Split director M. Night Shyamalan returns to television with a new thriller series coming to Apple. The news comes just a day after Shyamalan’s hibernating Wayward Pines officially got cancelled by Fox after two seasons. The director’s Split sequel Glass, starring James McAvoy and Bruce Willis, also recently wrapped up filming. Shyamalan already screened 12 minutes of Glass footage for distributors and received a “gracious reaction.”
After wowing critics and audiences with early films like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, many referred to Shyamalan as the new Spielberg. That crown however proved too heavy for the writer/director, whose subsequent films became more perplexing and less successful. But in 2016, Shyamalan experienced a career resurgence with his horror movie Split. Starring McAvoy as a man with multiple personalities, Split was a big hit that also restored Shyamalan’s critical reputation. With Glass, Shyamalan brings back McAvoy’s Split character to share the screen with the main characters from his early hit Unbreakable.
Deadline reports that Shyamalan’s renaissance will continue via a new deal to produce a series for Apple. The untitled series, made together with British TV writer Tony Basgallop, is described as a psychological thriller. Apple has given a straight to series order for 10 episodes of the half-hour show. Basgallop will write and executive produce, while Shyamalan executive produces and directs the first episode.
Basgallop has a long list of series credits as writer and producer, going back to EastEnders in 2001. Basgallop wrote all three episodes of the 2005 miniseries To the Ends of the Earth, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as an adventurer. Later he worked on Hotel Babylon, Inside Men, 24: Live Another Day and 24: Legacy. Most recently, he penned three episodes of the Epix series Berlin Station starring Richard Armitage.
The new Apple show marks M. Night Shyamalan’s second foray into television after his Fox series Wayward Pines. Like much of Shyamalan’s work, Wayward Pines proved to be divisive. Throughout his career, the writer-director has experienced nearly as much critical bashing as praise. Of course, Shyamalan experienced so much early success that there was bound to be backlash. In truth however, Shyamalan earned some of the later negativity via some questionable self-promotion. Shyamalan has also received criticism for certain writing tics, including a tendency to lean heavily on third act twists for shock effect.
Regardless of the criticism, Apple is ready to buy in on Shyamalan. The director joins fellow Oscar nominee Damien Chazelle, who recently signed his own deal with Apple to develop a series. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon will also add their star power to the Apple line-up with a series set in the world of morning TV.
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