M. Night Shyamalan
|M. Night Shyamalan|
Shyamalan in 2016
6 August 1970 
Mahé, Pondicherry, India
|Residence||Willistown, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Education||Waldron Mercy Academy
Clayton High School
|Alma mater||New York University|
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, film producer, actor|
|Notable work||The Sixth Sense
|Home town||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Spouse(s)||Bhavna Vaswani (m. 1993)|
Manoj Shyamalan (// born 6 August 1970), known professionally as M. Night Shyamalan, is an Indian-American film director, screenwriter, producer and occasional actor known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots. His major films include the supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense (1999), the superhero drama thriller Unbreakable (2000), the science fiction thriller Signs (2002), the psychological thriller The Village (2004), the fantasy thriller Lady in the Water (2006), the natural thriller The Happening (2008), the fantasy adventure film The Last Airbender (2010), the sci-fi action-adventure film After Earth (2013), the found-footage horror film The Visit (2015) and the upcoming psychological horror thriller Split (2017). He is also known for filming and setting his films in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was raised, and for including plot twists.
Most of Shyamalan's commercially successful films were co-produced and released by the Walt Disney Studios' Touchstone and Hollywood film imprints. In 2008, Shyamalan was awarded the Padma Shri by the government of India.
Shyamalan was born in Mahe, Pondicherry in Southwestern India to South Indian parents. His father, Nelliate C. Shyamalan, is a Malayali from Mahé and graduated with a medical degree from JIPMER. His mother, Jayalakshmi, is a Tamilian obstetrician and gynecologist by profession. In the 1960s, after medical school (at the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research in Pondicherry) and the birth of their first child, Veena, his parents moved to the United States. His mother returned to India to spend the last five months of her second pregnancy at her parents' home in Chennai.
Shyamalan spent his first six weeks in Puducherry, and then was raised in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, an affluent suburb of Philadelphia. Shyamalan was raised Hindu. He attended the private Roman Catholic grammar school Waldron Mercy Academy, followed by the Episcopal Academy, a private Episcopal high school located at the time in Merion, Pennsylvania. Shyamalan earned the New York University Merit Scholarship in 1988. Shyamalan is an alumnus of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, in Manhattan, graduating in 1992. It was while studying there that he adopted "Night" as his second name.
Shyamalan had an early desire to be a filmmaker when he was given a Super 8 camera at a young age. Though his father wanted him to follow in the family practice of medicine, his mother encouraged him to follow his passion. By the time he was seventeen, the Steven Spielberg fan had made forty-five home movies. On each DVD release of his films (beginning with The Sixth Sense and with the exception of Lady in the Water), he has included a scene from one of these childhood movies, which he feels represents his first attempt at the same kind of film.
Shyamalan made his first film, the semi-autobiographical drama Praying with Anger, while still a student at NYU, using money borrowed from family and friends. He wrote and directed his second movie, Wide Awake. His parents were the film's associate producers. The drama dealt with a ten-year-old Catholic schoolboy (Joseph Cross) who, after the death of his grandfather (Robert Loggia), searches for God. The film's supporting cast included Dana Delany and Denis Leary as the boy's parents, as well as Rosie O'Donnell, Julia Stiles, and Camryn Manheim. Wide Awake was filmed in a school Shyamalan attended as a child and earned 1999 Young Artist Award nominations for Best Drama, and, for Cross, Best Performance. Only in limited release, the film grossed $305,704 in theaters, against a $6 million budget.
That same year Shyamalan co-wrote the screenplay for Stuart Little with Greg Brooker. In 2013, he revealed he was the ghostwriter for the 1999 film She's All That, a teen comedy starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachel Leigh Cook. However, this statement has come into question as the credited screenwriter for the film, R. Lee Fleming Jr., denied Shyamalan's involvement in a now deleted tweet.
Shyamalan gained international recognition when he wrote and directed 1999's The Sixth Sense, which was a commercial success and later nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
In July 2000, on The Howard Stern Show, Shyamalan said he had met with Steven Spielberg and was in early talks to write the script for the fourth Indiana Jones film. This would have given Shyamalan a chance to work with his longtime idol, Steven Spielberg. After the film fell through, Shyamalan later said it was too "tricky" to arrange and "not the right thing" for him to do.
Shyamalan followed The Sixth Sense by writing and directing Unbreakable, released in 2000, which received positive reviews and commercial success.
Shyamalan's name was linked with the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but it conflicted with the production of Unbreakable. In July 2006, while doing press tours for Lady in the Water, Shyamalan had said he was still interested in directing one of the last two Harry Potter films. "The themes that run through it...the empowering of children, a positive outlook...you name it, it falls in line with my beliefs", Shyamalan said. "I enjoy the humor in it. When I read the first Harry Potter and was thinking about making it, I had a whole different vibe in my head of it".
His 2002 film Signs, where he also played Ray Reddy, gained both critical and financial success. His next movie The Village (2004) received mixed reviews from the critics, but turned out to be a financial success.
After the release of The Village in 2004, Shyamalan had been planning a film adaptation of Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi with 20th Century Fox, but later backed out so that he could make Lady in the Water. "I love that book. I mean, it's basically [the story of] a kid born in the same city as me [Pondicherry, India] — it almost felt predestined", Shyamalan said. "But I was hesitant because the book has kind of a twist ending. And I was concerned that as soon as you put my name on it, everybody would have a different experience. Whereas if someone else did it, it would be much more satisfying, I think. Expectations, you've got to be aware of them. I'm wishing them all great luck. I hope they make a beautiful movie".
Released in 2006, Lady in the Water performed worse critically and financially. The film The Happening (2008) was a financial success but also received negative reviews. In 2010, he directed The Last Airbender, based on the Nickelodeon TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender. It received extremely negative reviews in the United States and won five Razzie Awards, but it made nearly $320 million internationally at the box office.
In July 2008, it was announced that Shyamalan had partnered with Media Rights Capital to form a production company called Night Chronicles. Shyamalan would produce, but not direct, one film a year for three years. The first of the three films was Devil, a supernatural thriller directed by siblings John and Drew Dowdle. The script was written by Brian Nelson, based on an original idea from Shyamalan. The movie was about a group of people stuck in an elevator with the devil, and starred Chris Messina. The film was not previewed by critics before its release, eventually receiving mixed reviews. Devil was not a blockbuster hit, but has become a commercial success relative to its budget. The next film in the Night Chronicles series will be called Reincarnate. It will be scripted by Chris Sparling and directed by Daniel Stamm.
In 2013, Shyamalan directed the film After Earth, based on a script by Gary Whitta and starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith. It was received poorly by critics, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film a score of 11% based on 180 reviews.
Shyamalan currently has three television projects in production and varied stages of development. The first, titled Proof, has been sold to Syfy, the second is being developed with NBC reportedly titled Lost Horizon and the third is an off-beat thriller titled Wayward Pines, adapted from the novel of the same name and broadcast by FOX.
Shyamalan announced in January 2014 that he would be working again with Bruce Willis on a film titled Labor of Love. By November of that year, Universal had picked up rights to a low-budget movie called The Visit that Shyamalan had shot in secret. Universal released the movie on 11 September 2015.
Sci-Fi Channel hoax
In 2004, Shyamalan was involved in a media hoax with Sci-Fi Channel, which was eventually uncovered by the press. Sci-Fi claimed in its "documentary" special—The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan, shot on the set of The Village—that Shyamalan was dead for nearly a half-hour while drowned in a frozen pond in a childhood accident, and that upon being rescued he had experiences of communicating with spirits, fueling an obsession with the supernatural.
In truth, Shyamalan developed the hoax with Sci-Fi, going so far as having Sci-Fi staffers sign non-disclosure agreements with a $5 million fine attached and requiring Shyamalan's office to formally approve each step. Neither the childhood accident nor the supposed rift with the filmmakers ever occurred. The hoax included a nonexistent Sci-Fi publicist, "David Westover", whose name appeared on press releases regarding the special. Sci-Fi also fed false news stories to the Associated Press and Zap2It, and the New York Post, among others.
After an AP reporter confronted Sci-Fi Channel president Bonnie Hammer at a press conference, Hammer admitted the hoax, saying it was part of a guerrilla marketing campaign to generate pre-release publicity for The Village. This prompted Sci-Fi's parent company, NBC Universal, to state that the undertaking was "not consistent with our policy at NBC. We would never intend to offend the public or the press and we value our relationship with both."
Shyamalan married Bhavna Vaswani, a fellow student whom he met at New York University. The couple has three daughters. His production company, Blinding Edge Pictures, is located in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Blinding Edge has produced The Happening, Lady in the Water, The Village, Signs, Unbreakable, The Last Airbender, After Earth and The Visit. It is run by Night and Ashwin Rajan.
|Year||Title||Director||(Executive) Producer||Writer||Actor||Role||Film studio||Budget||Box office||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic|
|1992||Praying with Anger||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Dev Raman||Cinevistaas||$800,000||$1.4 million||N/A|
|1998||Wide Awake||Yes||No||Yes||No||Miramax Films||$6 million||$282 thousand||40%||N/A|
|1999||The Sixth Sense||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Dr. Hill||Hollywood Pictures||$40 million||$673 million||85%||64/100|
|Stuart Little||No||No||Yes||No||Columbia Pictures||$133 million||$300 million||66%||61/100|
|2000||Unbreakable||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Stadium Drug Dealer||Touchstone Pictures||$75 million||$248 million||68%||62/100|
|2002||Signs||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Ray Reddy||Touchstone Pictures||$72 million||$408 million||74%||59/100|
|2004||The Village||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Jay - Guard at Desk||Touchstone Pictures||$60 million||$257 million||43%||44/100|
|2006||Lady in the Water||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Vick Ran||Warner Bros. Pictures||$70 million||$73 million||24%||36/100|
|2008||The Happening||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Joey (Voice)||20th Century Fox||$48 million||$163 million||17%||34/100|
|2010||The Last Airbender||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Firebender at Earth Prison Camp (Uncredited)||Paramount Pictures||$150 million||$320 million||6%||20/100|
|Devil||No||Yes||Yes||No||Universal Pictures||$10 million||$63 million||52%||44/100|
|2013||After Earth||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Columbia Pictures||$130 million||$244 million||11%||33/100|
|2015||The Visit||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Universal Pictures||$5 million||$97.1 million||64%||55/100|
|Year||Title||Director||(Executive) Producer||Actor||Role||Film studio|
|2007||Entourage||No||No||Yes||M. Night Shyamalan||Leverage Management|
|2015||Wayward Pines||Yes||Yes||No||FX Productions|
Criticism and controversy
Shyamalan has been labeled a "one-trick pony" for his continuous use of the "twist" element in his screenplays. After the release of The Village, Slate's Michael Agger noted that Shyamalan was following "an uncomfortable pattern" of "making fragile, sealed-off movies that fell apart when exposed to outside logic." Shyamalan has also won the Golden Raspberry Awards on numerous occasions for worst director, screenplay and film in 2006 and 2010, whilst being nominated in 2008 for The Happening and 2013 for After Earth.
In a 31 May 2008 interview with the London Independent, Shyamalan offered this answer to the question about his "one-trick" movies: "[A common misperception of me is] that all my movies have twist endings, or that they're all scary. All my movies are spiritual and all have an emotional perspective."
In 2004, Margaret Peterson Haddix noted that The Village has numerous similarities to her young adult novel Running Out of Time, prompting discussions with publisher Simon & Schuster about filing a lawsuit.
In response to both allegations, Disney and Shyamalan's production company Blinding Edge issued statements calling the claims "meritless".
Awards and nominations
- "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1219) (Time Inc.). 10 August 2012. p. 27.
- "The need for a Dev Patel in the Life of Pi". Rediff. 20 February 2009.
- Huber, Robert; Wallace, Benjamin. The Philadelphia Reader. Temple University Press. p. 197.
Then [Shyamalan] changed his name. The idea came when he was applying for American citizenship at age 18.
- Padma Shri Awardees — Padma Awards.
- Bamberger, Michael. The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Tale.(Gotham Books, New York, 2006), p. 150.
- "Chennai Online". Archived from the original on 9 February 2009.
- Edelstein, David (16 July 2006). "nymag.com". nymag.com. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Dean's Message". about.tisch.nyu.edu.
- Edelstein, David (16 July 2006). "M. Narcissus Shyamalan". New York Magazine. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- NNDB -Manoj Shyamalan.
- Bamberger, Ibid., p. 19.
- Answers.com - Wide Awake.
- Young Artists Award - Past Nominations Listing.
- The Numbers - Wide Awake Box Office Data.
- M Night Shyamalan reveals he ghost-wrote 'She's All That'
- Kibblesmith, Daniel (17 June 2013). "Wait, did M. Night Shyamalan lie about writing "She's All That"?". Retrieved 5 October 2013.
- Premiere.com - "Indiana Jones and the Curse of Development Hell", By Ann Donahue.
- Science Fiction Weekly,[volume & issue needed]
- Otto, Jeff (14 July 2006). "Potter in the Water? Shyamalan interested in magical franchise". IGN.
- Schwawrtz, Missy (3 May 2006). "'Water' Bearer". Entertainment Weekly.
- Fleming, Michael (21 July 2008). "Night falls for Media Rights". Variety.
- Fleming, Michael (28 October 2008). "MRC, Shyamalan dance with 'Devil'". Variety. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
- "Details on Shyamalan Story 'Devil'". Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- M. Night Shyamalan And Bruce Willis Will Reteam For Labor Of Love
- Fleming, Mike, JR. "Universal Slots ‘The Visit’, M. Night Shyamalan’s Secret Thriller". Deadline. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Profile of M. Night Shyamalan goes sour: Sci-Fi Channel is still planning to air the documentary". Today. Associated Press. 16 June 2004. Archived from the original on 1 April 2015.
- "Sci Fi schedules controversial Shyamalan doc.". Zap2it.com. Knight Ridder / Tribune News Service. 21 June 2004. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- Edelstein, David (n.d.). "M. Narcissus Shyamalan". (Sidebar, "Backstory") New York. Archived from the original on 19 July 2006.
- Starr, Michael (23 June 2004). "Starr Report". New York Post. Archived from the original on 1 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- Recchia, Philip (2 January 2005). "Let's Be Honest! Who Were the Biggest Liars of 2004?". New York Post. Archived from the original on 1 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- Collins, Dan (20 July 2004). "Sci-Fi Channel Admits Hoax, 'Documentary' On Reclusive Filmmaker Is Bogus". CBS News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 10 January 2011.
- Humphries, Stephen (28 July 2004). "A Different Take". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015.
- Colman, David (31 May 2012). "M. Night Shyamalan's Pennsylvania Estate". Architectural Digest. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
- "Legal". M. Night Shyamalan official site. Archived from the original on 23 December 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Blinding Edge Pictures". YellowPages.com. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Syfy, Marti Noxon, M. Night Shyamalan and Universal Cable Productions Team for Proof Pilot" (Press release). Syfy. 3 August 2012. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''Wide Awake''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''The Sixth Sense''". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''The Sixth Sense''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''Stuart Little''". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''Stuart Little''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''Unbreakable''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''Unbreakable''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''Signs''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''Signs''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''The Village''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''The Village''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''Lady in the Water''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''Lady in the Water''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''The Happening''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''The Happening''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''The Last Airbender''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''The Last Airbender''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''Devil''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''Devil''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Tomatometer Rating of ''After Earth''". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Metascore of ''After Earth''". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "The Visit". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "The Visit reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- Whip, Glenn (20 July 2006). "Water' torture is M. Night Shyamalan a genius of an egomaniac? Director's newest film has Gollywood wondering" Check
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- The Radford Reviews (2 August 2004)
- "The case against M. Night Shyamalan". slate.com. 30 July 2004.
- "The 5-minute Interview: M Night Shyamalan, Writer and director". The Independent (London). 31 May 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- Grossberg, Josh (10 August 2004). "Shyamalan's "Village" Villainy?". eonline.com.
- "Is Shyamalan a copycat?". Rediff Entertainment Bureau. 11 August 2004.
- Susman, Gary (10 August 2004). "It Takes a Village". ew.com.
- Card, Orson Scott (2004-08-08), Infringement, Watts, Plum, Ringworld, and Even More Books, Hatrack River (hatrack.com)
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- M. Night Shyamalan at the Internet Movie Database
- Official website
- M. Night Shyamalan Online
- 2006 M. Night Shyamalan interview (Interview with Jon Niccum)
- Interview with Rajeev Masand on CNN-IBN/ibnlive.com
- M. Night Shyamalan Interview at www.sci-fi-online.com
- 2010 M. Night Shyamalan Time Magazine Interview