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M.Night Shyamalan's The Happening


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After Lady In The Water didn't set the world alight, Night began work on some kind of eco-drama. He shopped the script around but no one was interested. After recieving a bagload of notes from, I'm guessing, Fox execs, Night rewrote the script in a month. I think he then went for the co-financing over Fox footing the entire bill, perhaps to retain creative control or something similar. $57M isn't a lot of money for an end of the world disaster but Shymalan has lost the golden touch since Lady in the Water's failure (and the village, while not a flop, didn't do as well as hoped) so in a way it makes sense to keep things tight. It only needs a couple of good trailers, a good opening weekend and it'll recoup most of the that budget back.

Enjoyed Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and thought Signs had its moments. Couldn't stand The Village, and never got round to see Lady in the Water.

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Mark Wahlberg has been set to star in "The Happening," the thriller that M. Night Shyamalan will direct in August in Philadelphia.

Shyamalan set a spec deal for the spooky apocalyptic pic at the studio earlier this month (Daily Variety, March 7, 2007).

Wahlberg will play a man who takes his family on the run when the world turns upside and a cataclysmic natural crisis threatens to end the world.

When he made the deal, Shyamalan brought back his "Unbreakable" and "Sixth Sense" producer Barry Mendel to produce with Sam Mercer, and also brought with him a co-financier in India-based UTV. UTV topper Ronnie Screwvala committed 50% of the film's $57 million budget, with Fox distributing worldwide except in India. It is the third recent film that UTV has co-financed at the studio, after the Mira Nair-directed "The Namesake," and the Chris Rock starrer "I Think I Love My Wife," both of which were distributed by Fox Searchlight.

Studio confirmed both Wahlberg and the date.

Twentieth Century Fox has carved out plans to release the film worldwide on Friday, June 13, 2008.

"Friday the 13th has very distinctive, global connotations, which make it the ideal launching pad for this frightening thriller," 20th domestic distribution president Bruce Snyder said in a statement.

At the time that Shyamalan made his deal with Fox, he'd already been making inroads to get Wahlberg aboard the film.

The actor, who just opened in "Shooter," is also getting in the ring with Matt Damon and director Darren Aronofsky on the Paramount film "The Fighter."

"Mark has a unique blend of charisma, humanity, authenticity and skillfulness as an actor," Shyamalan said. "All of which coalesced at this moment in his career, making him the perfect person to take on the role of Eliot Moore, the science teacher at the center of this event."

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Signs and Lady in the Water where poor and there seemed to be little point to them. I loved all Shymalan's other films though. I can see why he made Signs and Lady in the Water, he just didn't want to be known as the Director that made films with a twist. Sadly when he diverged from 'twist' films the outcome wasn't so good.

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I've read the script to this... It's not great. There's some cool stuff in the first 30 pages, and there's a couple of cool little moments peppered throughout, but whole thing feels thin and undercooked. And don't get me started on the none-existent ending...

On the plus side, I dig the casting of Wahlberg, and even though the script is slight, there's no reason why Knight couldn't make a perfectly watchable film. He is fine film-maker after all.. I just hope they go all out with R rating and make something truly grim.

I'm gunning for Knight, but this one could easily go either way...

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I'm really looking forward to this, but don't intend on reading anything more about it.

And for the record, I thought Lady In The Water was really enjoyable. Since seeing it at the cinema I've watched it again a couple of times on DVD, and it's excellent entertainment.

Unbreakable is also fantastic. One of my favourite films of all time.

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I really like Shyamalan, although he does seem to have a high opinion of himself these days.

I think his scripts have got gradually worse and his directing gradually better, with the exception of Lady In The Water, which isn't as bad as some people say, but it's all over the place in terms of tone and structure and that. The Village made a silk purse out of a sow's ear of a script, while Signs' spiritual ending somehow worked despite the obvious flaw (aliens allergic to water invade a planet full of the stuff).

Unbreakable's wonderful, though. As is The Sixth Sense, albeit slightly less so.

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Give me a break. He's a lot of things, but he's not a hack. Paul Anderson is a hack - competent, workaday, uninspired, writer-for-hire. Shymalan is his own man and at least tries some interesting ideas, even if he appears to have run out of talent after two movies. That said, I haven't seen Lady in the Water, but whaddya know, it sounds like self-indulgent pretentious shite! Again, not really 'hack' material...

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I think his scripts have got gradually worse and his directing gradually better, with the exception of Lady In The Water, which isn't as bad as some people say, but it's all over the place in terms of tone and structure and that. The Village made a silk purse out of a sow's ear of a script, while Signs' spiritual ending somehow worked despite the obvious flaw (aliens allergic to water invade a planet full of the stuff).

Everyone falls for this. They're allergic to the bacteria in the water, not the water itself. That's why it's left all over the house, the girl says it tastes funny.

Night's self-indulgent ranting and overbearing opinion of himself would only just be bearable if he was actually making classic films, but he's not. Unbreakable was great, though.

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  • 8 months later...
  • 1 month later...

In the Just video everyone lies down, as if its the end of the world.

I sense the guy who cut the trailer didn't see the poster. The trailer mentions about how we never saw it coming etc. The poster said we saw the signs :D

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