M. Night Shyamalan might take another whack at ‘Unbreakable’

Sept. 21, 2008 | 2:56 p.m.

Shyamalan Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, sounding a bit like a lost hiker with a balky compass, says that in hindsight he really should have taken a different career turn after “Unbreakable,” his dour, underrated deconstruction of the superhero motif. Here’s what he told MTV about a shoulda-been sequel to the 2000 film:

“I tell you I get asked about it all the time, so it’s not [an idea] I ever forget,” Shyamalan told MTV News. “I genuinely just asked this question the other day — should I make ‘Unbreakable 2’?

“I made the mistake of getting caught up in the hype of the immediate reaction of the movie, which, experience has shown me, is not accurate to any of my movies,” he explained. “And If I had been more confident and said ‘I believe in that movie, I love that movie, and I should just go start writing the second one,’ that would’ve been the right move. I’ve still been thinking about it a lot and wonder if it’s too late.

“I do love the [comic book movie] genre, I just wanna make sure that I’m able to express who I am,” explained Shyamalan. “I don’t want to get so lost in the subject that I have to neuter everything that’s me in it, so maybe ‘Unbreakable’ is the comic book thing I should do — I keep coming back to that.”

The guy sounds conflicted, to say the least. I actually liked “Unbreakable,” although I can understand why some people found it a bit smothering and plodding. I wish that Shyamalan had made a sequel to it, but I’m not sure that its a good idea to retrun to that story and those characters at this point, especially since there’s a fair number of people in Hollywood ready to write him off.

SamuelljacksonShymalan remains a pretty fascinating figure. Here’s an excerpt of an excellent article that Rachel Abramowitz of the Los Angeles Times did on him just before “The Happening” was released this summer. She interviewed him at Creighton Farm, his leafy Pennsylvania equivalent to Skywalker Ranch:

He describes the experience of making “Lady in the Water,” the biggest flop of his career, as something akin to stripping off all his clothes and running outside to have the world collectively laugh at him.

But in a good way.

M. Night Shyamalan, the 37-year-old film director who shot to fame with “The Sixth Sense” in 1999, is not talking about large-scale humiliation but rather personal empowerment –- the freedom that comes from giving up concern about other people’s expectations.

My hope for the movie was a personal one,” he says. “I’m sick of feeling like I hope the cool people like me. I hope the teachers like me. You know that thing you do when you’re in school? And you’re in your mid-30s and you go, ‘I’m sick of feeling this way.’ And you kind of like have this urge to take all your clothes off and run outside and say, ‘Make fun of me. Are we done? Is that it? Good, let’s go on with our lives.’

That really is what happened and I feel like I’ve been cleansed in some way.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

What about you? Do you have any desire to return to the grim but stirring world of “Unbreakable”?

— Geoff Boucher

Photo of M. Night Shyamalan by Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Photo of Samuel L. Jackson from “Unbreakable” shot by Frank Masi and courtesy of Touchstone Pictures.

More in: Uncategorized, M. Night Shyamalan


6 Responses to M. Night Shyamalan might take another whack at ‘Unbreakable’

  1. YES! I admit the pacing could use some work but the first film was good enough to deserve a second, regardless of how long it has been.
    I'll be the first one in line in New York if it happens.

  2. oakmonster says:

    Perhaps you need a lot more imagination and your inner child being alive and healthy to appreciate Lady in Water than average, but since I have an inner adult instead of a child, I guess that's why I love Lady in the Water. But I digress.
    Unbreakable is awesome. I really like it, but I don't know if I want a sequel. I mean, watching both characters realizing their potentials in that movie was a great journey. But going from this point on? I don't know about that.

  3. sally says:

    m night is so lame. he says he doesnt care if people like him after his movies start sucking. in lady in the water, they have a film critic get eaten. sour grapes much?

  4. John says:

    Sorry, but Shyamalan should actually take a whack at a career break. He might consider directing a screenplay he didn't write. He might consider a job at Starbucks. He might consider just going away for, oh, six or seven years. "Unbreakable" was the sign of an "auteur" who believed everything that was written about him and a studio system so flawed it doesn't even monitor the films it makes. It just wasn't a good movie, and it was followed by increasingly not-good films until we wound up at "The Happening," which was one of the most ludicrous, poorly paced, hilariously plotted, atrociously acted big-studio films of the past decade. (And, yes, I realize the films I'm lumping it in with.) "Lady in the Water" stunk. "The Happening" was putrid. And "Unbreakable" is a movie that coulda and shoulda been made by someone else, based on Shyamalan's script after a couple of rewrites.
    Let it go, M. Night. Your career is rapidly headed to the direct-to-DVD bin. Develop some humility, take some learnings from your forebears. PLEASE, though, don't make a sequel to "Unbreakable." Put it out of your mind.
    Who is more foolish? The fool, or the fool who sees movies made by a fool?

  5. Jim says:

    I must be an fool.
    "Unbreakable" and "The Happening" are two of my favorite movies of the last 10 years.
    Shyamalan's films, for me at least; have a tendency to make me look at the genre they're drawn from with fresh eyes. For instance- "Unbreakable" made me think of the "Batman" franchise in a completely different way- one that Christopher Nolan appears to have shared while he was turning "Batman Begins" from the live action cartoon of its predecessors into a realistic, gritty examination of what the Batman really is.
    "The Happening", at the very least is one of the most thoughtful examination of the apocalypse that's been done in the last few years. The great majority of the other movies in that particular genre are either direct-to-DVD rejects, pointlessly gory, or just flat out illogical.
    What M. Knight Shyamlan does, probably as well as anyone else ever has is make movies that turn entire genre on their heads. When judging his films, they really ought to be compared to the others in their respective genre.
    I mean- is "Signs" better than "Independence Day"? "Unbreakable" better than "Batman Forever"? "The Happening" better than "28 Days Later" or it's sequel "28 Weeks Later"?
    "Sixth Sense" better than "Stir of Echos"?

  6. Hyde says:

    'Unbreakable' is one of the best hero-movies ever, if not the best!!!

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