Catching up with M Night Shyamalan
His TV debut promises to be just the sort of creepfest the film-maker is loved for
“Television was always a taboo place for me,” says M Night Shyamalan, whose 10-episode miniseries, the psychological thriller Wayward Pines, is getting an unprecedented debut in 125 countries on Fox this month. It was the script that did it.
Based on the books by Blake Crouch, the show has Matt Dillon playing a secret service agent searching for two missing colleagues, one of them an ex-lover. After a truck smashes into his car, he wakes up in the hospital of a tiny Idaho town, Wayward Pines, with no belongings, no answers from the creepy people he meets, and apparently no way to get out.
“The script was so suspenseful and funny, that I called the studio and said, as long as the answer is not they are all dead, I am going to do this,” says the 44-year-old Indian-American director, who executive-produces the show and directed the pilot. “They said no, I said I’m in.”
After the failure of his last two movies (The Last Airbender, 2010 and After Earth, 2013), Shyamalan is understandably anxious about the reception. “I catastrophise everything. I am phobic about flying right now, because it would be very dramatic to die when things are going well. Whenever they weren’t, I slept like a baby on flights. So yes, I am very paranoid. Why are you being nice to me?”