Following a string of commercial and critical disappointments, M. Night Shyamalan appears to be heading back to his roots.
The director is in negotiations to reteam with Bruce Willis on a project titled Labor of Love, according to Deadline. The script is one of Shyamalan’s earliest works, and is being compared more to Shyamalan’s Wide Awake then the supernatural storytelling he and Willis launched with The Sixth Sense.
Deadline says that Willis would play a Philadelphia book store owner who loses the love of his life in an accident. In the months following her death, the man fears that he never truly convinced his wife how much he loved her. So he embarks on a quest to walk across the country – from Philadelphia to Pacifica, California – to posthumously prove just how much he loved her.
You know, like Forrest Gump.
Now, news of Willis and Shyamalan reuniting probably has a lot of readers excited… until they find out that it isn’t for an Unbreakable sequel. Night has been teasing the possibility of the next chapter in that fantastic superhero origin story for a while now. The ending of Unbreakable seemed to feed right into the creation of multiple movies built around Willis’ character, probably involving Samuel L. Jackson’s "Mr. Glass" character as his natural nemesis. Alas, that movie isn’t happening. However, having the two men together on a set for Labor of Love could get them discussing the possibilities of an Unbreakable follow up. I mean, look at this conclusion! A sequel should have been inevitable:
Shyamalan likely is just hoping for a hit. The Last Airbender actually earned $131M back in 2010. But Night has struggled to match the success of The Sixth Sense, which banked $293M in 1999, and Signs in 2002 ($227M). Having him helm one of his own screenplays could be the key. Then again, he wrote After Earth and The Happening, and we know how they turned out.