M. Night Shyamalan has had quite the interesting career. Starting off as a filmmaker people were calling the next Spielberg (mostly because Spielberg’s name is big…and virtually for no other reason), he went on to make a handful of duds that turned his name into something of a laughingstock among film snobs. It was only until The Visit hit theaters a few years back that audiences started to take notice once again, and the creation of his movie Split was the dawn of a Shyamalanaissance.
While Glass wasn’t exactly a slam-dunk, it did well financially and many seem to appreciate how very Shyamalan-y it ultimately is. With this in mind, he started to work on his next projects, and not long after, we got two dates for his next movies — one in 2021 and one in 2023.
It got me to wondering whether or not they were connected in some way. Speaking with Collider, Shyamalan himself confirmed that they are NOT connected, but they are connected in the sense that they have been brewing in his mind for some time now.
“I just had two movie ideas I felt very strongly about. For me, there are ideas and they’re in journals sometimes and they don’t quite have the meat yet or whatever that thing is that makes it so I’m ready to commit two years of my life to making this—to writing and directing this—some of those ideas don’t have that yet. They have to gestate a little bit. But there were two ideas where right away I was thinking about making them. And, interesting enough, there might be a third thing that came to me that might end up going in between these two. So there might be three.”
In terms of filmmaking style, it seems as though he’s interested in keeping them smaller, as it allows him to experiment, which I think is the right approach.
“I’m loving this approach from The Visit on where they’re minimal, contained, I own them, we take big tonal risks and try to hit that note of absurd-but-grounded, that dark humor moment and deal with some complicated things and not necessarily take the audience where they’re comfortable, both during or even at the end. That’s all mitigated because we’re working with a respectable number and I feel like I’m being a good partner to my distributors. I like that because it allows me to iterate really fast in the making of these stories, so those films follow that architecture of approach and process. Even if it’s tricking myself into being more dangerous, it’s working because when I think about these three films that I’m thinking about—all weird and dark—I think that they speak to each other a little bit.”
I like that he’s thinking small and bold. While Shyamalan tried to be mainstream for a while, I think he works best when he’s not restricted. When he’s given room to breathe and be creative. While it may continue to make him a bit more on the divisive side, I think it’ll ultimately make for a much more interesting filmography.
But that’s just me being selfish. If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know I love it when directors swing for the fences.
What do you think of Shyamalan’s approach for the next two (or three) movies? Let us know in the comments below!
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