Oh, what an M. Night Shyamalan - Metro US

Oh, what an M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan is a director known for his twists, such as in films “The Sixth Sense” and “The Village.” But this past weekend he pulled off his greatest trick yet; despite comically bad reviews, his new film, “The Last Airbender,” which is based on a children’s animated TV series, defied expectations and pulled in $70 million in ticket sales. The writer and director spoke to Metro about what made him tackle the story and how he finally came around and learned to love the 3-D.

Why he was attracted to the story of “The Last Airbender”:

“It was something that I felt very connected to, subject-matter-wise. It felt very natural. It’s about kids’ empowerment, a connection to nature, Hindu and Buddhist philosophies, martial arts — not many people know, but I love [martial arts]. I study it. There’s a great Shakespearean back story and I’m a Shakespeare freak. All my loves are in one subject here.”

What he feels like on open-ing weekend of his films:

“Like a bride on her wedding day. You have too much stuff to even enjoy — you’re the guest of honor and the one responsible. It’s too complicated an emotion to define.”

On overcoming his resistance to the 3-D movie craze:

“I was like, ‘Forget it! We’re not shooting this in 3-D! I don’t care what they’re all saying about it! We’re not shooting it!’ But I looked at the tests, and the first time they did, I literally eviscerated everyone in the room….[But] when they finished it, I genuinely said, ‘I prefer the movie in 3-D.’ I drank the Kool-Aid.”

His loyalty to Philadelphia knows no bounds:

“We are, like, straight-up loyal, almost everyone comes back to Philly. Even if you and I are not agreeing on something but we’re both from Philly and someone is picking on you, I would beat the crap out of that person We all have each others’ backs. It’s part of our thing. It’s like a family. That’s my hometown.”

Casting the kids

How child star Noah Ringer resembled “Sixth Sense” star Haley Joel Osment:

“I struggled over Noah a bit. But he’s a martial arts expert, a staff expert and he’s home-schooled — which is the closest thing to being a monk these days. This is a rare, rare kid. But the question is, ‘Is he smart?’ And he’s really smart. And the real asset he had that Haley had is he’s completely focused and dedicated.”

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