Few filmmakers have suffered the fall from grace that M. Night Shyamalan has. Between films like The Happening and After Earth (both of which received less than 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), Shyamalan had to seriously re-think things for his next film, a thriller called The Visit, which he financed himself. In an interview with Collider, Shyamalan discussed what it was like making this kind of film.
“It was a huge risk. You’re saying, ‘I’m gonna do this thing,’ and you have to be aware, as a rational human being, that you may not be allowed back in. That was a real situation. Because they didn’t make it, it doesn’t necessarily go back into the system. That was a risk that I was willing to take. I tried to stay on top of why ‘The Visit’ was an amazing movie to make, and why someone would want it in the system.”
As a man who has been within the studio system for practically his whole career, it’s easy to see this as a huge step back for Shyamalan. After all, this is the guy whose films have grossed over $1 billion. In the interview, he elaborated on what that experience was like.
“If I was a basketball player, it would be like me going and playing street ball. I just wanted to go back to feeling a love for the sport… I consider myself an independent filmmaker. It’s absolutely true that I’ve been in the studio system, but I write and direct my movies, they’re always in Philadelphia, and they’re pretty much left alone. But when you do bigger budget movies, that’s not the case. It’s a different thing, altogether.”
Perhaps making The Visit was a necessary step for Shyamalan to reclaim his creative roots, and rediscover how to enjoy the process again. Is this a path that can lead Shyamalan back to making a sequel to making one of his most beloved films, Unbreakable? It seems possible.
“I love those characters and I love that world. Of course, the whole world makes comic book movies now… But the beauty of the world of ‘Unbreakable’ is that you’re playing it for reality. It should never feel like a comic book movie. It feels like a straight-up drama. It’s real. You’re confronting the possibility that comic book characters were based on people that were real. That’s the premise, so the tone has to be super grounded. It would be cool.”
M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie, The Visit, is set for a September 11 release of this year. The real question is, will there be an audience in place to see the film? We’ll have to wait and see how everything plays out. It would be a lie to say it wasn’t a risk, but if nothing else, Shyamalan has never been one to shy away from risk.
Are you excited for Shyamalan’s The Visit? Let us know in the comments below!