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Directors at work
The man who heard voices, : or, how M. Night Shyamalan risked his career on a fairy tale
Michael Bamberger.
New York : Gotham, c2006.
"M. Night Shyamalan seemed to have it all. He'd directed a string of hit movies for Disney, beginning with the supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense, which had brought in over two billion dollars around the world. He had a beautiful wife, a loving family, a house with its own theater - the whole thing. People were calling him "the next Spielberg." Then he wrote a screenplay called Lady in the Water." "It was a fairy tale, really, an adaptation of a bedtime story he had invented for his young daughters. But when the bosses at Disney read the script, they told him they "didn't get it." Night felt he knew what they were really thinking: This guy has lost his mind. He boldly decided to leave the safety of his longtime filmmaking home and find new partners who would understand his odd story and idiosyncratic self. Night needed people who would help him make the most daring, ambitious, and deeply personal picture of his life." "He had panic attacks all along - while writing, while casting, while directing. For his hero, he didn't want a proven box-office star like Tom Hanks or Tom Cruise, but the brilliant but lesser-known Paul Giamatti. He wanted Lady filmed in a lush style by a wild man cinematographer that no director had ever tamed. And he wanted the movie to open on seven thousand screens across the world at the height of the summer popcorn season." "In The Man Who Heard Voices, Michael Bamberger takes you deep into Night's world during the creation of Lady in the Water. Based on nearly two years of exclusive, intimate reporting, Bamberger's book takes the cover off the secretive director's inspiring methods: handpicking a cast and crew he can mold into a temporary family; weighing on-the-set choices that will define his movie forever; and leading, even when he's lost. Most important, Bamberger penetrates the mind and artistic vision of a creative genius working at the peak of his powers, driven to bring his vision to the screen by the voices of creation - and self-doubt - that forever haunt him."--BOOK JACKET.
     
Hitchcock, piece by piece
by Laurent Bouzereau ; foreword by Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell.
New York : Abrams, c2010.
The first-ever illustrated biography of the master of the thriller, this work coincides with the 30th anniversary of his death and the 50th anniversary of the release of "Psycho." Many of the photographs, from Hitchcock's own archive, have never been published before, and the package includes removable memorabilia.
     
The girl in Alfred Hitchcock's shower
Robert Graysmith.
New York : Berkley Books, 2010.
The "New York Times"-bestselling author uncovers a real-life mystery of murder, body doubles, and obsession, as he explores the case of Marli Renfro, Janet Leigh's body double in the infamous shower scene in "Pyscho," who reportedly became the victim of a serial killer.
     

M. Night Shyamalan

When M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Sixth Sense' became a box office smash and received critical accolades, his name and work started to be mentioned in the company of another well-known director, Alfred Hitchcock. There are some intriguing similarities between the two.

Both directors have a talent for building suspense in their films, and both often appear in their own films, either as someone in the background of a scene, or as a principal actor.

Cameo directors

Woody Allen
Mel Brooks
Clint Eastwood
Spike Lee

More appearances

Part of the appeal of their films may lie in the fact that often the main character is taking part in a mundane daily activity, such as taking a train, when something unexpected happens. This may include a case of mistaken identity, which forces the character to face extraordinary situations. The character emerges from this situation forever changed, but perhaps stronger and more prepared to live in an increasingly unstable world.

In Alfred Hitchcock's 'Strangers on a Train' the main character, over the course of the film, must face the dangerous consequences which result from a conversation with a stranger. In M. Night Shyamalan's 'Unbreakable', the protagonist survives a terrible accident, and in the ensuing struggle to find meaning, uncovers their destiny and purpose in life.

Alfred Hitchcock

There is a humanistic element present in the works of both directors. Many of their films end on an optimistic, or hopeful note, though everyone will interpret a film in their own way.

In the films of both M. Night Shyamalan and Alfred Hitchcock, both directors realize that the greatest danger may lie in running away from the things we are afraid of, rather than facing them.

More about directors

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff