M. Night Shyamalan and Pi’s Life

While Shyamalan would have loved to adapt Yann Martel’s novel, he conceded that Ang Lee “made a beautiful film out of it”.

LIFE OF PI, 2012. TM and ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved./Courtesy of Everett Collection

©20thCentFox/courtesy Everett Collection

From his early hits with “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable” to his mid-2000s dry spell that included “After Earth” and “The Last Airbender,” M. Night Shyamalan’s career roller coaster has taken him on. taken through all levels of Hollywood. The multi-hyphenate has found renewed success in recent years directing mid-budget genre flicks like “Old” and “Knock at the Cabin,” but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped thinking about certain of the biggest projects he’s flirted with over the years. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Shyamalan opened up about some of the projects he came close to achieving during his three-decade career.

“I loved the book ‘The Life of Pi’, and I was going to do it. But Ang Lee made a great movie out of it. It was the one I wish I’d made,” Shyamalan said. “Between the first two movies, I wrote a script called ‘Labor of Love’, and it became a giant bidding war in Hollywood. Fox then bought it and they fired me as a director because I was a kid. I’ve come close to doing it a few times since, but at this point I probably never will.

But while every filmmaker has a few lost projects they want to see come to fruition, Shyamalan isn’t too upset about missing out on those two films. The director explained that he is happy to have found a creative home at Universal where he can continue to develop original projects, an opportunity that is offered to fewer and fewer filmmakers.

“They’ve been really good at letting us do our thing, and they’re just really nice people,” he said of Universal. “They didn’t shy away from watching the original movie, which was to their great benefit. I wish the whole industry would embrace the original movie and bring it back. Once upon a time, the whole industry was all about The Original Movies Finding and supporting new voices that can reach a wide audience used to be the most important thing, and now Universal has made it a mandate.

“Knock at the Cabin” is now playing in theaters.


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