While Twitter remains a vital tool for filmmakers to reach out to audiences worldwide, there are some public figures for which the medium just seems ill-fitted. Directors like Kevin Smith and Edgar Wright have their sensibilities precisely tuned to the format, but on the other end of the spectrum, M. Night Shyamalan, who quietly casts out filmmaking advice and shout-outs to followers, just seems peculiarly distant after maintaining a veil of secrecy for so long. Still, updates on his latest film, “After Earth,” have offered a compelling view from his perspective, the latest of which finds the director making some bold proclamations in addition to ruminating on his ambitions in the filmmaking realm.
With his new movie heading into post-production, Shyamalan took the time on Twitter to express feelings of pressure around his sci-fi drama, where the focus now moves to handing shots over to talented visual effects teams for completion. “This is a very difficult and counter intuitive process,” the director explained, “I haven’t even edited the film thoroughly and I’m committing to takes.” Shyamalan is no stranger to the complications of effects work in post-production, but “After Earth,” with its futuristic plotline and environments, looks to be especially difficult in this regard. Besides, effects teams need all the time they can get to perfect their individual shots, and oftentimes they come right down to the wire to deliver a final addition (for example, witness just how much of “The Avengers’” finale was incomplete in the film’s first trailer).
Still, after much public exchange with his followers, Shyamalan went beyond production woes to a much more personal place, where he elaborated on the vision behind all his films, that of large-scale CGI dynamics combined with performance-driven stories. “This has been my problem from go,” he said, “I keep trying to make indie dramas in the bodies of high concept movies. Tough serving two masters.” Obviously we’ve seen this difficult effort in previous films like “Lady in the Water” and “The Happening,” but “After Earth,” which follows Will and Jaden Smith as a father and son returning to Earth a millennium after its abandonment, could prove to break that streak. Shyamalan seems pretty confident about it at least, and even narrows down his key demographic by saying, “Maybe the tag line should be, ‘If you loved ‘Tree of Life‘ and ‘Jurassic Park,’ you’ll love ‘After Earth.’ ”
It’s an intriguing teaser for the upcoming film, which also stars Isabelle Fuhrman, Sophie Okonedo and Zoe Kravitz, so possibly expect some Berlioz and empathetic dinosaurs when “After Earth” opens June 7, 2013.