Shyamalan responds to question about what happened to his career
July 20th, 2010
05:55 PM ET

Shyamalan responds to question about what happened to his career

It’s likely that a few people have wondered in what direction M. Night Shyamalan’s career is headed, but one journalist in Mexico, at a press conference for “The Last Airbender,” actually asked the director himself.

“You had a very strong start to your career with the ‘Sixth Sense,’"the reporter started. “However, the audience has lost faith in your work….’Airbender’ feels like you want to capture audiences again by becoming more commercial, am I right?”

We’ll assume from Shyamalan’s response – which began with, “If I thought like you, I’d kill myself.... Your impression of my career isn’t my impression of my career, it’s something you read on Google” – the answer to that question is a “no.”

“Right after ‘Sixth Sense'...I made ‘Unbreakable,’ which for me is a better movie. And the favorite movie I’ve ever made was ‘The Village,’" Shyamalan said.

The writer/director isn’t the only fan of “Village”; in France, he said, the 2004 film is still favored. “In Spain ‘Lady in the Water’ is huge. In Japan, it’s a different movie," he added. “It’s a tricky thing to think about how perceive your work. It’s a fascinating thing that you would even characterize my whole career the way you just did, dismissively like that. I’m not even sure how to respond.”

At the end of the day, the director said, “I literally turn down more money in my life to do things because I just don’t believe in it – I never take money for anything I don’t believe in… Ultimately, its only time that will take that cynicism in your point of view and eradicate it. So I’ll try to make movies as long as they let me make movies.”

“Twilight’s” Jackson Rathbone, who was seated next to Shyamalan at the conference, tried to soothe any wounds that may have been inflicted.

“My sister and I actually have fights over what’s the favorite movie," Rathbone said. "My favorite movie is ‘The Village,' and my sister’s favorite movie is 'Lady in the Water.' If a director can inspire animosity between siblings on which film they love more, that’s speaking in itself."


Filed under: movies

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Jenni

    I'm sorry M. Night that i tried to like your movies, but you're just like a one note guy who makes bland and boring movies. The Six Sense as everyone said is really good, even though i knew BW's character was a ghost before 20mins of the movies was over, never seen Unbreakable, seen Signs that i somewhat liked, but the aliens were weird looking. And then I just watch the Village. Overall, very boring, terrible acting, especially to the Oscar actors were not good, you had a really good idea (I've read somewhere that the Village plagiarized a book) but it was developed and poorly structured, and the love story was really lame and never developed from the two characters, also what's up the all the whisperings? The only 2 things about I liked in the movie was Noah's character, even though he didn't have a lot of screen time and the music. The music is SOOOOO GOOOOOD! But the movie overall sucked! Never and will never see Lady in the Water and the Happening, doesn't look appealing. And luckily i got the Last Airbender from the library, one of the worst movies I've ever seen, even worse than the Village. To me, I think M. Night should take a 3 or 4 years rest from filming, cool things down, and then try again filming. What's so ironic about his movies is that all the music to most of his movies are one of the best soundtracks I've heard. The Village especially, Signs, The Six Sense, The Last Airbender (Not the best, but a really good soundtrack, hear it, it's beyond better than the movie) and Unbreakable. But his movies overall are not that good. Don't you guys feel the same thing, that the music to his movies are really good?

    September 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jenni

    I'm sorry M. Night that i tried to like your movies, but you're just like a one note guy who makes bland and boring movies. The Six Sense as everyone said is really good, even though i knew BW's character was a ghost before 20mins of the movies was over, never seen Unbreakable, seen Signs that i somewhat liked, but the aliens were weird looking. And then I just watch the Village. Overall, very boring, terrible acting, especially to the Oscar actors were not good, you had a really good idea (I've read somewhere that the Village plagiarized a book) but it was developed and poorly structured, and the love story was really lame and really developed. The only 2 things about I liked in the movie was Noah's character, even though he didn't have a lot of screen time and the music. The music is SOOOOO GOOOOOD! But the movie overall sucked! Never and will never see Lady in the Water and the Happening, doesn't look appealing. And luckily i got the Last Airbender from the library, one of the worst movies I've ever seen, even worse than the Village. To me, I think M. Night should take a 3 or 4 years rest from filming, cool things down, and then try again filming. What's so ironic about his movies is that all the music to most of his movies are one of the best soundtracks I've heard. The Village especially, Signs, The Six Sense, The Last Airbender (Not the best, but a really good soundtrack, hear it, it's beyond better than the movie) and Unbreakable. But his movies overall are not that good. Don't you guys feel the same thing, that the music to his movies are really good?

    September 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rob

    thank god he didnt direct the new movie "devil" it might acually be good just because of that.

    August 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    The last great work M. Night Shyamalan did was as a writer on Stuart Little.

    August 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chrid

    Lady In The Water is by far the worst movie i have ever seen 6th sense and signs were good but thats it he should just stop

    August 23, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vanessa

    If you don't like him or his movies, why are you reading an article about him??? Some people must have an abudance of free time to waste reading about someone they dislike and then taking the time to comment on it. Sounds more like jealousy/envy and also very immature and petty. Why don't you make a better movie then? Or better yet, do something constructive instead of being so negative!

    August 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kirbygo

    You know, some people aren't aware that they have bad breath, or body odor either.

    August 6, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LA$$$T RAIRbender

    sucked
    sellout
    simply for cash
    why mainstream didnt push the movie more
    and why not create original IP then just rehash something
    your nephew watched on cable?

    August 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack

    The thing about him is his movies are about belief, faith, etc. Its most evident in Signs. All his movies have that basis. Not about the audience believing it, but the characters. He is saying some good stuff with his writing. Everyone has their opinions, me, I love all his movies except last airbender. Just throwing in my 2cents

    July 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JPX

    M. Night's narcissism prevents him from acknowledging/believing that anyone would find fault with any of his films. The reality is that he made 1 good film more than a decade ago and the rest have been increasingly awful. His narcissism is legendary and you can read all about it in "The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Tale" by Michael Bamberger.

    July 25, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David

    OK. Here's the deal on MNS movies...
    Praying With Anger – good
    Wide Awake – good
    Sixth Sense – excellent
    Unbreakable – fantastic. his best movie yet.
    Signs – very good
    The Village – good
    Lady In The Water – so so
    The Happening – awful
    The Last Airbender – beyond awful

    What amazes me is how upset people get about this guy. He's a freaking film director. As a people, our day to day existences would be absolutely NO different if he didn't make movies. Let him create. Then you judge. Then please go on with your life and try to be mature enough to express your views w/o the demeaning insults and hate-filled, way-out-of-line-and-actually-kind-of-pathetic diatribes.

    July 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan

    Out of all of the movies, I have to agree with Sham that the Village was his best. I have not seen the last airbender, but the most overrated movie of his was probably Signs. That one did not do much for me and neither did lady in the water. What Sham's objective is quite obvious and thats either push us as viewers to our limits on what we can bear to watch with our fears or emotions... or his endings that make you in such disbelief because of the idea or concept of what took place. I personally looking at it sees him succeeding more than failing on with his objective. For all of you who write off this man entirely must not think further than what is in front of your knose. He is definitely though without a doubt one of those directors that you will either love or hate.

    July 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Christian in NYC

    The thing about most enduring classics, regardless the artistic genre, is that they tend to be recognized at the time of their creation as great. The big ones were all huge in their day. There are some rare instances where unknown-ish artists' work is later "re-discovered" and re-considered. This happens to writers, mostly. Less so to movie directors.

    Mostly, if you suck in your day, you're probably going to suck historically. And M. Night, your movies suck. And don't take my opinion for it, take the collective opinions of Google and Rotten Tomatoes. On average, you suck.

    So, careerwise, here's the deal, M. Night . The overwhelming consensus is: You're Done. So, believe what you want about your career or how in Spain they "love" one of your most egregious films, but most of us have already made up our minds-and you're over. Keep making crap, and we'll keep calling it crap and asking people to de-fund you.

    Which, btw, please, Hollywood, please stop giving this man money.

    July 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThePhantom

      Christian, what is it that you do for a living? Judge people and decide their fate? LOL. Shyamalan is a very good director and his movies prove it minus a movie like The Last Airbender. If hollywood starts shelving directors as soon as they make a bad movie, there will only be like 4-5 directors left. He is human and can sometimes make bad calls. Just let the man do what he wants to do. All you have to do is watch his movies or not watch them.

      July 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Manale

    Only a genius could generate animosity between siblings.

    July 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bradford

    Absolutely terrible was The Last Airbender movie – This director probably NEVER saw the cartoon! M. Night is so arrogant that he cannot recognize the heart of the beautiful cartoon the movie should have reflected. Will a real director please try to do the movie version correctly?

    July 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  16. DannyAmatuerFilmCritic

    M.Night has certainly piqued all our interests enough to justify us reading of this article and henceforth subsquent blog. The ending of The Village was FANTASTIC. Sighns was squirmishly CREEPY. Lady in the Water was unique and creative and I'm sure most of us were into it whenPaul Giamatti (who did a fantastic job) was building the story to some sort of cresendo. Unfortunately, the last five minutes of the film were a let down and, in my opinion, lame. The Last Airbender was fair. Visually stunning with great sets and CGI the emotional connection was never there for me. I watched Ang and friends battle but I never felt like I cared what was going to happen to him... there was no connection estabilshed. In conclusion, if you want to see a movie... INCEPTION IS A MUST SEE!!!!

    July 21, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Chasemel

    The Village was terrible, but I do agree that making a blanket statement like "the audience has lost faith in you" seems pretty harsh.

    July 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Colin

    I'll agree with him that I think Unbreakable was better than Sixth Sense, but both were very good. Signs was also very entertaining, and if nothing else, I really enjoyed the premise behind The Village. The problem with Shyamalan is that he somehow got trapped into thinking he had to always make 'movies with a twist.' Every movie he's made falls into this category with the exception of Airbender, and they all got progressively worse (with the exception of Unbreakable). And to those who say he's a hack director, he's really not. He's a skilled technical director, anyone with an eye for visuals can see that, he just seems to be struggling with his ability as a storyteller lately (as well as not getting more out of his actors)...

    July 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  19. comment

    @miko, have you ever watched the show? the fact alone that shyamalan changed the pronuncitaion of aang and sokka's names was enough to irritate me throughout the whole movie. plus the pacing was horrible and the character development was non-existent. he made sokka way too serious, when in the show he's a big goofball and jokester, and same with aang. The aang in the movie didn't have the same light-hearted, carefree and positive deameanor that aang had in the show. Plus they completely dumbed down katara, who is probably the most gifted water-bender of her time. There were so many things wrong with that movie, and the special effects and action scenes BARELY make up for anything.

    July 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Joe

    Shayamalama Diiinnng Dooonnng

    July 21, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  21. Albear

    I really didn't mind the village that much. unbreakable was boring. never saw lady in the water. but the happening.... i've never been so angry at myself for wasting my time on a movie before. then i only had to see rottentomato's ultra low 8% rating to know that movie got butchered.

    i saw inception last night (maybe he could take some classes from nolan), and a preview for devil showed. the beginning of the preview went on as normal, then as soon as the screen flashed shyamalan's name, everyone just groaned. thought that was pretty funny...

    July 21, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  22. Are you Kidding Me ???

    M. nIGHT SHAYMALAN IS SOOOO DONE , THE VILLAGE WAS TRASH...THE LADY IN THE FREAKIN WATER ???? TRASH OLA ...... THE Happenening .... The only thing that happened was I wasted my time ...... Garbag a hito. He should be banned. he continues to waste time and money. I wanna know who said any of the movies listed were good ????

    July 21, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  23. MATTY

    you guys are pathetic!!!! Is that all you guys have to do? talk about movies and directors? Why don't you guys get a life and join the real world!

    July 21, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Carlos

      I have a great life and make great money sitting here reading news articles and blogs. M Night is a terrible director and a bad person and should be banned from Hollywood. He is worse than Uwe Boll because at least Boll knows he is a hack. When is MNS gonna wake up a realize he is too?

      July 21, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • MATTY = FAIL

      Apparently, if you had a life, you wouldn't be on here telling us to get one, would you?

      July 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sir Loin of Beef

      Gee Matty, apparently, you have no life either, otherwise, you wouldn't be here with the rest of us "pathetic" losers. LOL!!

      July 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  24. ashley

    i love how people come on here and run their mouth about how horrible this man's movies are? well, for one.. he doesn't give a crap how bad you think his movie is.. you still saw it, he still has your money. and for two, i hope i live to see the day one of you losers makes a film for people to cut up and spit out. this is america, we tear up people and their dreams because we don't like it

    July 21, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Sir Loin of Beef

      I love how people like you come on here and defend these "celebrities" that you don't even know. Who don't give a crap about you either yet you call the posters losers and wish bad things on them the same way they did.

      July 21, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Jame

      @Ashley – exactly. @Sir – it's not a straight defense as it is more of a look at our society. We want what we want and if we don't get it, especially in the entertainment industry, grown adults turn into 2 year olds who want more juice or snacks. You are grown adults people. You're seriously this enraged by a movie? This guy and so many other directors and actors pour months of their life into these films, you take two hours or so out of yours and shread it. Put down your smartphones and laptops, go pick up a camera, and shoot a classic. S**t, shoot anything. Until then do what YOU do to the best of YOUR ability and wait for your own critics to smash you in the face.

      July 21, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • lol

      I love how a comment by Sir causes an uproar.

      July 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Jules

    I can honestly say that I have never watched a movie this guy made. Apparently, I'm not missing much.

    July 21, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  26. Jus

    Pathetic... he just can't come to grips with the fact that his career has been over for 10 years, so he takes it out on the reporter.

    Just do yourself a favor and quit now. You won't be ahead, but you'll save yourself some more embarrassment.

    July 21, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  27. wahah

    if Night Shyamalan cannot recognise that he is producing crap, he will forever be producing crap.

    July 21, 2010 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
  28. jp

    the only good movie this guy did was 6th sense.. the rest if pure unadulterated BS! including Airbender way WAAAAAAAAAY off the mark

    July 21, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  29. AvatrFan

    Miko, you are clearly 12 years old. TLA the movie was terrible. How can you be happy with what he did to Ang, Sokka, and Katara? If you really loved them you'd see that Shyamalan did a terrible job. They're not the same. They had no heart.

    July 21, 2010 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  30. Klaark

    How sad. He has no idea how terrible a director he is and can't seem to come to grips with the fact that he's a hack. Seems the reporter was quite polite about it, too.

    July 21, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  31. Miko

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE LAST AIRBENDER....FOR THOSE THAT NEVER WATCHED THE CARTOON, YOU DONT HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT!
    SHYAMALAN YOU DID AN EXCELLENT JOB ON THE MOVIE...AND MY FAMILY AND I LOVED IT.

    PLEASE MAKE BOOK 2!!!!

    July 20, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlos

      What? I loved the cartoon series and Shyamalan butchered it. If you are reading the MNS, you destroyed a believed franchise and I hope the studio does not allow you to make any more movies ever again. The Sixth Sense was a fluke. Did you even direct it? You are terrible!

      July 21, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Carlos

      Err, I meant beloved. I get blinded with rage every time I think about how bad the Last Airbender was.

      July 21, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Wayne

      Sorry man, but it was butchered. That cast couldn't act their way out of a paper bag. What really annoyed me was them changing the characters names.

      July 21, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Wendy

      I think he totally butchered it myself. Coming from a family that had "all-night marathons" of book one before the movie came out...we were totally disappointed. The names were wrong, the story line was rushed, the choreography of movements was horrible (my nine year old could act better than that) and he totally changed the ending. Come on, the movie had pretty much been written, he only needed to piece it together. Why change a good thing? He did a HORRIBLE job on the adaptation of this movie. I can only dream that someone with a bit more talent can bring book two, Earth, to it's true form.

      July 22, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • red king

      The cartoons are amazing works of art and storytelling. The movie however shames the originals with underdeveloped characters, haphazard acting, and focus on time line and events over what makes the show so great, character, character, character. Unlike many others out there I enjoy Signs and The Happening the most of his films. I was so on board for M. Night's take on this drama. I left the theater extremely disappointed and instantly re-watched the originals to keep the spark for the show alive in my heart. Better luck next time M. Night. I'm still down.

      July 22, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  32. portalpunk

    why are we listiing to this gel-curl when we have LLO to fill up our blogs. BOOOOO sham-man

    July 20, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  33. cnntrolls

    signs, the village, sixth sense and unbreakable were really good. Lady in the Water wasnt terrible, but it was forgettable and i cant even tell you what the one after that was called.

    July 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      You mean The Happening? Yeah that film was awful.

      July 20, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • What Movie Were You Watching???

      The Village was "really good????" Wow...That was one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

      July 20, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Layla

    Just like artists have "one hit wonders" it seems like he is the same. The Sixth Sense was good,then nothing was better–the Village was awful–The Last Airbender,just so-so. Oh,well

    July 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arthur

      "One hit wonder". Uhh. You must have never heard of his film "Signs". That film was a box office hit and did very well on dvd and blu-ray as well. I still watch "Signs" on blu-ray from time to time. After that film, he seemed to have lost his edge. I did enjoy "Lady In The Water"; though it was a box office failure. Shyamalan needs to go back to the drawing board of what made him one of the most talented directors making films these days like the gifted Joon-ho Boong; director of "The Host" and "Mother". The Pang Bros. seem to be suffering from this as well. After their imaginative film "Re-Cycle" starring Lee Sinje which came after their hits "The Eye" and "The Eye 2", what happened to them?

      July 21, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • JR

      Hate to break it to you, Arthur. Signs was terrible. A horribly-designed alien that's afraid of water and can't open doors but can travel across galaxies? Epic lame. The Host was also awful. It wasn't even scary even though it was supposed to be. Lol.

      July 27, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • tawster

      I absolutely loved "unbreakable" and to a lesser extent, "the village". He does good work if a bit mixed. Unbreakable is still is my favorite of his.

      August 22, 2010 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |

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