M. Night Shyamalan is not letting the rather mixed reviews for “The Last Airbender” darken his easygoing spirit or dampen his creative verve. Late last month, as “Airbender” continued to rake in dough overseas, Shyamalan sat down with MTV News to chat about his upcoming “Devil,” which follows five strangers trapped in an elevator — one of whom just might be the Prince of Darkness.
The film is the first in his planned “Night Chronicles” trilogy, a series based on his original ideas and helmed by other directors, and Shyamalan seems to relish the idea of getting out of the director’s chair and into the role of producer, a job he likened to being the goalie on a hockey team.
As part of our Fall Movie Preview, Shyamalan talked amiably about the film’s genesis, how he’s openly borrowed from other directors throughout his career and why he has such a complicated relationship with the public and the press.
MTV: This is an M. Night Shyamalan film, but it’s not an M. Night Shyamalan-directed film. What does that mean?
M. Night Shyamalan: Well, it just means I have a bunch of stories, a lot of journals I wrote, a lot of movie ideas that I really thought I was going to direct, and then I get another idea and I fill another journal. And I just decided to make a few of them and get really exciting young filmmakers to come and challenge me and show me everything and get some camaraderie going. It’s so lonely making movies, dude. You sit in a room by yourself and do it, and I’ve always kind of dreamed of having like, you know, a group of friends and we all make movies and I say, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?” And they say, “That sucks! And this is why it sucks,” and I go, “Really? Because I thought it was fantastic!” And they have that thing and have different languages of storytellers.
So, basically, we started a series of movies called “The Night Chronicles,” and “Devil” is the first one. I hired John and Drew Dowdle, who absolutely killed it in this independent movie called “The Poughkeepsie Tapes,” which is an absolutely traumatic experience to watch. We watched it in our house, we had just moved into our new house, and I felt totally violated. I didn’t want to live there anymore, and I was like, “Who did this movie?” We saw their second movie, “Quarantine,” which was so much fun, and I was like, “I gotta meet these guys, these guys would be perfect for ‘Devil.’ ”
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