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It’s one thing to read about critics and moviegoers’ disappointment in your work, but it’s another to be called out on it in a room packed with reporters. During a foreign press conference for The Last Airbender, one attendee flat out asks M. Night Shyamalan about his plummeting career and selling out his fan base to do something commercial.
Collider tracked down a video, which starts with Shyamalan striking back hard: “I think if I thought like you, I’d kill myself.” Ouch. From there he goes on to explain how he has a completely different impression of his career, as does each country throughout the world. He says The Village is his favorite film while another area in the world fell head over heels for Lady in the Water-- which I find a little hard to believe. Anyway, the gist of Shyamalan’s argument is that it’s terrible for that reporter to have summarized his career in a “dismissive” manner and point a finger at him for doing something for money when he often turns down high paying gigs and even goes as far as to buy the sequel rights to his films to ensure they’re not exploited.
It’s nice of Jackson Rathbone to chime in at the end and try to ease the tension by admitting his favorite Shyamalan film is The Village and his sister’s is Lady in the Water, but I have a heard time feeling any sympathy for the director. Not only did he make a bad movie, but he made one for a big studio that funneled loads of cash into the project. Shyamalan had to expect this kind of backlash. Plus, with a string of mediocre to poor films leading up to The Last Airbender, the pressure was sky high for this one, and he deserved to be called out on his failure. It’s too bad it took this long for someone to say this to his face and it’s too bad he didn’t handle it more gracefully; perhaps that would have salvaged a little of his dignity in the eyes of his fans.
Check out the video below and witness the awkwardness for yourself.