (2016) and Glass (2019)) combined.
    • In the scene where David looks back at the drug dealer, played by M. Night Shyamalan, and catches the character furtively staring back, the movie makes use of the scary shiny glasses trope. This trope is commonly used in Japanese manga and animé to indicate the sinister intentions of a villain.
    • The stadium that David Dunn (Bruce Willis) works at is actually Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania. It is the oldest stadium in the country, and the first to have an electronic scoreboard, an upper deck, and the first site of a live radio and television broadcast.
    • Julianne Moore was offered the part of Audrey Dunn but turned it down to work on Hannibal (2001).
    • The movie has a textbook (and pretty obvious) example of the ‘Chekhov’s Gun’ trope where David takes down his pistol from a closet, looks at it and replaces it, all for no apparent reason.
    • Chekhov was reported to have said (paraphrasing here) that if you mention or show an object earlier on in a book or play, then you must use it some time later, that is, if something is not essential, don’t include it in the story. Chekhov used the example of a gun/rifle stating that if it is shown earlier, it must be fired/used later, but it can refer to any object or character. In this case, Chekhov’s gun is actually a gun.
    • Feature film debut of Laura Regan as a young Audrey. Regan recalls walking into the audition room not knowing who M. Night Shyamalan was, despite the poster for The Sixth Sense (1999) being right outside the office. She said that had she known who he was, she probably would have gotten too nervous and bombed the audition.
    • Near the end of the movie, Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson) is sitting in his wheelchair below three comic book covers, Thor to the left, Daredevil to the right and Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury was redesigned around this time in the image of Jackson, who went on to play him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which co-stars Thor. Daredevil made his first appearance as Matt Murdock (his real persona) in the 2021 hit Spider-Man: No Way Home.
    • The scene where David’s son tries to shoot him to prove he has super powers is reminiscent of an actual incident. Actor George Reeves was once confronted by a child who threatened to shoot him with a real gun while he was in his Superman costume. Reeves got the boy to put the gun down by convincing him that the bullets would ricochet and hurt someone else.
    • In scene at the stadium where David Dunn brushes past a mother and child and senses child abuse, the child was believed to be Kevin Crumb and his mother from the movie Split (2016). This was later confirmed by writer/director M. Night Shyamalan.
    • Bruce Willis’ character is named David Dunn. It is very common for the “secret identities” of comic book heroes, particularly the Marvel ones, to be alliterative (for example, Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdock and Reed Richards). Even DC’s Superman was also Clark Kent who had a somewhat alliterative name, and many “LL” co-stars including Lois Lane and Lex Luthor.
    • As in comic books, the main characters have their identified color schemes. David’s is green and Elijah’s is purple. They show up in their clothes, the wallpaper and bed sheets in their houses, Elijah’s note to David, and various personal items, among others.

Split (2016)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Betty Buckley
  • Budget of 9 million and Box office of 278.5 million
  • Trivia
    • Inspiration for the film, real-life multiple-personality Billy Milligan (14 February 1955 – 12 December 2014), charged with three rapes, was the first person diagnosed with multiple personality disorder to use an insanity defense by reason of that disorder, and also first to be acquitted thus. Milligan had 24 personalities, consisting of 10 Desirables: Billy Milligan, Arthur, Ragen Vadascovinich, Allen, Tommy, Danny, David, Christene, Christopher, and Adalana; and 13 Undesirables: Phil, Kevin, Walter, April, Samuel, Mark, Steve, Lee, Jason, Bobby, Shawn, Martin, and Timothy; and The Teacher, a fusion of all of the other personalities.
    • In order to prevent leaks, the final scene was not included in the shooting script, and also omitted from all test screenings.
    • When Joaquin Phoenix and the production couldn’t reach a contract agreement, James McAvoy was cast in the lead.
    • Night Shyamalan stated that shooting this film was the most challenging of his career.
    • James McAvoy broke his hand during filming after he got angry at not getting a scene. He became so annoyed with his performance that he ended up hitting a door, which he thought was a fake door, but it was a solid metal door. Viewers can see that his hand is injured during the scene where he’s on a train and he’s putting on his glasses.
    • The last thing Kevin remembered was being on a bus on September 18, 2014. This is the date which Scotland held a vote to decide if they were going to split from the UK. Kevin is played by James McAvoy who is from Scotland and has been outspoken as pro-independence.
    • Night Shyamalan originally wrote the Kevin character for Unbreakable (2000), but decided to use him in a separate film 15 years later.
    • (Also contains a spoiler for Glass (2019)) A young Kevin Wendell Crumb and his abusive mother are speculated widely to be seen briefly in Unbreakable (2000), in the scene at the stadium where David Dunn brushes past a woman and a child and senses child abuse just before he confronts the drug dealer. In this movie is revealed that Kevin himself is a victim of child abuse, with his mother being the abuser, and that his father left on a train. Glass (2019) confirms that Kevin’s father died in the train wreck that begins Unbreakable (2000).
    • James McAvoy plays nine of Kevin’s 23 personalities throughout the course of the movie, with “one more cooking in the oven”, as he put it in interviews during promotion for the film.
    • There are clues as to where the girls are being kept and Kevin’s employment.
    • Their abduction (and the alleged previous ones) took place at the King of Prussia Mall. There is a zoo near the mall with an underground maintenance area, large enough for the abductions to go undetected.
    • There are various animal statues in several scenes.
    • Hedwig’s room contains animal drawings with their names.
    • The rock wall in the first locked room the girls are held in is consistent with the walls used in zoo enclosures.
    • There was mention of a school field trip to Kevin’s place of work. Kevin has a variety of clothing – presumably from the ‘lost and found’ at the zoo.
    • Fletcher mentioned that “The Beast” was formed because of “your time in this place”, the zoo.
    • There are clues as to where the girls are being kept and Kevin’s employment.
    • Their abduction (and the alleged previous ones) took place at the King of Prussia Mall. There is a zoo near the mall with an underground maintenance area, large enough for the abductions to go undetected.
    • There are various animal statues in several scenes.
    • Hedwig’s room contains animal drawings with their names.
    • The rock wall in the first locked room the girls are held in is consistent with the walls used in zoo enclosures.
    • There was mention of a school field trip to Kevin’s place of work. Kevin has a variety of clothing – presumably from the ‘lost and found’ at the zoo.
    • Fletcher mentioned that “The Beast” was formed because of “your time in this place”, the zoo.

The Visit (2015)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, and Kathryn Hahn.
  • Budget of 5 million and Box office of 98.5 million.
  • Trivia
    • Director M. Night Shyamalan used his fee from his science-fiction-adventure movie After Earth (2013) to self-produce this film. In his own words, this was “an attempt to regain artistic control” after his recent movies had been denied final cut, and were even taken away from him in post-production.
    • According to statements made on Twitter, director M. Night Shyamalan prepared three different cuts of the film: one that was “pure comedy,” another that was “pure horror,” and a final one that “fell somewhere in between.”
    • Night Shyamalan’s first film since The Village (2004) to not receive Razzie nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Director or Worst Screenplay
    • The second film from director M. Night Shyamalan featuring a poster depicting various rules. The first one was The Village (2004).
    • When Loretta (the mom) films her interview segments with Becca, she sits beside a table lamp with a butterfly pattern on it. This closely resembles the framed pictures of butterflies in her parents’ house seen in the room in which the kids are staying.
    • (at around 26 mins) On their way to the town, Becca and Tyler suggest that they play a game where they choose a building, make up a person who lives there, and explain what they do. The police station was chosen as a building and the person made up was named Jerry, who supposedly never answered the phone. When their mother realizes the grandparents are impostors, she calls the local police (at around 1h 8 mins). Her call goes to the answering machine and it can be heard that Jerry cannot get to the phone.
    • (at around 37 mins) Nana says she met Pop Pop in a garden. This is an early hint about their real nature, as they probably met in the garden of a mental institution.
    • Night Shyamalan modifies a color-based theme from his first movie, The Sixth Sense (1999) for this film. In that movie, the color red is associated with death and is used as a hint throughout the story. In this movie, red is kept until the final act to be used symbolically. 1) Stacey is wearing a red jacket when she is murdered and hung from the tree. 2) Becca is wearing a red sweater when she discovers her grandparents in the basement. 3) Pop Pop uses a red pencil to keep score during their Yahtzee game. 4) The bedspread on the grandparents’ bed is red. 5) The lining of the jacket Pop Pop puts on in the kitchen while intimidating Tyler is red. 6) The shirt Loretta is wearing when she comes to get her kids is red.

Signs (2002)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin, and Cherry Jones.
  • Budget of 72 Million and Box office of 408.2 million.
  • Trivia
    • The stories of the children’s birth are actually the stories of M. Night Shyamalan’s two children.
    • 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.
    • The artwork in the book about extraterrestrials was done by writer and director M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter, Saleka Shyamalan.
    • The crop circles are real, as M. Night Shyamalan doesn’t particularly like using CGI.
    • Night Shyamalan said that this was the easiest of all his movies to write and direct.
    • Night Shyamalan insisted that the film posters be released without showing Mel Gibson’s face, as it is an ensemble piece, and that it didn’t refer to The Sixth Sense (1999), as it’s an entirely different movie.
    • Night Shyamalan wanted Mel Gibson because he’s “the guy you believe would protect his family at all costs.”
    • The “Brazilian Video” was shot with a household camcorder by M. Night Shyamalan himself.
    • When he first read it, Mel Gibson said he “couldn’t put the script down. It’s suspenseful from the first frame.”
    • Night Shyamalan called this his “most popcorn movie.”
    • Night Shyamalan thinks the scariest thing in the film is that a good man could lose his connection with God.
    • Johnny Depp was originally approached to star.
    • Graham’s face appears on the alien’s wrist as it holds his son hostage.
    • The aliens were originally going to be invisible, but M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t get the effect he wanted.
    • The aliens were originally scripted as having feminine builds and movements, thus the movements of tall, thin actresses were used as models for CGI tests, and some shots (“Brazilian Video”). However, it was decided that female bodies did not convey a threatening enough posture for the creatures, and a male CGI stand-in ended up being used in the final scene with Morgan, as well as on the rooftop.
    • When Houdini pees himself in the kitchen, Graham offers to call a local Doctor, to which his son Morgan asks why, “he can’t do anything.” This seems to be because the local vet is the man who killed his wife, so he wouldn’t call him.
    • The Hess family hides in the basement, which Graham Hess says was once used for coal storage. In H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds”, the main character hides from the aliens in a coal shed
    • Scene; It is night. Morgan & Bo are washing dishes in the kitchen sink, facing the kitchen window, but they’re playing, and don’t look out the window. Graham comes in and sits down after being spooked in the cornfield. Just before he sits down, and when the kids turn around towards him, you can clearly see a greenish figure run past the window. As Graham comes in to sit you will also see his reflection in the window, but the green flashes are obviously the alien running by twice.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

  • Directed and Written by M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, and Donnie Wahlberg.
  • Budget 40 million and Box office of 672 million
  • Trivia
    • Reportedly, Haley Joel Osment got the role of Cole Sear for one of three reasons. First, he was best for it. Second, he was the only boy at auditions who wore a tie. Third, director M. Night Shyamalan was surprised when he asked Osment if he read his part. Osment replied, “I read it three times last night.” Shyamalan was impressed, saying, “Wow, you read your part three times?” To which Osment replied, “No, I read the script three times.”
    • Toni Collette has said that she was so moved by the emotional resonance of the story while filming, she did not even realize it was a horror film until after its release.
    • While in New York City auditioning for Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Toni Collette also auditioned for this film as an afterthought. She said the scene in the car toward the end of the film, which was the audition scene, was the scene that really drew her to the film.
    • Filmed in sequence.
    • According to director M. Night Shyamalan, Donnie Wahlberg lost 43 pounds for the role of Vincent Grey.
    • David Vogel, then-president of production of Walt Disney Studios, read M. Night Shyamalan’s spec script and instantly loved it. Without obtaining corporate approval, Vogel bought the rights to the script, despite the high price of $3 million and the stipulation that Shyamalan could direct the film.
    • The voice on the tape of Vincent’s session is speaking Spanish; the person is saying, “Please, I don’t want to die Lord, save me, save me.”
    • Cole and Vincent both have a patch of grey/white hair, both on the right side of their heads. Vincent’s is to the side and Cole’s is behind the ear.
    • During the casting process for the role of Cole Sear, Shyamalan had been apprehensive about Osment’s video audition, saying later he was “this really sweet cherub, kind of beautiful, blond boy.” Shyamalan saw the role as darker and more brooding but admitted that “He nailed it with the vulnerability and the need … He was able to convey a need as a human being in a way that was amazing to see.”
    • According to Michael Cera, this was the first film that he ever auditioned for. He read for the part of Cole, and the scene he did was the Magic Trick scene, but he later admitted that he did it too cheerfully; he had not read the entire script, so he didn’t know that Cole was supposed to be an introverted and quiet boy.
    • Reportedly, director M. Night Shyamalan disliked his part in the movie so much that he cut most of it from the final print.
    • The Latin phrase Cole speaks in the church when he first meets Malcolm, “De profundis clamo ad te domine,” translates to “Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord.” These are the first few words of Psalm 130 in the Book of Psalms.
    • When Cole and his mother are sitting in the kitchen, there is a glass on the table that can only be bought in Philadelphia. It originally comes filled with Penn Maid sour cream, which is not readily available anywhere else.
    • The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for M. Night Shyamalan, Best Supporting Actor for Haley Joel Osment, and Best Supporting Actress for Toni Collette.
    • Marisa Tomei and Claire Forlani were among the actresses who declined playing the role of Anna Crowe.
    • When Malcolm is listening to the tape recording of Vincent and his session, as he turns up the volume the numbers on the tape player turn from white to red as they increase. While this may play into the red theme of the film, many of the cassette players of the time had this feature as a warning of potential hearing damage when listening with an earpiece.
    • Second Bruce Willis film with a character called Cole who sees dead people. The previous was 12 Monkeys (1995), bridging distances: in the Terry Gilliam movie Cole saw dead people because he traveled back in time to ages previous to his present, years later of a pandemic which almost completely isolated planet Earth.
    • Premiered at the same time that Stir of Echoes (1999), another horror movie involving ghosts, starred Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Erbe. Curiously, James Newton Howard was the composer in both movies. The success of this movie, second most grossing movie of 1999 after Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), caused that Stir of Echoes (1999) was shadowed by it for years.
    • In the scene when Cole says the famous line, “I see dead people,” the camera does a closeup on Bruce Willis’s face. Producer Frank Marshall was worried that might have given the game away. It implied that Malcolm was a dead person. Fortunately, none of the audiences in the test screenings or afterwards picked up on it.
    • According to M. Night Shyamalan, the movie was inspired by an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990) called The Tale of the Dream Girl (1994), directed by David Winning, in which leading characters are ignored by somebody and do not realize that they are dead until the final moment. In The Tale of the Dream Girl, a brother discovers that only his sister can see him and she ultimately shows him his own obituary.
    • While circling a passage in the notes, Bruce Willis does so with his right hand. Willis is actually left-handed; he learned how to write right-handed so that viewers wouldn’t notice that his wedding band was no longer on his hand. Willis also draws the circle clockwise (like a left-handed person would), while most right-handed people would draw it counter-clockwise.
    • Night Shyamalan deliberately used the color red to depict when the world of the living and the world of the dead would cross over. If red was in a scene where that was not the case, he would change it. The door to the church where Cole and Malcolm first interact is red, and the statue Cole takes from the church has a red robe. The doorknob to Malcolm’s basement is red. Cole’s school uniform jacket is reddish (maroon); he is often approached by the dead people while at school and/or wearing his uniform. Anna wears a red dress at the restaurant where Malcolm is “late” for their anniversary. When Malcolm is watching his wife Anna in the shower and notices her prescription in the cabinet, it is in a reddish-brown container. Lynn Sear’s nail polish is red when she is pointing out the white spots (ghosts) on all the pictures of Cole in the hallway. Cole’s “free association” writing is in red ink; the writing presumably records things he has heard from the dead. At the birthday party, all the visible balloons are pastel-colored, except for the red balloon that floats up the stairway and leads Cole to the small closet. Cole is wearing a red sweater when he is attacked by the spirit in the closet. Cole’s blanket at the hospital is reddish (pink) when he confesses to Malcolm that he sees dead people. The birthday gift Anna gives to Sean is in a red box, and she is wearing red when the two of them embrace and Malcolm breaks the shop door. When Malcolm listens to a taped session with Vincent, as he turns up the cassette recorder volume, the control numbers go from white to red. Kyra Collins appears in Cole’s fort, and the blanket covering it is red. The box containing Kyra’s VHS tape is trimmed in red and has a red-lined interior. The outfit worn by Mrs. Collins at Kyra’s wake is bright red, and she is the only person wearing a bright color. In the video, the soup Mrs. Collins brings to Kyra is tomato soup, and the bottle of pine cleaner Mrs. Collins adds to the soup has a red cap on it. The bicyclist Cole sees next to the car is wearing a red helmet. The blanket that Anna Crowe covers herself with while watching the wedding video is red.
    • The movie shows hints as to Malcom’s death early on. A psychologist would meet a patient in the psychologist’s office; he wouldn’t wait outside the patient’s home and then follow him, or show up at the patient’s home and wait inside.

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