The last time this writer wrote something even slightly negative about M. Night Shyamalan on this very site – the phrase “diminishing returns” was thrown about if memory serves — it was open season in the comments section. The writer-director certainly still has his passionate fans who don’t need much provocation in order to jump to his defense, but it seems that Samuel L. Jackson isn’t one of them. The actor is known for speaking his mind, and during an interview over at the Huffington Post to promote “Django Unchained” he did just that on a variety of issues, including the career of Shyamalan.
As the conversation moves onto “Unbreakable,” and whether we’ll ever see him in a sequel to that movie, Jackson doesn’t mince his words regarding his former director. Here’s the brilliant exchange that follows, which is probably best read in its entirety:
“We’re never going to see a sequel to that movie, are we?”
There were supposed to be three. I don’t know.
People liked “Unbreakable.”
You’ll have to ask the brilliant director who wrote it and didn’t do the rest of them.
He moved on to “The Last Airbender.”
I mean, he hasn’t made a really good movie since then.
“Signs” was OK.
There’s some issues. I didn’t like that thing in the cornfield.
I thought it was OK.
I didn’t see the Wahlberg one.
I haven’t either. But wouldn’t “Unbreakable 2” be a good career movie for him?
Yeah! Well, he suffered from what happened to Quentin when he made “Jackie Brown.” He didn’t make “Pulp Fiction 2,” he made “Jackie Brown” — which is a wonderful fucking movie.”
The conversation then briefly segues into a discussion of “Jackie Brown,” but soon returns to the topic of M. Night and “Unbreakable”…
“If M. Night announced tomorrow that “Unbreakable 2” is going to happen, it would be all over the Internet.
Everybody would be waiting for it, yeah. It would be crazy for it. It would trend through the roof now on Twitter. But, yeah, they would. But Quentin makes movies that Quentin wants to see. I don’t think M. Night makes movies for the same reason. Quentin makes movies that are genres that he wants to see. “I like Spaghetti Westerns — I’m going to write a Spaghetti Western. I like blaxploitation movies, too – so I’m going to make the protagonist black.” So, he’s got a blaxploitation western with Hong Kong undertones. The “Bullet Ballet” undertones. He wants to see it and I want to see it. I want to be in that kind of movie.
I think M. Night gets too caught up on having to have a twist.
Yeah, there’s that. And there’s, you know, “I’m smarter than everybody coming to watch my movie.” Quentin’s not that. He’s just, “I want you to love my movie. I want you to love it and enjoy it because this is fucking cool.”
So that’s a pretty damning indictment of M. Night’s career. That’s five of Shyamalan’s movies there that Jackson’s writing off straight away, as well as questioning his filmmaking intentions and suggesting that the director believes he’s smarter than his audience. It’s a shame, because Jackson’s right, we probably would go crazy for an “Unbreakable” sequel, and let’s not forget that QT himself rates that movie incredibly highly and we’d be inclined to agree with him. But after that brutal assessment it sounds like that sequel probably won’t ever happen, and neither does it sound likely that Jackson will be buying a ticket for “After Earth” when it hits on June 7th then. And if he does, well expect to hear exactly what he thought of it.