M. Night Shyamalan to direct Will Smith in a sci-fi film? What? Yes! And what will the twist be?


Image Credit: Frank Masi; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

I see… an awesome piece of news. Over on our Inside Movies blog is an item that might just make your mood rings transform into the color for “ecstatic”: The embattled M. Night Shyamalan is directing a sci-fi film set 1,000 years in the future starring Will and Jaden Smith about a boy who “navigates an abandoned and sometimes scary Earth to save himself and his estranged father after their ship crashes.” There’s only one thing to say to that: Cheese and Crackers! Now, Shyamalan and I have a complicated relationship. I loved The Sixth Sense, was intrigued by Unbreakable, and petrified by Signs. But I was also befuddled by The Village, bored by Lady in the Water, and, like former EW writer Aly Semigran, gravely upset that Devil, the devil-in-the-elevator movie Shyamalan exec produced, was not called Devilvator.

And then into my life came The Happening, a truly horribly awesome film that I have already declared my love for on PopWatch. (It. Has. Everything. Terrible acting, hilarious deaths, and this honest-to-goodness line of dialogue: “Ain’t no time two people staring at each other, or standing still, loving both with their eyes are equal.”) So even though I constantly waffle between loving, hating, and loving how much I hate Shyamalan’s work, I actually have high hopes that this film could be his comeback. And not just because it still will inevitably become the subject of a drinking game in my apartment, like all Shyamalan films.

No, instead, I think it’s plenty smart for the director to return to his tradition of teaming up with a movie star for his latest piece of work — and one who has proven he can make bank. And that’s just Karate Kid Jaden we’re talking about! Adding super A-list star Will Smith into the cast means you’ve got a guaranteed hit on your hands, and one that stars the man that can make anything look good. (Exhibit A: This outfit.) So while many might be wringing their hands at the thought of laughing at another M. Night Shyamalan trailer in the theaters, a sci-fi film from the director and Will Smith has me saying: What? Yes!

Of course, we have another important matter to discuss. What will the patented M. Night Shyamalan twist be in his upcoming film? Vote in the poll below!

*Thank you, Troy McClure, for that one
**They were just there to use the bathroom.

Follow Kate on Twitter: @KateWardEW

Read more:
Will Smith joins son Jaden in M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi film
Jaden Smith exclusive: A possible sci-fi ‘journey’ with M. Night Shyamalan, and will there be another ‘Karate Kid’?
Mark Wahlberg admits ‘The Happening’ was terrible. What? No!
Moviegoers laugh at sight of M. Night Shyamalan’s name. How has it come to this?

Comments (44 total) Add your comment
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  • Nathan

    How does Shyamalan continue to get work? They should make a movie about that!

    • Mr. Holloway

      I think he should officially change his name to “The embattled M. Night Shyamalan” until further notice.

      • Di

        yes. a thousand times yes.

    • Thedivah

      I’m no Night fan, but I think this question is better asked of Uwe Boll

  • Alan

    Why on earth are you so excited, Kate? And WHY do studios keep shelling out money for this guy when his movies stink so badly? Oh well, I guess if Uwe Boll can make movies, then so can Shyamalan. But that doesn’t mean EW.com needs to squeal with giddy excitement over it. Sheesh. It’ll suck, obviously.

    • Cris

      You’ve really fallen far as a director when the best people can say about you nowadays is, “Well, if Uwe Boll can keep getting work, I guess he can, too.”

  • Kyle

    Absolutely everything about this project makes me really really want to NOT see it. Is there no escape from Will Smith’s kids these days?

    • Mr. Holloway

      Never really understood the hate for Will Smith’s kids.

      I’ve only seen Jaden in “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “The Karate Kid”, and I thought he acquited himself nicely in both instances. (Really, the biggest problem with “The Karate Kid” is that it should’ve been called “The Kung Fu Kid”.) And Willow’s “Whip My Hair” is trash, but it’s harmless, catchy trash.

      So, I ask again: why all the hate? People act like Will Smith is forcing his kids on them, but I’ve yet to see any reports of Will and Jada kidnapping people, taking them to a movie theatre and strapping them to the seat as “The Day the Earth Stood Still” plays on the big screen. Sure, the nepotism thing is annoying, but let’s not pretend like that hasn’t been going on in Hollywood for ages.

      Also, I personally can’t really muster any hate for a CHILD.

      • therealeverton

        Here, here Mr. H! Here, here!

    • therealeverton

      I manage to escape them every day. They don’t seem to be too good at following us around, don’t have our address andour local cinema stopped forcing us to watch the dozens…..What?…They’ve only been in a few films? …2 of Jaden’s were very good?…. and anyone who went to see The Day The Earth Stood Still deserves whatever they suffered?…

      See not too bad.

      Also, much like any other music, I can generally choose to listen, or not listen to Willow Smith’s insanely catchy dance tune.

      Well, I guess that restraining order was a waste of time! I blame The Smiths!

  • Mr. Holloway

    I’m actually right there with you in your assessment of M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography. (Except that I liked “The Village” more than you seemed to, and I think “Unbreakable” is his best movie.) I even came around on “The Happening” after initially being horrified by it to appreciate it for the unintentional comedy classic it is…

    …the only problem is that you’re ignoring his last movie: “The Last Airbender” was embarrassingly terrible and didn’t even provide the WTF-ness of “The Happening”, so I can’t even laugh at it. (At least not yet.) As a result, I’d be shocked if this were any good.

    Finally, Will and Jaden are SO going to turn out to be the same person.

  • Liz Lemon

    I’ll watch it. I love Will Smith. Maybe M. Night can redeem himself.

    • Supun

      It’s a parody that altlacuy points out the sort of problems thats been inherent in M. Night’s work in the last 5-7 years since The Village. I don’t think he’s in Uwe Boll territory, but he’s getting there. The first three major works in his filmography showed a nice handle on complex narrative that kept most audiences guessing, but since Signs he’s either forgotten how to tell a simple story without trying to twist it around to make it seem complex. I thought with Airbender he’ll find himself back on track since the project is an adaptation of a work that doesn’t involve twist endings or secrets. Airbender was a simple and old story staple of a young boy’s journey from being an ordinary lad to savior. It’s your usual Joseph Campbell hero archetype, but the film adaptation tried to make too much out of it and it didn’t help that he couldn’t figure out or had no idea how to convey the sense of fun and adventure of the original series. As for fascist jealous haters I don’t think that would go to those who have been criticizing his recent work. From interviews I’ve read since the debacle that was Airbender fascist would be a label to put on M. Night for how he has dismissed not just film fans but those fans of the Airbender series who were more than a tad disappointed with the finished product.

  • Lisa Simpson

    It will be great! And it will include all those twists! And more! Okay, it will suck.

  • DavidJ

    Being a HUGE fan of Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, I’d love to see Night make a comeback… but I just can’t see it happening. Much like with Lucas, his storytelling skills have completely left him for some reason.

  • mdbchud

    The twist is “No one goes to this movie”!

  • fbdbpw

    If Im right the twist is that it will actually b worse than the last airbender

    • Cris

      That’s not a twist. For M. Night, the only twist would be if one of his movies was actually any good.

  • Dave

    Meh. There used to be a time when I would get excited when I heard about Shyamamlan’s next project, but not anymore. Will Smith isn’t going to make me more interested since I’m not really a big fan of his and I think he’s probably the most overrated actor in Hollywood.

    • therealeverton

      How is he overrated exactly? I’m not seeing it. He’s had 2 Oscar noms, which the general consensus is he deserved, in fact another year he may well have wond for Pursuit. People think he’s good and can be very good but nobody is calling him Denzel or Deniro. If it’s as a star, well the box office speaks for itself; even 7 pounds had a decent global gross for a movie of its type; especially as its ad campaign told you nothign about the story and relied soley on the fact that it had Smith in it to get anyone to go.

  • John C.

    Since Will Smith would be essentially committing career suicide hopefully he can find roles in the movie for his annoying kids so they’ll all go away.

  • Ben

    I am just glad that this news is not that Shyamalan is going to direct a sequel to the Last Airbender (and please don’t). He pretty much sullied the great memory of the original cartoon series (and probably killed the potential movie franchise).

  • therealeverton

    I can only hope that this means he’s been booted from The Last Airbender! Better yet that they will just wait a few years and start again, this time with the creators of the show and the sensible notion that you can’t fit 20 x 21 minutes of pretty complex and involved story into 1 movie, let alone an 80 minute one!

    How does this man keep getting A-List work. Unbreakable is probably his best film and it’s been rapidly downhill ever since. I can kind of understand why some people like Signs, I hated it, well acted but nonsensical and dull; The Village was too obvious and never really interesting enough. Everything else? Well the best you can say is they weren’t as bad as Last Airbender!

  • Brett

    Smith is box office gold, except when he’s in blatant Oscar bids like “Seven Pounds.” Shyamalan is box office poison these days. It will be interesting to see if Smith and his progeny can break M. Night’s losing streak.

  • Frank Anderson

    I have enjoyed every M. Night film I have seen to some degree. I am convinced tha some people just bash him without knowing what they are talking about because it is the cool thing to do.

    • Tom

      I respect your opinion but, out of interest, have you seen Lady In the Water, The Happening, and The Last Airbender. I’m a big fan of the first half of his filmography (through the Village) but thought all of those films were absolute dreck. He needs to go back to making the more intimate type of films that made him famous (Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and even Signs), instead of trying to become a more standard action blockbuster director (look at Airbender- he can’t seem to do it). Still, the script must have been ok to get Smith to sign on

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