Director M. Night Shyamalan Talks His Film Success

July 18, 2006
Photo: The Howard Stern Show

Director, M. Night Shyamalan, came into the studio to talk about “Lady in the Water,” his newest movie. After Night introduced Howard to Bill, his brother-in-law, Howard noted it seemed to him people in Hollywood want him to fail. To illustrate his point, Howard commented Night’s last three movies, “Unbreakable,” “Signs” and “The Village,” were all labeled as failures by some even though they earned from $200 million to $400 million in worldwide ticket sales alone. Night also mentioned his films, including “The Sixth Sense,” have earned $1.6 billion in theaters alone, with another billion dollars coming in through DVD rentals and sales, so he didn’t understand why some people were out to get him.

Photo: The Howard Stern Show

Howard brought up when Night showed the executives at Disney, the company that released his other movies, his script for “Lady in the Water,” they weren’t happy with it. Night admitted that was true, and added the executives thought the rough script he sent them was “strange,” which he said he didn’t understand given the other non-mainstream scripts of his they had read. However, Night also said he wasn’t overly surprised by the executives’ reaction to the script, especially because they approached him following each of his other movies with suggestions as to how they could’ve made even more money had their scripts been more tailored to the general public.

Despite this, Night acknowledged he cried after the executives pointed out their issues with “Lady in the Water” because he didn’t think they showed faith in him, even though he had earned the company so much money over the years. Night then said he turned down Disney’s eventual offer to fund the movie due to the fact that he didn’t think he could deliver the picture the studio wanted.

Before Night continued his story, Howard asked Bill if Night was generous with his fortune. Although Bill said he owned a computer software company and didn’t need Night’s financial help, Night acknowledged he’d always be willing to give money to his sister and Bill if they ever asked for it.

When Night got back to his story about “Lady in the Water,” he said a number of other studio heads were interested in it after they heard Disney wasn’t going to make the movie. Night then reported he was flown on a private plane to meet with people from Warner Brothers, who happened to “love” his screenplay, which he also pointed out was a touched-up version from the one the people at Disney saw. Because of their enthusiasm toward the “Lady in the Water,” Night said he decided to work with the people at Warner Brothers to make the movie.

Howard acknowledged he was rooting for “Lady in the Water” to do well, while also saying Night was one person whose films he’d see based on the director alone. Gary then came into the studio and reported he heard the executives at Disney had a problem with the fact that Night wrote himself “a large part” in “Lady in the Water,” which he admitted was just one of the problems they had with the picture.

Night then told Howard he’d like the costume Bryce Dallas Howard, one of the stars of “Lady in the Water,” wears in the film because of how small it is, before also admitting he was nervous Paul Giamatti, another of the movie’s stars, didn’t like him because it took him two days to respond after the script was sent to him.