M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t had much luck on the silver screen lately. The director may be able to get back on track with his next film, After Earth, a post-apocalyptic story starring the father-son duo of Will and Jaden Smith. ( The official synopsis for After Earth was revealed last month.) The star power of the Smiths should draw in the audiences, despite the public’s feelings on Shyamalan.
In the meantime, Shyamalan is looking to the small screen, and will possibly direct a new television project for Syfy, titled Proof. Marti Noxon – executive producer of Buffy The Vampire Slayer – is reportedly attached as a producer. Shyamalan and Noxon will be co-writing the project as well.
Proof is about a man who, after losing his parents in an accident, offers a reward to anyone who has proof of life after death. He also happens to be the son of a billionaire tech genius, so that probably helps. Life after death isn’t entirely new territory to Shyamalan, whose most successful film – both critically and financially – was The Sixth Sense. As of late, the filmmaker has seen his box office returns (and reputation) steadily diminish.
In 2010, The Last Airbender received negative reviews in the U.S. and won five Razzie Awards - Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3D. His previous movies The Happening and Lady in the Water didn’t fare much better. In fact, the only reasonably successful project (critically and in the court of public opinion) that Shyamalan has put out in recent years is the horror film Devil, which he only wrote the story for (as opposed to writing the screenplay or directing).
It’s difficult to come back from the kind of critical flops Shyamalan has had recently, but After Earth could be a step in the right direction – the Smiths are sure to bring emotional and touching performances, and post-apocalyptic movies are huge right now. Audiences everywhere loved what Shyamalan was able to do with The Sixth Sense (which was so spooky, my parents wouldn’t let me watch it – I had to see it at a friend’s house), and it will be interesting to see if he brings any of that to the table for this TV endeavor.
We’ll keep you updated on the status of Proof as more information comes in.