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M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan

Birthday: 6 August 1970, Mahé, Pondicherry, India
Birth Name: Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan
Height: 178 cm

Born in Puducherry, India, and raised in the posh suburban Penn Valley area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, M. Night Shyamalan is a film director, screenwriter, producer, and occasional actor, known fo ...Show more

M. Night Shyamalan
When you say fear of the unknown, that is the definition of fear; fear is the unknown, fear is what Show more When you say fear of the unknown, that is the definition of fear; fear is the unknown, fear is what you do not know, and it's genetically within us so that we feel safe. We feel scared of the woods because we're not familiar with it, and that keeps you safe. Hide
My movies don't get acclaim the day they come. I have to wait longer. My movies don't get acclaim the day they come. I have to wait longer.
I think I take what you might call a B-movie story, deal with B-movie subjects, and I treat it as if Show more I think I take what you might call a B-movie story, deal with B-movie subjects, and I treat it as if it's an A-movie in terms of my approach, my crew, my actors, my ethics and so on. I guess that's my trademark or one of them anyway! Hide
[on his influences] At 14, I was at the airport, dropping off my grandmother. I went into the bookst Show more [on his influences] At 14, I was at the airport, dropping off my grandmother. I went into the bookstore and picked up Spike Lee's book, "Gotta Have It", documenting his early filmmaking experiences. If I hadn't picked up that book, I don't know if I would have been a filmmaker. Lee was from the East Coast and had no family in the business. He just found the way to make movies. And somehow, it demystified it for me. Perhaps that was his intention. And I was like, "I'm going to go do this for real." At 14, that was it. There was no way of talking me out of anything. Hide
The idea is to always go for the thing that's risky. I want to be courageous and original. And origi Show more The idea is to always go for the thing that's risky. I want to be courageous and original. And original means, you don't know what 'colour' movie you just saw. Hide
You get in my corner, you're going to get pummeled. You get in my corner, you're going to get pummeled.
All of my movies have made money, and that's important for me - it's my job to make money for the st Show more All of my movies have made money, and that's important for me - it's my job to make money for the studio... Hide
When we made The Sixth Sense (1999) in 1999, every film had an original film-maker with an original Show more When we made The Sixth Sense (1999) in 1999, every film had an original film-maker with an original point of view - American Beauty (1999), Being John Malkovich (1999), The Matrix (1999), The Blair Witch Project (1999), Magnolia (1999). Clearly that's not the case today. Hide
My hope is we broke so many rules we created a new rule. My hope is we broke so many rules we created a new rule.
That's the way stories come to me, they come to me very naturally like that. If this was a story abo Show more That's the way stories come to me, they come to me very naturally like that. If this was a story about me and someone else, I would be withholding information about them immediately. The negative thing about the twist is that it's all people are occupied with; all the gentleness in the movie is being overshadowed by the flashy cousin in the sequined vest taking centre-stage. [on surprise endings] Hide
I am fully aware of the giant risk I'm taking. Being as eccentric as my mind will let me and then he Show more I am fully aware of the giant risk I'm taking. Being as eccentric as my mind will let me and then hearing people's responses. This requires an incredible amount of pain. Everyone around me, 98%, at some point doubted. Hide
[on his love for The Last Picture Show (1971)] I think Peter Bogdanovich 's mastery of tone in this Show more [on his love for The Last Picture Show (1971)] I think Peter Bogdanovich 's mastery of tone in this film is the holy grail of filmmaking. I'm voraciously after that as both an audience member and a filmmaker. Hide
[on his legacy as a filmmaker] After I made _Wide Awake_, the critics said I was worthless. A year l Show more [on his legacy as a filmmaker] After I made _Wide Awake_, the critics said I was worthless. A year later I released The Sixth Sense (1999) and the same critics called me a master. A year later I released Unbreakable (2000) and they called me pretentious. Then I released Signs (2002) and they said I was the next Spielberg. After Lady in the Water (2006) they said I was an egomaniac and a charlatan. Now, after The Last Airbender (2010), I'm a worthless filmmaker again. When the next movie comes out I'll [probably] get called a master. And after that they'll call me a charlatan. It goes back and forth to the point where you can't really take it seriously. You're only as good as your last movie, but I feel like I'm at a point in my life [now] where I want to take risks, where I want to make movies that don't necessarily "work", where all the elements seem misplaced, and maybe in doing this I can find a new way of expressing myself through movies. A style of filmmaking that is my own and true to my own sensibilities. Hide
[on making movies for the cinema] I am an artist whose art-form is making cinema for a group of peop Show more [on making movies for the cinema] I am an artist whose art-form is making cinema for a group of people to watch together. That's what I do for a living. The exploitation of that is unending, but that isn't what I do it for. That's not the artist that I am. Someone who makes TV shows is a different kind of artist. The experience of being in a room with 500 people is different; you literally share points of view when you watch together. Hide
[on Lady in the Water (2006)] Making that film for me, as an artist, was the greatest moment in my e Show more [on Lady in the Water (2006)] Making that film for me, as an artist, was the greatest moment in my entire life. Hide
My intention, whether it's fictional or not, is a retreat back to making small, personal visions. My intention, whether it's fictional or not, is a retreat back to making small, personal visions.
[When asked the question "What determines the success of a film for you?"] If I can I look myself in Show more [When asked the question "What determines the success of a film for you?"] If I can I look myself in the eye and say I was artistically truthful. Hide
If I'm hesitant at all about an idea, then that's not the right idea. If I'm hesitant at all about an idea, then that's not the right idea.
[on the power of cinema] I once wrote an article about the Nuremburg trial and on the evil of the Na Show more [on the power of cinema] I once wrote an article about the Nuremburg trial and on the evil of the Nazis. These people were animals. And their faces throughout the trial were like ice, except for the moment when they showed a movie in the courtroom. When the lights went down and they showed the footage of the bodies being pushed into the pits, their expressions changed and they became emotional. They were watching the events on the screen through the eyes of everyone in the theater. They were having a joint experience. They were all connected, and they saw the horror, saw that their victims were human beings, and they changed. Hide
Movie making is not like other artforms, like painting, or writing a novel, because that can be disg Show more Movie making is not like other artforms, like painting, or writing a novel, because that can be disgested or interpreted... It takes two years to make each one of these, and it's always judged on money. Hide
[observation, 2017] Hollywood has become more diverse to the point where it's an agenda, and that's Show more [observation, 2017] Hollywood has become more diverse to the point where it's an agenda, and that's an awkward stage. Hide
I have this whole picture of the film in my head and then I put it all down on paper and storyboard Show more I have this whole picture of the film in my head and then I put it all down on paper and storyboard it; showing the movie shot by shot. I like to feel that I have thought of everything before the camera starts rolling but I think that's probably my asset and weakness as a film maker. I am giving my cast a target that I have in my mind and they are trying to hit it. It's positive because I know exactly what I want to get out of my actors and the scene. But the negative is that I might not catch the lightning in the bottle, I may not get that unexpected improvised brilliance. Hide
I want to make tonal movies [like The Last Picture Show (1971) ] where plot is almost obscene. In fa Show more I want to make tonal movies [like The Last Picture Show (1971) ] where plot is almost obscene. In fact, I think I get in trouble because my movies are presented as plot-driven vehicles, so I'm perceived more for that characteristic when in reality my tastes are more here, more like Kubrick and Blowup (1966). Hide
"It's human nature. Twenty-six people love the movie, and the 27th person hates it, and the only thi Show more "It's human nature. Twenty-six people love the movie, and the 27th person hates it, and the only thing you can think about is the 27th person." (on critics) Hide
If you're not betting on me, then nobody should get money. I've made profit a mathematical certainty Show more If you're not betting on me, then nobody should get money. I've made profit a mathematical certainty. I'm the safest bet you got. Hide
I play for a living...Success is tied to a feeling of magic, which I can protect. I play for a living...Success is tied to a feeling of magic, which I can protect.
I'm going to stop making movies if they end the cinema experience. If there's a last film that's rel Show more I'm going to stop making movies if they end the cinema experience. If there's a last film that's released only theatrically, it'll have my name on it. This is life or death to me. If you tell audiences there's no difference between a theatrical experience and a DVD, then that's it, game's over, and that whole art form is going to go away slowly. Movies will end up being this esoteric art form, where only singular people will put films out in a small group of theaters. Hide
My smallest movie, in terms of the amount of people that saw it in the theaters, is Lady in the Wate Show more My smallest movie, in terms of the amount of people that saw it in the theaters, is Lady in the Water (2006), and that was always meant to be a kind of super unusual, very quirky fairy tale. That's the movie that has the most intense following, but the smallest group. You know what I mean? The people that saw it, they are like, die hard fans of that thing! And for me, if my house is burning down and I can only grab one or two movies, that would be one of the two movies. Hide
Except for Pixar, I have made the four most successful original movies in a row of all time. Except for Pixar, I have made the four most successful original movies in a row of all time.
[on the criticism of his work] It really doesn't bother me because my aspiration, as I said, isn't n Show more [on the criticism of his work] It really doesn't bother me because my aspiration, as I said, isn't necessarily acceptance. But I always want to understand what's going on. What are the principles behind the tension or the miscommunication? I want to totally get that. Then I can choose not to react to it, or react to it. My constant, in self-analysis, is to try to figure out: Am I complicit in this situation? How did I create this situation? What is my role in it? Do I want to continue that role? Do I want to change the course of that role? As long as I understand it, I'm much more comfortable with it. And I feel I'm in a strangely decent place of wanting that amount of passion [and debate] people have when they speak about the movies, and the expectations. My obligation is to figure out the bridge so that I don't just let go of me and please them. That would be the disaster. Hide
[His advice to younger filmmakers] Work on your authenticity, your own voice. It's true for everythi Show more [His advice to younger filmmakers] Work on your authenticity, your own voice. It's true for everything, not just movie-making. Know yourself. Hone your point of view with the people you're around and the experiences you have. Be attentive. A rich, specific and unusual point of view is going to be very successful in any film. Hide
[on the kind of films he'd like to make] Right now, I'm starting to believe that the future for me, Show more [on the kind of films he'd like to make] Right now, I'm starting to believe that the future for me, what I want to do, and I know it sounds very hypocritical now, since I'm making this giant movie with Will Smith, is to be like the Coen brothers and make small movies where I can take great artistic risks and do stuff that I know 30% of the audience is not going to like, because I'm making it for the appropriate budget. I believe the future will be in marketing those movies through social networking avenues, as opposed to just TV; 95% of the way we sell movies is TV commercials. It will be more of an underground movement. Hide
M. Night Shyamalan's FILMOGRAPHY
All as Actor (14) as Director (11) as Creator (14)
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