#SDCC15: M. Night Shyamalan Talks The Visit and Wayward Pines - Dread Central
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#SDCC15: M. Night Shyamalan Talks The Visit and Wayward Pines

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M. Night Shyamalan has had a storied career in the film industry which thus far has ranged everywhere from vehemently praised to absolutely maligned. Still, he keeps plugging away and currently has a kick-ass TV show on the air called “Wayward Pines”; and his new movie, The Visit, looks like a psychotically good time.

We caught up with Night in the midst of Comic-Con, and he had a lot to say about both projects and his approach to filmmaking.

I love scary movies,” Shayamalan tells us. “I never really considered my previous films as scary though… but The Visit? Yeah! This is the one. The intention of the film is to thrill and scare. I mean, sure, with The Sixth Sense and Signs, there were some terrifying things about those films, but I would consider them more thrillers than horror films. Making The Visit was A LOT of fun, and that translates to the screen when you watch the movie. The weirdness of The Visit is actually my favorite part. It’s mischievous. When watching the flick with an audience, invariably people start reacting; they’re like ‘What the fuck? What did I just see? What does that even mean?’ The audience intuitively knows that they’re being fucked with but in a very fun way. Pulling the rug out from the viewer and making them laugh and scream is what it’s all about for me. I really got into the dark comedy aspects of The Visit. The movie is just brimming with David Lynchian strangeness. I like it.

M. Night Shyamalan

Shyamalan is very much known for having his films feature some mega-sized twist. We asked about his tendency toward surprising the viewer.

In order to do that, you as a filmmaker have to be okay with something,” Shyamalan elaborates. “That something is you have to be okay with the audience not knowing where they are for a while. You have to be fine with them coming to a conclusion against you. The more an audience commits to their assumptions, the more that you have them. When I first saw The Exorcist, I fell instantly in love with the shape of that movie. It starts in the Middle East, then it gets really quiet for a while, and then it just RAMPS up; and The Visit has that kind of structure to it. It’s meant to build slowly at like 10 miles per hour, then 15, the audience goes, ‘Ugh, I just want them to push it to the edge already.’ Audiences today are used to action-porn or CGI-porn to the point in which they just shut down. With me, I’m trying to hook them. Make them think. The speed keeps building and suddenly – WHAM – we’re at 60 miles per hour but it suddenly feels like 90. The audience gets that adrenaline rush, and that’s the shape, you know? You have to have confidence to make them think that the shape is ‘this’ and then morph into another one.

As he’s both a writer and a director, we wondered what part of the process most excites him as a filmmaker.

I love the solitary nature of writing. That process usually takes me about six to eight months. Towards the last couple of months I start letting other people in to read it. I really need that decompression time just for me and the characters to listen and to learn. Once I’m ready to get a bit more physical, the director in me takes over. I’m very gregarious. I enjoy trying to help and inspire people. By the time I’m done shooting, if I have nothing left in me at all, once I’ve given a project everything I have to the point in which I can no longer even get up… then I know I’ve done it correctly. Then we head into the editing room, which isn’t as solitary of an experience because obviously you have your editor there, so it’s slightly safer because you’re no longer in the moment. The next step is promotion, which lasts a couple of months. After all that I’m ready to be alone again… searching for the next story or character. That’s been the cycle for me; it’s like the passing of the seasons.

For The Visit the horror comes from an older couple, and we all know… old people can be pretty frightening sometimes. Especially when they’re acting kind of odd. We asked Night about the nature of his latest scare duo…

No matter how you slice it, when people begin acting odd, things can get frightening in a hurry. Something that’s frightening to a viewer triggers their sense of the unknown. It could be little things… a noise in another room, even a job offer or a commitment to a relationship. All of those things can trigger an unknown fear factor. It’s interesting that fear can be triggered by having an elderly person do something that is just crazy weird. The situation can be both hilarious and scary. You’re having two emotions boiling over at the same time. That’s what I wanted The Visit to do to the audience. The challenge of the movie was striking that perfect balance between humor and horror. This one took me a LONG time to edit. Much longer than I thought. The very first cut that I put together was like a full-on art house film. Then I went comedy, like it had all of these comedic tones, then I was like, ‘You know what? Let’s anchor this as a thriller.’ Once I came to the conclusion that the predominant spine of the movie was indeed a scary thriller that becomes a horror film, then I knew which of the other things… the artsy things… the humorous things… could stay in service of the movie.

Creepy Night

And what of making a smaller film instead of the usual big-budget Hollywood fare?

Working with Blumhouse Productions and Jason [Blum] has been so liberating. There are very few producers in this world who fulfill the task of being there and supporting the filmmaker. He kept telling me to keep going and that he believed in what I was trying to say with this movie. Jason is the guy who works tirelessly to get everyone to believe in a project. He confronts everyone who tells him, ‘No this isn’t something,’ and tells them, ‘It is! You need to stick with it.’ I’ve seen him do this over and over again.

As for “Wayward Pines,” it’s already been stated that the show was “probably” only going to be running for a single season, but given its success, we inquired whether or not a second season is being talked about or is at all in the cards.

If we do take on a second season, I really want to approach it the right way,” said Night. “We’re not just going to say yes to another season because we can. I’ve been sitting with the writer of the book, Blake Crouch, and it’s important to be confident in what we’re doing and how we are doing it. As a storyteller I don’t think I could guide anyone if I wasn’t sure of where my aim should be. If we can get everything right, we will definitely talk about another season.

The Visit was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and stars Kathryn Hahn, Ed Oxenbould, Erica Lynne Marszalek, Peter McRobbie, Olivia DeJonge, Deanna Dunagan, Benjamin Kanes, Jon Douglas Rainey, Brian Gildea, Shawn Gonzalez, Richard Barlow, Steve Annan, and Michael Mariano.

Shyamalan produces The Visit through his Blinding Edge Pictures, while Jason Blum produces through his Blumhouse Productions alongside Marc Bienstock (Quarantine 2: Terminal). Steven Schneider (Insidious) and Ashwin Rajan (Devil) executive produce the thriller.

Look for it in theaters on September 11, 2015. For more info follow @TheVisitMovie on Twitter, and visit stayinyourroom.com.

Synopsis:
Writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable) and producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, The Purge and Insidious series) welcome you to Universal Pictures’ The Visit. Shyamalan returns to his roots with the terrifying story of a brother and sister who are sent to their grandparents’ remote Pennsylvania farm for a weeklong trip. Once the children discover that the elderly couple is involved in something deeply disturbing, they see their chances of getting back home are growing smaller every day.

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The Visit

The Visit

The Visit

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Exclusive: Rocky Gray Talks Halloween Horror Anthology 10/31

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The last time we gave you guys word on the upcoming Halloween horror anthology 10/31 was to bring you the knock-out exclusive official poster, which you can peep to your left (click for a higher-res version).

The new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S and Creepshow joins an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is executive produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

The film’s stories are directed by the likes of Justin M. Seaman (The Barn), Zane Hershberger (Devilution), John William Holt (The Dooms Chapel Horror), Brett DeJager (Bonejangles) and Rocky Gray making his directing debut.

This past weekend we were able to catch up with producer-director Rocky Gray and ask him a few choice questions about the anticipated upcoming anthology film.

You can check out our quick interview below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are to check out 10/31 in the comments below!

Dread Central: How is the film coming along?

Rocky Gray: The film is now completed and we are getting the perks out to our Indiegogo backers. The backers and Death By Festival got to see the first cut of the film in October and they loved it so we’re very excited to get the film out to everyone else very soon.

DC: What can expect from this anthology?

RG: Expect to have a lot of Halloween themed fun. Each segment has its own flavor so the pacing and the look change throughout the film. With masked killers, vampires, scarecrows, tricksters and old hags there’s something for everyone.

DC: Will there be a sequel?

RG: If there was a demand for it we would make it happen!

Sounds good to us. Thanks for chatting with us, Rocky!

You can become a fan of the film on Facebook HERE.

SYNOPSIS:
A Halloween treat bag of all the things that go bump in the night. From masked killers to scarecrows, witches, and tricksters. There’s a scare for everyone in this anthology of horror and the macabre from the creators of The Barn and Volumes of Blood.

Red Letter Entertainment, Inc. brings you the directorial debut from Rocky Gray (composer of The Barn, Killing Floor 2), two-time Grammy-winning musician and former drummer for Evanescence. A new horror anthology in the vein of V/H/S/ and Creepshow brings an ensemble cast together to spin twisted tales of the macabre. The film is Executive Produced by P.J. Starks, creator of the critically acclaimed Volumes of Blood.

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The Duffer Brothers Have Begun Working on Stranger Things 3

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I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the first season of Netflix and The Duffer Brothers’ “Stranger Things” to tell you the truth. That said, I absolutely loved the second season (read our reviews HERE).

It is with this in mind that we are all looking forward to “Stranger Things 3”.

Recently Deadline reported that at Vulture Festival LA the Duffer Brothers, producer Shawn Levy, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Reiser, and Linnea Berthelsen talked about season two and teased season three.

“We are [in] very early days on season three, and we’re still figuring it out,” Ross Duffer said, before taking a beat, then adding: “I probably wasn’t supposed to say that. That’s not official; that wasn’t an official announcement — we’re just working on it, just for our own amusement… for fun!”

Whatever.

We all know at this point that there is going to be a “Stranger Things 3” and that The Duffer Brothers will one day begin working on it. Don’t worry so much, Ross Duffer.

After all, your brother already let us know that season three will begin after a time jump:

“Even if we wanted to hop into the action faster, we couldn’t,” says Matt Duffer. “Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They’re going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can’t start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. It’s a long way of saying that yeah, we’re going to do a time jump.”

What did you think of “Stranger Things 2”? Did you dig it more (or less) than season one? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social media!

“Stranger Things 2” is currently streaming on Netflix.

Synopsis:
It’s 1984, and the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana, are still reeling from the horrors of the Demogorgon and the secrets of Hawkins Lab. Will Byers has been rescued from the Upside Down, but a bigger, sinister entity still threatens those who survived.

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James Cameron’s Terminator Reboot/Sequel Hires Screenwriter

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The last word we brought you guys on producer James Cameron and Deadpool-director Tim Miller’s new Terminator film was when we let you know that Paramount had set the film’s release date for July 26, 2019.

Today we have news via The Wrap that the studio is bringing in screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) to pen the movie’s script based on a story crafted by Cameron.

You may remember that Cameron and Miller created a writers room a while back to plan out an all-new trilogy of films, but while that writer’s room included David Goyer, Charles Eglee, and Josh Friedman, it seems like Ray will be the first film’s sole writer. For now.

Story details are, of course, being kept under wraps, but Cameron and Miller are treating the new movie as a direct sequel to Cameron’s T2: Judgment Day.

“This is a continuation of the story from ‘Terminator 1’ and ‘Terminator 2.’ And we’re pretending the other films were a bad dream,” Cameron told THR. “Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse.”

We also know that Cameron plans to center the new film/trilogy around a new group of younger characters, who will eventually carry on the baton as it were.

“A lot of this is handing off the baton to a new generation of characters,” Cameron said. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something young woman to essentially be the new centerpiece of these stories. And then a number of other characters around her and characters from the future. We still fold time in the story in intriguing ways. But we have Arnold’s character and Linda’s character to anchor it.”

How excited are you for James Cameron’s new Terminator flick? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social mdeia!

The new Terminator film is produced by James Cameron and will be directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool). The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton.

Terminator 2.5 is expected to hit July 26, 2019.

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