A behind-the-scenes look at the groundbreaking filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan
In his relatively young career, M. Night Shyamalan has achieved phenomenal commercial and critical success. His films The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, and The Village have grossed over $1.5 billion and reinvented the thriller genre. Because Shyamalan has worked outside of the Hollywood system, however, his filmmaking habits and personality have remained largely unknown. But reporter Michael Bamberger obtained unprecedented access to Shyamalan during the tumultuous production of his film Lady in the Water, and in The Man Who Heard Voices exposes the struggles and triumphs of this modern-day Hitchcock at work.
From revising the screenplay to shooting on location and evaluating the crucial initial test screening, The Man Who Heard Voices tracks all stages in the life of Shyamalan’s film. Bamberger delves into Shyamalan’s relationship with the actors and the studio (he moved from Disney to Warner Bros. for this film) while also profiling various players on set. The result is a fascinating insider portrait of creative genius—and the real-life story behind a Hollywood thriller.
Sportswriter Bamberger's frothy though unconvincing account of the tentative making of Shyamalan's latest film, Lady in the Water, won't make a lasting contribution to film history but may appeal to diehard fans of the moviemaker who hit it big with The Sixth Sense. Bamberger meets his fellow Philadelphian Shyamalan and his wife, Bhavna, at a party in 2004, and becomes intrigued with how this Indian- British immigrant came up with the idea that allowed him to persuade all the right people to make his first movie, at age 28, which grossed $1 billion worldwide and earned six Oscar nominations. Bamberger explores the themes of faith and heresy that run through Shyamalan's movies, including Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, and the little-seen coming-of-age dramedy Wide Awake, and reveals Shyamalan's latest inspiration, his original fable about a sea nymph. Essentially, Bamberger follows the secretive moviemaker around and tries to get a sense of his thoughts: "Night was trying to write this ambitious, crazy, inspired screenplay, and a lot of the time he had no idea what he was doing." A soup-to-nuts account of the making of the movie evolves with plenty of flashy names from coast to coast, but the whole isn't all that nourishing.