M. Night Shyamalan must now deal with an aide who stole $15,000 from him. Shyamalan nonetheless maintains an estimated net worth of $50 million, however, so the 15 grand taken by former aide Selma Nolan Cody shouldn’t put too big a dent in his bottom line.
Shyamalan hired Cody in 2013 as an employee of his company, Blinding Edge Productions. But Cody was not hired to assist with film production. Instead, she was brought on to manage the lavish home in rural Pennsylvania that the Sixth Sense director shares with his wife, psychologist Bhavna Shyamalan.
As part of the job, Shyamalan issued Cody a Blinding Edge Productions company credit card in her name. The card was intended for Cody to make household purchases. But she had other ideas.
Armed with a credit card from the 44-year-old native of India, who moved with his parents to Philadelphia as an infant, Cody proceeded to, according to court records, rack up 195 separate purchases, including $412 in Netflix charges, $871 in Amazon.com purchases, and numerous other charges from the online arms of such national retail outlets as Nordstrom, The Gap, and Old Navy. She also bought items from the online shoe store Zappos.com.
Of the 195 purchases, 174 came after the end of Cody’s employment by Shyamalan and his company. She used her own email address to make the unauthorized purchases, which were all delivered to her own home in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The 34-year-old former Shyamalan aide pleaded guilty earlier this week to one count of unlawful theft by taking.
Manoj — aka M. Night — Shyamalan burst on the Hollywood scene in 1999 when, at the age of just 29, his third feature The Sixth Sense — a supernatural thriller whose key line, “I see dead people,” and twist ending have since become iconic — earned several Oscar nominations.
But his more recent films, though still finding box-office success, have met with critical condemnation. His 2013 film After Earth, starring Will Smith and the star’s son Jaden, was not only panned by critics, but audiences, too, voted with their wallets.
The film earned back less than half of its $130 million budget in domestic release — though it did much better internationally, eventually grossing more than $200 million overall.
But as M. Night Shyamalan awaits the release of his recently-completed film The Visit, the aide who stole from the director faces up to seven years in prison.