Matt Adcock Meets M Night Shyamalan
Everything looks a little off kilter after witnessing M Night Shyamalan’s latest film, Lady in the Water. Or it might just be the effect of the multiple blue spotlights that the Warner Bros PR people have set up – either way I’m excited to be able to put some questions to the writer/director/actor who shot to fame with his movie ‘The Sixth Sense’ and has been spooking audiences ever since.
Where did you get the ideas for Lady in the Water?
A. The story actually came from me telling the back story that’s in the movie to my kids as a bedtime tale. Ultimately, what I was trying to duplicate with the movie was the kind of free-spiritedness that’s there when you tell it to your kids. I think there’s a moment when I watch Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan where you sense that the author has left the rules of normal storytelling and they’re following a light that’s moving around, going places that they might not fully understand and yet children can understand.
Do you think that audiences might be coming to this film expecting to be scared rather than charmed?
A. I’ve been struggling with what to do with all that. The Sixth Sense was my first one that everyone got to see and that happened to be scary. Then I did Unbreakable about comic books and it wasn’t meant to be scary. But it became seen as a mistake that it wasn’t scary. I didn’t even know that I’d been put in that ‘He’s the scary film guy’ vein then. I definitely like suspense though – I don’t even know how to think without it.
Your role is Lady in the Water is your biggest yet – are you planning to take the lead in your next film maybe?
A. Luckily, there are world class actors that can do that. But I did one film called Playing With Anger, which was my first film in India with a really low budget, and I was the lead in that. With this one, the struggle of a writer is something that I'm obviously very, very familiar with. I’ve felt that feeling of going into a closed room and just feeling lost. So anytime anyone writes something about a writer I'm always connected to the plight of that lonely person struggling to hear something.
But role wise - Signs offered the perfect balance of what I’d love to do – a meaningful small role that can contribute to the emotion of the movie.
How did your children react to seeing their bedtime story up on the big screen?
A. That was the only time I was really, really nervous - the day I showed it to them. The last thing you want is pity from your kids, for them to look up with that expression they give people who give them presents that they don’t really like… But they loved it, they’re 10 and 6, and I’d never seen them so transported. They’ve seen it now four times.
As a fellow dad I can relate to that feeling of wanting your children to like what you’ve created. Alas the novel I’m working on is pretty adult orientated so it might be a while before they get to read it. For now though I’ll be interested to see what my boys think of Lady in the Water, it’s certainly dark and scary in places – like many of the classic children’s stories?
Lady in the Water review: http://darkmatt.blogspot.com/2006/08/film-review-lady-in-water.htmlDarkmatters: H O M E