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Why M. Night Shyamalan Dealt With A Career Slump, According To The Director

James McAvoy Split

Few of the resumes of other directors can match the sheer divisiveness of M. Night Shyamalan. Although the infamous filmmaker recently made a massive comeback with his well-liked work on Split, the last decade has been defined by some of his worst work, and a shocking downturn from his early classics like Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense. So how did he come back? What made M. Night Shyamalan a great filmmaker again? According to the director, it was all about going back to basics and reinventing himself from the ground up. Shyamalan explained:

What is that architecture of an artist's life that causes them to not be able to reach us. For me, this is all a theory of: there's an optimal moment of experience and instinct that happens and it causes this electric moment... The way that life is, experience kind of becomes your expertise and becomes safety. You use your craft to protect you and you stop doing that instinct thing. For me, what I've been trying to do is become a beginner again.

The phrase "forget everything you think you know" is a bit of a cliche, but it seems to apply here. As M. Night Shyamalan pointed out in his interview with Sways Universe, his success with Split was primarily predicated on his willingness to go back to his roots and get back to his "beginner" status as a feature director. Through repetition, he lost some of the edge that he had during the earlier years of his career, and the last couple of years have been spent trying to get that back.

That mentality is evident in M. Night Shyamalan's last two movies. Both The Visit and Split use incredibly stripped down, minimalist approaches to their characters and stories, and that has allowed Shyamalan to get back to the type of storytelling that he does best. He said that by using less money and actors that he has never worked with before, he has shifted into new territory in an attempt to tell fresh stories -- rather than simply cater to the fan expectations related to a "twist" ending. Overall, it seems to have paid off.

Warning: spoilers ahead for Split. Don't read any further if you haven't seen M. Night Shyamalan's latest thriller! Of course, it will undoubtedly prove interesting to see how M. Night Shyamalan handles this mentality going forward. With the recent announcement of Glass (the highly anticipated Unbreakable sequel that will bridge the story of David Dunn with Split's Kevin) we will soon see Shyamalan make his first real foray into the world of sequels. That inherently means things will soon get much more complicated for him as a filmmaker as he delves deeper into the continuity of his universe. As long as he can remember his mentality about returning to beginner status, then he will likely be just fine.

We will bring you more information related to Glass as new details related to the long-awaited sequel become available to us. The film will debut on January 18, 2019.

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.