Interviews, Horror

Horror king M. Night Shyamalan on his nightmarish new beach thriller

The legendary director has 'spent every second for two years' only thinking about 'Old', his latest existential offering.

7/28/2021 4:26:00 AM

The legendary director has 'spent every second for two years' only thinking about 'Old', his latest existential offering.

The legendary director has 'spent every second for two years' only thinking about 'Old', his latest existential offering.

Hey M. Night, how’s it going today?Good, good, having great conversations. It's fun to talk about people's emotions because that's what I get the most excited about — how they're reacting to the movie and their feelings about it.So are you a person that quite enjoys doing press then?

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You know, it's funny! It's so strange for me, because these are such personal movies. And most of the time it's the actors that are doing junkets like this. They made a movie: they spent six weeks on it, and then they talked about it. But for me, I've spent every second for two years — up until the very second I talk to you — only thinking about this movie. So there's a lot to talk about.

Great, then let's get right into it. This is going to be your first feature release sinceGlassin 2019 and you're coming up on nearly 30 years of filmmaking. How are you feeling about your career at the moment?I'm grateful for sure. People are still interested in coming to hear the stories coming out of my head, which is unbelievable. I try to go back to the feeling I had when I was in the car with my mom and dad, driving through the Holland Tunnel to drop me off at NYU. I remember the feeling like I wanted to literally jump out of the car and run to the film school. I could not wait to start thinking about making movies. My parents are both doctors who probably thought I was insane at that time. But that excitement, I do still have that. So how long can I make that the reason I'm making movies?

As a kind of addendum, let’s talk a bit aboutOldand some of your more recent feelings on age and ageing.I think when you're younger, everything is binary:"I'm in love!” or “I hate you, mom!" As you get older, everything gets a little bit more subtle. We don't notice it, because it happens over decades for us. But [

Oldasks], what if it happened in a matter of hours?Universal PicturesIs that an observation you made looking at your own life?Right now, I would say I'm different than I was 10 years ago. Specifically, I am much more muted. And that's a sad thing, but maybe a helpful thing, because I don't get as high but I also don't get as low. I miss the intensity of the colours, the up and the down, but now because of that I'm able to have more nuanced conversations about things and I can see things [that I couldn't before]. Everything isn't the end of the world or the most important thing. It's all part of this kind of beautiful, larger song.

Did you find that this was quite an emotional shoot for you? You have all these existential ideas buzzing around, COVID hits, and then ahurricanecomes and destroys the set. How were you feeling at that time?This probably goes to the previous question. How I reacted to it was very different to other times. I kind of went:"Hey, I can't control that. I made the decision to come here. I made it for the right reasons, I believe. Let's just keep rehearsing, and let's rebuild in a smarter way," that kind of thing. So I remember not being as traumatised about it as I probably would have been at, say, 30 years old. And in the end, it worked out. I think the narrowing of my emotions has helped in those circumstances. 

Who, in your opinion, is dominating the horror genre at the minute? What are some of the best recent releases you can think of? Read more: i-D »

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