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'I have an open mind on the idea of ghosts'
Philadelphia, December 19, 2030 hours IST (1000 hours EST): Manoj Night Shyamalan, extremely busy, did the Chat from his residence.
M Night Shyamalan : Nice to be talking to everyone, this is the first time I have done something liuke this. It's gonna be a fun experience
Razor : Dear Manoj where did the germ of Unbreakable happen? Was it to give a totally new perspective and angle to the superhero concept? Will we be seeing David Dunn return or its the end of his story on the screen? Though Elijah is a character I will sorely miss, does the writer in you miss him?
M Night Shyamalan : Razor: The idea for the story was that it was the story of a real man who may realise one day that he may be a real life version of a superhero. I am not sure sure if I'm writing him again, I may have to think up of a story to do a story of him again. Elaijah ...I had such a great time writing him, I guess that would be what I would miss the most.
Xrayvision : Ever had any supernatural experiences of your own? And do you believe in ghosts?
M Night Shyamalan : Xrayvision: I'm open minded to the idea of ghosts. I definitely have moments when I'm viewing things, I dont like being in old houses, it is basically about dealing with the dead and seeing people and things you know.
Melanie : Hi Manoj I was reading your interview where you said that surprise ending angle happened only at the end, can you please explain it further
M Night Shyamalan : Melanie: In both the films the surprise happened at the ending of the film, when I was looking deep in the film and the endings came out off that...
Rajeev : Hi Manoj before Sixth Sense happened how did you handle your frustrations and angst? Was it really hard trying to break into Hollywood? Lastly are the Oscarwallah's baised against Indians?
M Night Shyamalan : Rajeev:1] It was a difficult path to get accepted, the succesess were small between a lot of failure and even now between two successful movies, it is probably one of those things that no matter where you are, you have to deal with ups and downs but you have to have a thick skin. As to the Oscars I dont think they are baised towards Indians. My last movie was technically a horror movie, and this one is a comicbook movie and Bruce Willis is an actor who doesn't get attention during Oscar time however if I make a movie about India's winning its Independence I'd probably get an Oscar. Though Frank Darabont got nominated for The Shawshank it wasn't exactly a horror movie. And his nomination this year for The Green Mile was more a carryover of his previous nominations.
Rahul : Hi Manoj, when Speilberg started out he became huge commercially with his child-in-you films, and later moved on to the adult audience segment, whereas you are catering directly to the adult market, or are we going to see more work like Stuart Little? And is the Indiana Jones film actually happening? if yes what is it about?
M Night Shyamalan : Rahul: I'm trying to do a mix of films. I try to do it not just for adults. I try to do it between my commericials movies and try to do both the movies at the same time. Though you wont see Stuart Little again because that was for my daughter and the draft I wrote was much more serious. And as for Indiana Jones we are still talking dunno when it will happen and what is it about? Its about a guy with a whip!:-)
rediff.com: Both the lead characters in Sixth Sense and Unbreakable share a very strong love for their wives. One loves her so much that his life cycle completes the circle only after he has finished what he wanted to say, in Unbreakable he loves her so much that he gives up football for his wife and subconciously supresses his powers.
Why are your male counterparts so selfless and sacrifing in their love to their wives? Do they also reflect the husband in you?
M Night Shyamalan : rediff: Yeah that is a very insightful analysis of the two characters, I guess my continuing effort to be a good husband and good a father. So my movies and my characters reflect a part of movie just that was David Fincher's movies reflect who he is and David Soddenberg movies reflect who he is.....
rediff.com: Wide Awake dealt with a boy trying to search for God, Sixth Sense was about two individuals coming to terms with certain facts of their life or lack of it with death being the framework, Unbreakable again deals with a mans near invincibility to death.
Why does death play such a strong character in your films? What is your idea of death and have you been able to come to terms with your mortality?
M Night Shyamalan : rediff.com: I mean basically all the movies are about cherishing life and how the death of someone makes you evaluate your life and it is definitely an issue on my mind, its always been there...not sure why. I guess its a complicated answer
Vivek: Did you name yourself Night because you were going to write all these dark grim stories?
M Night Shyamalan : Vivek: It wasnt as calculated as all that it was just that I read a book about an American Indian and I felt very strongly about that culture and I felt warm towards the name. It had a mystery and romance and a virtuality to it that I thought would come out as I became an adult and it has come out, it is like in some Indian cultures where a woman marries a man she changes her name, so it was wierd like I became a colorful character. Today when I'm on the street, someone calls me Night it feels nice. Manoj is associated with my childhood, I feel like a child when you call me Manoj. Though it has a lot of warmth and love to it.
Gracie: Any plans of making a Hindi film?
M Night Shyamalan : Gracie: No plans in the near future I dont know much about that style of filmmaking, it is something I wanna learn about but I'm a novice when it comes to understanding that language
rediff.com: Both Sixth Sense and Unbreakable have surprise endings, the former had a brilliantly clever narrative structure while the latter is fiendishly clever when it examines a totally different aspect of a superhero. A man who doesn't know his strength discovers his superpower which is orchestrated by the supervillian. It is almost like the story of Clark Kent discovering his superpowers when he is 35.
Is this going to be a permanent aspect in your films? Or will you attempt simple subject matter without surprise endings?
M Night Shyamalan : rediff.com I dont wanna make decisions for my lifetime I wanna take it a movie at a time. A revelation at the end of the movie is something I have enjoyed, like Pyscho and Planet of the apes, I tried it even in Praying with anger. But one thing I will try to do in my next film is that I would like to do a revelation is my film and the one after that but the worry is that I may get streotypoed
rediff.com: Can you please describe your process and style of writing? I know this sounds like what came first the chicken or the egg:-) But does the idea come in form of a thought 'what if a girl tormemed for having her periods in the girls shower and not knowing about it also had the gift of telekinesis'? or does it come in the form of a visual that stays with you and tells you an entire story? Do you write on a computer or write by hand?
M Night Shyamalan : rediff.com: It comes with an idea stuck with an emotion, like Unbreakable it came with a regular guy with a regular family realising his supernatural ability, each film is different I mean I'm very wierd about it, it has to be the right time, the right rooom, for Unbreakable I wrote by hand and kept all the papers, for Sixth Sense I wrote by hand and then write on a computer which worked out, and I write on different computers because there is such an emotion involved which each act of writing that each computer holds the memory of that particular script.
rediff.com: You were quite bummed when Sigmata of all films ended The Sixth Sense's five week run as No#1 at the BO. But the fact that Lost in Space bumped off Titanic was an consolation. But this year Grinch refuses to let you reach the top. What is your reaction?
M Night Shyamalan : rediff.com: That was the comment at that time, to have a film which is No1 film of the year and stuck there and I'm as unlucky as I was the last time, for 12 weeks we didnt see any good movie, and then when Unbreakable came out, a jaggearnuat of films came out. Had we been No 1 at Thanksgivings , we would have been big but Grinch came out. like we came out for Blair Witch and this will happen in my career, you get squashed and run over but then it happens
M Night Shyamalan : thank you very much for your interesting questions I had a great time. Bye bye
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