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.
Shymalan 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.