LOS ANGELES – M. Night Shyamalan, who is “an Indian dude” living 3,000 miles away from here in Pennsylvania and did not go to school with “their kids” in Hollywood, is thrilled to be back with the psychological thriller titled, “Servant,” on Apple TV Plus – a genre he mastered long, long back.
The energetic 49-year-old Indian American filmmaker came to the limelight with the Bruce Willis starrer “The Sixth Sense” (1999) after his first two ventures flopped miserably.
Today, as modern technology takes over the art of making films, Shyamalan still aspires to make movies the old-fashioned way, because for him, storytelling still doesn’t need the support of too many tech tools.
“I have been an opposite of technology and still aim to direct my work in the same old way. However, technology today is helping more and more people tell their stories. A little kid from Minneapolis can tell her story. For me, limitations are still the things that make you hear yourself,” Shyamalan told a packed house during software major Adobe’s flagship creativity conference called “Adobe Max” here on Nov. 6.
On Nov. 28, people will begin watching the first season of “Servant” on Apple TV Plus, which follows a Philadelphia couple in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage, and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.
“The half-hour TV show is super minimum, one-location shoot. It’s like a play. We shot it at a house in Philadelphia and that’s it. We have concentrated on the basic ingredients, just the ingredients, to tell a super story,” he said.
“Servant” could bring him back into the limelight, the way “The Sixth Sense” did.
According to reports, Shyamalan envisions the show to have at least 60 episodes – six seasons of ten episodes each.
Born in Puducherry Aug. 6, 1970, Shyamalan came to the U.S. with his parents, both doctors, when he was just six-weeks-old.
No wonder that his parents wanted him to be a doctor, too, but destiny had other plans.
“Yes, seeing me as a doctor was the plan. In India, everyone wanted to become a doctor then. I was fairly accomplished academically, too. When I told my dad that I applied for New York University’s film school, he didn’t even look at me. He just didn’t react. Fast forward, everything has fallen in place for us,” Shyamalan told the audience.
He made his directorial debut in 1992 with “Praying with Anger” and his second movie was the comedy-drama, “Wide Awake” (1998) – and both tanked.
The supernatural thriller, “The Sixth Sense,” changed his destiny and he went on to produce some great films, like “Unbreakable” (2000), “Signs” (2002) and “The Village” (2004).
“When my first two movies failed, I realized it was not working for me in Hollywood. I realized there was no way for me to recover. Then the magic happened. In such situations, you can hear yourself clearly and that’s a beautiful moment. All you have is yourself at that moment so whatever you do resonates with you.”
“I got to minimalistic style of filmmaking which started to resonate with me then,” he noted.
And right people soon started knocking at his door.
“We need to realize that there are certain things we can control and certain we can’t. We need to stay in the column where we can control things. And work towards building things with all sincerity, within that column of life. Success will follow seamlessly,” the filmmaker elaborated.
In 2019, he released “Glass” as a sequel to his previous films, “Unbreakable” and “Split.” The movie grossed over $240 million worldwide.
Despite not growing up with “their kids” in the Los Angeles’ community of celebrities, Shyamalan has found his way and believes you can find yours too, if you remain in the right column of life that you have control on.