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M. Night Shyamalan’s New Movie, ‘Old,’ Is Inspired by a Graphic Novel About Mysterious Aging

A French graphic novel featuring a "Twilight Zone"-esque riff on rapid aging forms the launchpad for Shyamalan's next film.

M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan

Twitter/screenshot

M. Night Shyamalan already is in production in his first feature since 2019’s “Glass,” but until now he’s revealed nothing about the upcoming Universal film. This weekend, the Oscar-nominated “Sixth Sense” director and “Servant” executive producer revealed the title and first artwork for his project, as well as a set image, via Twitter. The movie, Shyamalan said, is called “Old.” See below.

As revealed by Collider, “Old” is inspired by the Pierre Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters graphic novel “Sandcastle.” Published in 2010 it’s an existential horror tale about mysterious and rapid aging occurring on a beach, where 13 people seem unable to leave. Shyamalan reportedly purchased the rights after he received “Sandcastle” as a Father’s Day gift.

Here’s the “Sandcastle” synopsis, per Booklist: “By a tidal pool near a small beach on France’s Mediterranean coast, a North African–looking man glimpses a young woman stripping to swim. Later, but still early in the morning, three families intent on sunbathing and picnicking encounter the man, then find the girl’s corpse in the pool. One paterfamilias, a racist, xenophobic physician, angrily accuses the North African of murder and calls the cops. While awaiting the police, the doctor’s mother dies. The young children of two of the families start growing, the little ones right out of their swimsuits and the preteens into puberty. The adults are changing, too. Attempts to leave the area prove futile, and further calls don’t go through. At the rate they’re aging, they’ll all be dead by tomorrow morning. Peeters’ accomplished European realist comics style and Lévy’s utterly natural dialogue suit to a tee this maximally eerie, unsettlingly plein air exercise that Kafkaesquely defies all explanation.”

Production is currently underway in the Dominican Republic, with a cast that includes Gael García Bernal, Eliza Scanlen, Thomasin McKenzie, Aaron Pierre, Alex Wolff, Vicky Krieps, Abbey Lee, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ken Leung, Rufus Sewell, Embeth Davidtz, and Emun Elliott.

The release is currently set for July 23, 2021.

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