If it's true that he who laughs last laughs loudest, then we can hear M. Night Shyamalan this morning cackling all the way from his exurban Philadelphia enclave. Less than two months after his beleaguered The Happening hurdled billboard vandals and epidemic critical loathing on the way to wallet-fattenting coup, Cash-Machine Manoj announced a deal with financiers Media Rights Capital to develop and produce a slate of films through 2011.
The good news? Manoj will neither writer nor direct, but slough his stories off to hand-picked filmmakers who may or may not make this a B-movie project worth watching. The bad news? MRC is actually letting him bundle the films under the name The Night Chronicles, according to Variety:
The projects aren't formalized, and no writers have yet been hired, but Shyamalan has at least two ideas that could become films. The Night Chronicles will be based near Philadelphia, where the filmmaker lives and works. To oversee development, MRC has hired Ashwin Rajan, a veteran UTA agent who is Shyamalan's cousin. ...
"Filmmakers have always been my inspiration," Shyamalan said in a statement. "Working with the next wave of innovative filmmakers will teach me many things that I can bring to my own writing/directing and give my stories the opportunity to be brought to the screen in a stunning way."
Certain details remain to be worked out, including the size of the words "FROM ONCE-ACCLAIMED PRODUCER M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN" on promotional materials, to whether or not the requisite filmmaker-aggrandizing cameo will feature the directors-in-training or, as per tradition, Manoj himself. But if The Anand Jon Story isn't optioned by lunch, we'll be shocked.