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M. Night Shyamalan says representation is a “big deal”

Old director says that the movie is a universal story, and that representation is important.

M. Night Shyamalan has revealed that giving us a chilling blockbuster wasn’t the only thing in his mind when filming his latest movie Old, but representation was another important factor in his process. During a recent roundtable interview, the Split director shared how proud he was of the diversity in his cast, and the universal story that transcends nationality.

Old is a supernatural thriller movie that follows a family trapped on a beach that rapidly ages you. Years fly by in the space of a few hours, and time runs out in a blink of an eye. A few of the names in the star-studded cast are Berlin-based actor Vicky Krieps, Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, New Zealand native Thomasin McKenzie, and American-based Alex Wolff. When asked about his diverse casting, M. Night Shyamalan revealed that the decision was close to his heart, and intentional.

“I mean, it was a big deal for me,” Shyamalan said. “Why it was such a big deal is because they weren’t playing a Mexican or a German, or an Australian they were just playing a mom, a husband, a wife, a father, you know?”

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“The highest form of acceptance is, we are just saying, ‘this is you’. Not hey, this is your Mexican neighbour, haha, just this is your neighbour,” the director explained. “You know, when we get to that place, it’s an amazing thing; I’m very proud.”

The director went on to clarify his decision to have a family unit full of different nationalities, stating that he felt that the world was “ready for differing accents, and to have people look different, and not think anything of it”. A family unit is universal no matter where you come from, and a fear of ageing and dying is something that every person can relate to.

Old releases across cinemas in the UK and US on July 23. We also talked to stars Vicky Krieps and Alex Wolff about their experiences working with M. Night Shyamalan. Be sure to read our interviews for more information, and check out our list of the best horror movies for more chilling stories.