M. Night Shyamalan’s desire to please people has been “detrimental” to his career.
The director shot to worldwide recognition with his 1999 movie The Sixth Sense, which starred Bruce Willis. It won him legions of fans but his subsequent offerings didn’t always live up to expectations, with flicks like The Last Airbender and After Earth panned by critics.
This isn’t something which passed Shyamalan by, and he’s now spoken of what he thinks went wrong.
“I hate that [self-doubt] side of myself. Our job is to be artists and make this painting as specifically as possible,” he told screenrant.com.
“The truth is if you can learn to develop your own inner voice, usually things work out. They do. This desire to want to please everybody, whether it’s your bosses or your neighbour or whatever, can sometimes be detrimental.”
And so in deciding not to be tied to a big budget offering or a huge movie studio, the director has helmed The Visit. It is a small film shot over 30 days with just 25 crew members and follows some children as they visit their grandparents. It’s a spooky movie and is being hailed as a return to form for the star, who has hinted this could be the way forward for him from now on.
“I think I’m going to do this again, this small movie, and insert it back into the system if they want it at that point. It really works for me. I can’t say right now, definitively I’m always going to make small movies, but I would like to,” he said. “That’s what I feel like right now. I just want to make small movies forever. But then you’ll read I’m making the next Star Wars and you’ll say, ‘He’s an a*shole!'”
Some of his previous films have had to fulfil studio obligations, which it’s been suggested was one of the issues with The Last Airbender. It seems ditching this is what really got Shyamalan's creative juices flowing this time around.
“All human nature is kind of, ‘I want someone else to take the responsibility so that I can feel a little bit less vulnerable.’ It feels safer. And to keep yourself very vulnerable and to do things in secret, it was really a great process,” he said.