It's been nearly two years since we last detected the whimperings of M. Night Shyamalan, who followed Lady in the Water (and the pouty studio exile that preceded it) with a quiet retreat to his shrouded, moated enclave in the Pennsylvania wilderness. But the LA Times's Susan King smoked him out in advance of his return to theaters this summer, reviving the classic Manoj Twist for a readership craving every word:
Shyamalan ... recalls two years ago when he was in Spain on a promotional tour for Lady in the Water and someone asked him what his next project would be. "I said it is going to be a 90-minute paranoia movie, and that is what it ended up being," he says. ...
"It has a road-movie-ish feeling to it," says Shyamalan, who stays mum about what his traditional cameo appearance will be in this film. Perhaps the biggest influence on The Happening, which 20th Century Fox releases June 13, was the 1956 version of the classic horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, he says, "in the sense that people are trying to get out of an area that is affected and the people who are trying to get out have a better understanding of what's going on than the general group and they are not being heard. Is there a mass hysteria thing going on or is there something deeper?"
At 90 minutes, we'll just presume it's "mass hysteria," but we digress. Nothing gets us hotter in a Shyamalan preview than deducing the filmmaker's cameo; our best guess has him showing up as the president at the end of the first act, imploring calm in his silky alto and deflecting blame for the "happening" itself on terrorists whose names rhyme uncannily with those of execs at Disney and Warner Bros: "Osama bina Lacobson will pay at a time of our choosing..." Or not. You have a better idea?