While it was technically his third film as a director, M. Night Shyamalan became an instant household name thanks to the The Sixth Sense. Not only did the supernatural thriller make over $670 million at the worldwide box office, it also garnered six Academy Award nominations, including two for Shyamalan herself and a Best Picture nomination. The film also secured Shyamalan’s place as the “twist” man, as his trope for a big third-act reveal began with The Sixth Sense‘s conclusion. However, in a new interview, Shyamalan shared how his original version for the movie was almost VERY different.
“Originally, Sixth Sense was kind of a version of a serial killer movie. It stemmed more from my love of Silence to the Lambs and that genre, mixed with the supernatural,” Shyamalan revealed. Yahoo. “In the first iterations of the screenplay, there was a crime scene photographer whose son was seeing ghosts. So that’s how it started to come to me. The idea of a therapist and everything changed, and focused on two families.”
As fans recall, that therapist role went to Bruce Willis, a man Shyamalan would go on to work with on multiple occasions. It was a different era when The Sixth Sense came out, and the filmmaker is well aware that it was a unique time in Hollywood history. Thinking about how different the business was in the late 20th century compared to today, and how originality was king.
“In 1999 then Sixth Sense came out, you had one of the best years ever of original storytelling, with Sixth Sense And The Matrix And Magnolia And American beauty And The initiate [and] Blair witch. All these movies have come true [in the same year], all phenomenally successful, all over the world. That’s what the industry was focused on, impactful originality. It was a spec scenario market. So someone in Idaho was able to write this incredible thriller and they bid on it because that’s what they were looking for. So it was a very exciting time. I was built for that time. So I was very lucky to have written that screenplay in the industry at the time. … It’s really indicative of where we were and what the world needed from their entertainment versus perhaps the comfort of things they’re already familiar with in more precarious times.
Shyamalan’s latest movie, Knock on the hutnow playing in cinemas.
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