If M. Night Shyamalan did what was expected of him there would be no Unbreakable, Glass, Academy Award winning, The Sixth Sense, or Old, his latest film starring Tribeca Talks moderator Alex Wolff. While he was sure of the path he wanted to take, as he explains to Wolff there are certain expectations for Asian immigrants and they do not include Hollywood.
Though Attending NYU’s Tisch and subsequently creating box office hits was in alignment with Shyamalan’s dreams, it was definitely not the career his parents expected for him and rightfully so. There were no well known Asian immigrants doing the things their son wanted to do and in the 30 years since Shyamalan’s Toronto Film Festival debut, Hollywood is still playing catch up. Each year as awards season rolls around there are still many shocking history making firsts.
“Everything we do to try to find a new place for our voice in the world is an important thing.”
Many of Shyamalan’s films are deeply personal. Old is a story inspired by Shyamalan’s life. He tells Wolff and their audience that this film, which landed in theater’s last Friday, was inspired by his father’s ongoing battle with dementia. Unbreakable was the result of the internal battle that came with figuring out whether he wanted to be the person everyone expected him to be. Lady in the Water was his attempt at illustrating the way in which we as people connect to society at large. These films along with the rest of Shyamalan’s filmography have earned over 3.3 billion dollars, an accomplishment that makes him one of Hollywood’s highest paid writers. He attributes this accolade to his willingness to be himself and while Hollywood is still grappling with lack of representation Shyamalan’s box office success serves as a reminder that there is power in telling new and honest stories.
Written By: Ashley Williams
Shot by : John Patrick