Best Known For
M. Night Shyamalan is a filmmaker and screenwriter known for focusing on supernatural plots. He is best known for directing The Sixth Sense, which was released in 1999 to wide acclaim, including six Academy Award nominations.
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Released in November 2000 and costarring Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, Unbreakable was one of the most anticipated films of the year. Unbreakable did well at the box office, but not as good as Shyamalan's next effort. Signs (2002), starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix,
brought in more than $400 million worldwide. The film explores one family's encounter with unearthly forces found on their farm.
After the commercial success of Signs, Shyamalan began to flounder as a filmmaker. Townspeople found themselves at odds with the creatures that lived in the woods that surrounded their community in The Village (2004). Despite a strong cast, which included Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard and William Hurt, the film received mixed reviews. It also failed to match his earlier box office success.
But, by far, Shyamalan's most disappointing film came in 2006. Lady in the Water, a bedtime story of Shyamalan's creation, was widely maligned by critics. He cast himself in one of the film's roles, a part for which he received the dubious distinction of earning a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor. In an interview with Time magazine, Shyamalan said that Lady in the Water "was really the only movie I've made that lost money for the studio. . . . That movie bothered me. I never got a chance to get it to the audience because I didn't know how to sell it."
Shyamalan stepped away from fairy tales to tackle real-life terror in The Happening (2008). This environmental thriller starred Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel as a couple trying to escape from some type of natural menace. After earning more than $30 million in a strong opening weekend, the film seemed to fizzle out. In 2010, Shyamalan made his bid for a fantasy film franchise with The Last Airbender, based on a popular animated children's television series. Unfortunately, this epic didn't win many fans. Critic Roger Ebert called watching the film "an agonizing experience" and a writer for Variety labeled it "instantly forgettable."
Shyamalan lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with his wife, Bhavna, whom he married in 1993, and their two children.
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