Interviews with actors who have worked on the sets of M. Night Shyamalan movies – most recently, horror movie Knock at the Cabin – always praise the calm, relaxing atmosphere. According to his colleagues, Shyamalan sounds like a pleasure to work with – but he does admit to having one rule on his sets.
Speaking to Variety, Shyamalan said there’s only one rule that he has regarding his actors and characters; “The only thing I don’t allow actors to do in the movies is feel sorry for themselves. I think audiences can find that indulgent in a way that’s offensive. But as soon as characters feel sorry for themselves, audiences are like: ‘I’m out.'”
He continued; “You can show anger, you can show fighting, you can be funny, but you have to be active in your own survival. If you feel sorry for yourself, that’s a form of giving up, and that’s not a circumstance I want to put them in.”
M. Night Shyamalan’s movies tend to be extremely divisive, provoking ‘marmite’ love-it-or-hate-it reactions. He exploded onto the movie-making scene when he was only 29 years old with the highly critically-acclaimed The Sixth Sense – which was nominated for 6 Oscars. His following three movies were largely positively received, until he entered a roughly decade-long period of making ‘turkeys.’ 2015’s The Visit started to claw some good will back, followed by the highly successful Split (2016) and Glass (2019).
Shyamalan made the mid-budget horror movies Old and Knock at the Cabin pretty close together, and it’s an exciting time for the independent, risk-taking director who has always followed his own path.
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