Onetime critical favorite (and now, widely berated) filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has officially joined Twitter. That move has allowed him to offer some additional details about his impending directorial effort, previously known as One Thousand A.E., a sci-fi film that will feature Jaden and Will Smith as (appropriately) a father-son duo who crash-land on a post-apocalyptic Earth, nearly a millennium after humankind has abandoned the planet.
The most significant piece of information Shyamalan has (so far) provided, with respect to the project, is that it has now been retitled After Earth – a move that, if nothing else, should help prevent any further associations being made between Shyamalan’s movie and animation legend Don Bluth’s infamous financial dud, Titan A.E..
Shyamalan revealed the new title of his latest project in a recent Tweet (note: you have to click and scroll, in order to see its content) and also re-confirmed previous reports that principal photography on After Earth is prepped to begin by February 2012. He also previously mentioned having storyboarded every shot in the film, resulting in some 676 different drawings.
Of course, Shyamalan’s films has never been widely criticized for their visual structure; if anything, even the man’s detractors would mostly agree that he has an excellent eye for shot composition and lovely cinematography. It’s his screenwriting abilities – specially, how he writes dialogue and executes his original ideas – and directing approach that has often landed Shyamalan in hot water, with many casual and professional cinephiles alike.
Moviegoers who dislike the often slow-pacing and restrained (re: semi-wooden) performances generally found in Shyamalan’s directorial efforts have good reason to be less-than-enthused about After Earth - since, chances are good, that same filmmaking approach will be on-display therein.
However, this time around, the script isn’t being handled solely by Shyamalan; in fact, Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) wrote the original script draft, before Shyamalan did a rewrite. Oscar-winner Stephen Gaghan is the most recent writer to try his hand at the After Earth screenplay and is reportedly going to continue polishing it until production officially begins.
That’s all to say: After Earth could end up being one of the best Shyamalan productions in recent memory, if only because the man appears to be in a much more collaborative mood now. Admittedly, given how his last two directorial efforts were received (see: The Happening and The Last Airbender… or, rather, don’t), that’s not exactly shocking news.
Still – accepting more creative input from others is something many people feel Shyamalan has needed to do for a while now. So, hopefully, that move will actually benefit him.
After Earth is tentatively scheduled to arrive in theaters around the U.S. on June 7th, 2013.