Monthly Archives: August 2010

Shyamalan embraces inner kid

M.Night Shyamalan is known for spine-chilling thrillers with ghoulish final-frame twists like in The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and The Village. But director M Night Shyamalan says he loved getting the chance to be a big kid again when making his latest film ‘extravaganza’ The Last Airbender.

Based on a hit children’s TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender, the film in which the world is at war and its fate lies in the hand of one small boy. ‘I think each artist thinks of themselves at a certain period of their life and a little bit of me perceives me as a ten-year-old a lot,’ Shyamalan tells AAP from his home in the US.

‘You see it, even in my darker pieces – there’s always a perspective from that age group. Whether it’s Unbreakable when he sees his father in a certain way, obviously in The Sixth Sense and also in Signs which tells the kid’s point of view of what’s going on.

‘It’s always feathered in there. ‘The Last Airbender tells the story of a primitive world which is being threatened with extinction by the Fire Nation, who aims to annihilate the more peace-loving nations of Air, Water and Earth.

But then a ‘waterbender’, who is still learning to control her powers, discovers the long-lost Aang – not only the world’s last airbender, but an avatar sent to save the earth.

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M. Night Shyamalan: Critics never get me

M. Night Shyamalan says he has learned to turn a blind eye to his detractors, particularly the ones across the pond.

“I don’t know what’s going on with me and the critics in the United States. They’ve never got me and it’s getting worse!” said the filmmaker.

Despite high praise for 1999′s The Sixth Sense, which was nominated for six Academy Awards, follow-ups including The Village and Lady In The Water went down like lead balloons.

The writer and director thinks cultural differences may play a part:

“I’ve always had a European sensibility to my movies, so the pacing is always a little bit off for (Americans). It feels a little stilted, they need more electricity. 

“I’m very used to getting on a plane from the US having been savaged by them and going to – in this case – Japan next, and then they’re like ‘genius!’, he added.

Poor reviews or not, Shyamalan has already penned the sequel to The Last Airbender and a strong peformance at the US box office means it is likely to be made.


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Shyamalan promises ‘darker’ sequel to The Last Airbender

OPENING in UK cinemas this Friday, August 13, is M. Night Shyamalan’s new fantasy film The Last Airbender.

The filmmaker has revealed he already has two further instalments in mind in what’s envisaged as a potential franchise.

The movie is based on the children’s animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, with the Avatar part dropped for the big screen because of James Cameron’s sci-fi epic of the same name.

The story follows the adventures of a young boy called Aang in a world divided into four nations, representing Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

In this first film, the Fire Nation has waged a campaign for global domination and it’s only Aang, as the Avatar, who can manipulate all four elements and restore balance to the world.

Despite the challenges of the film and the criticisms of racism over his casting choices, Shyamalan hopes the movie does well enough for him to develop the story in further instalments.

“If I get the opportunity to make the second and third movies, I’ll be much more certain about how to approach it in terms of characters and feel confident in how to use all these things as tools, the CGI, the extras and the costumes,” he told us.

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Shyamalan ‘not just about gimmicks’

Jackson Rathbone has said that there is more to M. Night Shyamalan’s work than plot turns and gimmicks

Rathbone told Digital Spy that his Last Airbender director, whose early films The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable featured twist endings, was “amazing” to work with.

“People say he does twists in all his movies but where really was the twist in Signs?” he said. “It’s kind of hard to say that there’s a gimmick to his work, it’s not that, he tells a story so compelling that you’re on the edge of your seat all the way through the film.”

On Shyamalan’s approach to The Last Airbender, which is based on the popular Nickelodeon children’s TV show, Rathbone said: “What he was able to put into the live-action adaptation was a condensed version of the animated series. It was fun, it was amazing to get to work with a director of Night’s calibre, someone we’ve respected and admired for years now. We’re waiting for his next film to get out and see what he was going to do next.”


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Jackson Rathbone: ‘Art Is Subjective’

Though it performed respectably at the box office, grossing nearly $130 million since its July 1 release date, M. Night Shyamalan’s fantasy flick “The Last Airbender” received an icy reception from critics — a reaction that star Jackson Rathbone says is undeserved.

“The critics in the U.S. … I just don’t think they really like M. Night Shyamalan anymore,” Rathbone told MTV News while on the blue carpet for the 2010 Teen Choice Awards. “I don’t know why. It’s sad because he’s such an amazing director and an amazing person.”

The film, written and directed by Shyamalan, is a live-action remake of the popular Nickelodeon animated TV series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and the first installment in a proposed trilogy. It received mixed reviews from critics, many who said the film emphasized style over substance. Nonetheless, Rathbone stands by the film’s box-office performance, adding that Shyamalan’s popularity is stronger than ever in foreign markets.

“It was interesting, the reception with ‘The Last Airbender,’ because they did extremely well with the U.S. domestic box office and even better than expected overseas,” he said. “Overseas, internationally, they still love him and think his work is genius.”

In the end, Rathbone believes it’s just a matter of taste. “It’s just one of those things,” he said. “Art is subjective.”

Shyamalan’s mettle will next be tested with September’s stuck-in-an-elevator horror-thriller “Devil,” a story he conceptualized, while Rathbone will begin work on the two-part “Breaking Dawn” film this fall.



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Devil has a new poster

As a follow up to the recent teaser poster, Universal Pictures released the latest movie poster for the upcoming movie “Devil” by writer M. Night Shyamalan (The Last Airbender, Lady in the Water) from directors Drew Dowdle (Quarantine) and John Erick Dowdle (The Poughkeepsie Tapes, The Dry Spell).

Devil is starring Chris Messina (An Invisible Sign, Six Feet Under), Geoffrey Arend, Bojana Novakovic (Drag Me to Hell, Edge of Darkness), Logan Marshall-Green and Caroline Dhavernas.

Synopsis: A group of people trapped in a elevator realize that the devil is among them.


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I had second thoughts about starring in The Last Airbender: Dev Patel

 Dev Patel has admitted that he had his concerns about starring in action fantasy film ‘The Last Airbender’.

The Sixth Sense director M Night Shyamalan has a taken Dev in his latest movie after seeing him in the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire – but the 20-year-old British actor revealed to the Radio Times he had his doubts after reading the script.

“I read the entire script and I had my concerns – I was like [wince] I”m not too sure if I really wanna be doing this. I wasn”t blown away,” the Mirror quoted him as saying.

But then he spoke to Shyamalan on the phone and was impressed by “his vision”.

Now Dev insists the negative criticism of the film is inspiring to him.

“Actually the negative criticism really drives me in a way [he points out he didn”t get good reviews for his role in Skins]. And if I had got amazing reviews for Skins, I don”t know if I would have worked as hard on Slumdog, to get the awards I did. But then there was too much praise after Slumdog. So to come off Airbender and for the film to be critically smashed like it is now, is great,” he added.


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