Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Notions Of Change
Even as he recently received a Razzie award as Worst Director for last summer's wet dog, Lady in the Water, M. Night Shyamalan (pictured) has finalized plans for his next flick...
Michael Fleming of Variety takes us inside the deal:
...Shyamalan's next film will be a happening at 20th Century Fox.
Studio has pledged a green light for "The Happening," a spec script thriller that Shyamalan wrote and will direct in Philadelphia this August. Fox has earmarked the film for a June, 2008 release.
The Fox deal, which was spearheaded by Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman/CEO Tom Rothman, ends an unusually complex and public process for Shyamalan, who, since "The Sixth Sense," had made all his films for Disney. That was until a falling out over "Lady in the Water" which led him to make that picture for Warner Bros.
Shyamalan will produce with Sam Mercer. He also reunites with "Munich" producer Barry Mendel, who produced the Shyamalan-directed "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable."
Pic, which will mark Shyamalan's first R-rated effort, is a paranoid thriller about a family on the run from a natural crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity. The pic is expected to carry a budget of around $57 million, and Shyamalan told Daily Variety he expects to cast a big male star for the lead.
Shyamalan will prep and shoot "The Happening" as he continues to write the script for "Avatar: The Last Airbender." Shyamalan will follow with that live action film for Paramount. (story)
When he visited Hollywood to seal his "Avatar" deal, Shyamalan and his new CAA reps met with execs atop almost every studio. Each read an early draft of "The Happening," which at the time was titled "The Green Effect." The buzz around Hollywood was that no studio loved the draft enough to make a deal.
Shyamalan said he wasn't at all bothered by that. Though he didn't return to Philadelphia with a deal, he got strong notes and observations from several top studio execs like Rothman that helped him hone his vision.
Shyamalan, who by then reunited with Mendel, then rewrote the film....
...The failure of "Lady in the Water," and a making-of book that detailed Disney's rejection of the project, gave the impression that Shyamalan was not changeable. His decision to broaden his studio relationships was a step toward dispelling that.
"That is a misconception, and people who work with me know that I'm collaborative,"
Shyamalan said. "If you can give me a good idea that can help me to make a better movie, then there is no ego issue in taking that advice. Ultimately, this was a very positive process, and one that will ultimately help in making this movie the best it can be."
The deal gives Fox another piece for summer, 2008. The studio has so far earmarked the Eddie Murphy-starrer "Starship Dave" for a likely May 30 release
In my opinion, Shyamalan's career has been in trouble long before Lady In The Water tanked.
That said, I want him to do well with his next film, and I'm excited that he's coming back to his home town of Philadelphia for filming in 5 months.
It's nice to see that the director is open to collaboration...This is total speculation on my part, but the way that I see Shyamalan's career, is that he let the mega-success of The Sixth Sense go to his head. Clouding his judgment, as to what works--In turn, causing each of his subsequent movies, to yield lesser results
Hopefully, he's on the path to cinematic redemption....