M. Night Shyamalan’s Old Almost Got Derailed by a Hurricane

Just this past Sunday, we finally got to see the first Old trailer during the Super Bowl. Over a long and somewhat-divisive career, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has made many movies exploring the majesty and mystery of nature, and man’s helplessness in the face of the elements. During the shoot for his latest feature, Old, Shyamalan revealed to EW that he and his crew got to experience that helplessness first hand when the set for the film got destroyed by a hurricane.

“It was so precarious to make the film at that time, and I decided to do it because that cast, I didn’t want to lose anyone, I didn’t want to lose one person, so I decided to go for it. It was risky to shoot it at that moment because it was hurricane season in the Caribbean. In fact, our sets got destroyed by a hurricane, and we built them up again, and we were very lucky that second time they stayed up.”

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Although M. Night Shyamalan has flirted with the world of graphic novels with his superhero-genre-inspired Unbreakable trilogy, this is the first time he is doing a straight-up adaptation of a graphic novel, the comic Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters. Sandcastle tells the story of a group of people who find themselves trapped on an island undergoing a time warp, leading to accelerated aging where the individuals in the group have to come to terms with their fast-approaching deaths. According to Shyamalan, it was his daughters who first drew his attention to the graphic novel that fired up his imagination and made him want to helm its movie adaptation as Old.

“[Old is] based on this graphic novel that I was given from my daughters. I read it, and the premise was so powerful, of these people that went to this beach and their experience that happens on that day in the beach… I thought it was very frightening and emotional, and the ideas just started coming, and I tracked down the owner, and the person that wrote it. It was just a beautiful thing, and kind of touching, that it came from my daughters, this story about getting older very, very quick.”

In the past, Shyamalan has been known for bringing his own original stories to the big screen, as well as inserting a big, third-act twist into the narrative that either blows the audience’s mind or leaves them rolling their eyes, as happened with Signs, where the highly-advanced, invading alien force failed to take into account the fact that they are deathly allergic to the most abundant element on Earth, water.

In Sandcastle, there is no big twist at the end. But there is also no explanation offered for why the island operates the way it does. If Shyamalan’s previous films are any indication, the filmmaker will attempt to answer that mystery according to his own sensibilities with another shocking twist. Let’s hope it’ll be a good one.

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Old stars Gael Garc&ía Bernal, Eliza Scanlen, Thomasin McKenzie, Aaron Pierre, Alex Wolff, Vicky Krieps, Abbey Lee, Embeth Davidtz, Rufus Sewell, Ken Leung, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Emun Elliott, and Nolan River. The film arrives in theaters on July 23. This news originated at Entertainment Weekly.


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