The last couple years have been tough for M. Night Shyamalan. His star has dimmed some as the memory of his past successes – The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002) – has been obscured by his recent box-office failures: The Village (2004), The Lady in the Water (2006), and The Happening (2008). Now, as he puts the finishing touches on Paramount’s fantasy tent-pole Avatar: The Last Airbender, Shyamalan is preparing to capitalize on his rediscovered cachet with a new project.
Nothing is yet known about the script, which Shyamalan has been shopping around Hollywood with the usual amount of secretiveness. Only top studio execs have been allowed to look at the script, and always with a Shyamalan aid standing by, waiting to take the document back when the reading is over. However, it remains to be seen whether all of the theatrics will translate into buzz, as was the case in the director’s heyday.
One thing is for certain – the director still knows how to attract A-list talent to his projects. Bruce Willis, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Bradley Cooper are all loosely attached to star in the untitled film.
Airbender, the first film Shyamalan has directed but not written, is his biggest budget production to date, with a story driven by special-effects and the possibility of the film becoming a franchise. Avatar: The Last Airbender hits theaters July 1st.