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M. Night Shyamalan

Director, screenwriter, actor. Born Manoj Night Shyamalan, on August 6, 1970, in Pondicherry, India. His family moved to the United States when Shyamalan was still a young boy, settling in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The son of two physicians, he dreamed of becoming a filmmaker; he was given a camera at age 10 and made no fewer than 45 short films by the time he was 15. Shyamalan, who was raised a Hindu, attended a Catholic private school and Philadelphia's Episcopal Academy before becoming a film major at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Shyamalan graduated from NYU in 1993. By that time, he had already written, directed, and starred in his first full-length feature, Praying With Anger, the semi-autobiographical story of an Indian-American who returns to India to attend college. Filmed on location, the low-budget independent feature received little notice from either critics or audiences. Shyamalan sold a second screenplay, for a project entitled Labor of Love, to Fox in 1993; the project failed to get off the ground, reportedly because the studio was unwilling to put Shyamalan in the director's chair.

In 1995, up-and-coming independent film studio Miramax bought Shyamalan's screenplay Wide Awake for a reported $250,000, with the conditions that he direct and that the film be shot in Philadelphia. The film, the story of a young boy's search for God after his grandfather dies, got respectable reviews but did not attract a wide audience.

Shyamalan signed on in 1997 to rewrite the screenplay for Stuart Little, the popular family film released in 1999 and featuring Michael J. Fox as the voice for the titular animated mouse. By the time Stuart Little was released over the 1999 holiday season, Shyamalan's third directorial effort, the supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense, had become a critically-acclaimed smash hit, earning more than $600 million worldwide by early 2000. The film, starring Bruce Willis as a child psychologist and 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment as a disturbed boy visited by ghosts, scored six Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture and two for Shyamalan himself for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Shyamalan reportedly received $5 million (a record sum for a script written on spec) for his next feature, Unbreakable, also a supernatural thriller. Released in November 2000 and costarring Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, Unbreakable was one of the most anticipated films of the year. Shyamalan's next project was Woods, about a close-knit community that investigates a mythical race of creatures residing in nearby woods.

Shyamalan lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with his wife, Bhavna, whom he married in 1993, and their two children.

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Lady in the Water

$8.95 | 109 minutes

(2006) - Director, Screenwriter, Star(s)

M. Night Shyamalan (THE SIXTH SENSE, THE VILLAGE) continues his mission to revive the ancient art of storytelling--which he has diagnosed as a dying art--melding aspects of the fantastic with the mundane, and bringing to life a mythology&hellip…

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