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August 04, 2021

Blink-182 almost got M. Night Shyamalan to direct a music video

Reunited on 'After School Podcast,' Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge remembered the 'Old' director's rejection

Pop-punk trio Blink-182 have a memorable catalog of music videos over the years, from the naked romp of "What's My Age Again?" to the boy band parody of "All The Small Things" and the ethereal gloom of "I Miss You."

Even before that, during the pre-Travis Barker years, Blink's low-budget videos for "Dammit" and "Josie" had a certain juvenile charm to them.

The band's overall vibe and hooks have been different ever since the departure of long-time guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, who was replaced in the lineup by Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba on Blink's last two releases, "California" and "Nine."

But with bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus deep in chemotherapy treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, there's been a lot of reflection on the impact of Blink-182's music across all the band's phases.

This week, Hoppus had DeLonge join him as a guest on his Apple Music podcast "After School Radio," where the two reminisced about Blink-182 and what's new in their lives.

At one point during the interview, the duo talked about meeting other celebrities and Hoppus recalled running into director M. Night Shyamalan while on tour in Japan. DeLonge, unafraid of approaching strangers, waltzed up to Shyamalan and told him he'd love to collaborate on a music video.

"Within half an hour, we’re all sitting together and he’s coming up with ideas for a Blink video," Hoppus said. "And I mean, he did come up with a whole treatment and everything. It was going to cost, whatever it was, $20 million, but I mean, just on your gumption or I don’t know, no f**** to give, just walk up to somebody and say, 'Hey, I want you to direct a Blink video.'"

"That's really funny you bring that up," DeLonge said. "I remember doing that — and he wanted to, you're right. I think when he found out what music video budgets really were, he was like, 'this is so beneath me.' No, he didn’t say that, but of course, he was like, 'I’m not going to do this, this is a nightmare.'"

It's unclear when this exchange took place, but it's an interesting exercise to consider which Blink song would have been best-suited to a Shyamalan-directed video, not including those that actually did have videos from other directors. 

The top that comes to mind would have been "Stockholm Syndrome" off the band's 2003 self-titled release. The spoken-word intro has a fitting narrative that segues into one of the band's best songs, and thematically it would track with Shyamalan's interests. It's questionable whether networks at the time would have kept that lengthy intro for a video. YouTube wasn't yet around to make experimental music videos more of a worthwhile endeavor.

Blink-182 seems to have filmed — but never really released — a low-budget video for "Stockholm Syndrome."

Some other solid candidates for a Shyamalan-directed video might have been "Aliens Exist," "Shut Up" if it didn't have so much profanity, "Easy Target" or "Natives."

Later in the interview, DeLonge said his favorite Blink videos were "Down" and "Always," both from the self-titled album. 

It's nice to see Hoppus and DeLonge interacting publicly after years of distance between each other. DeLonge's visibility in the realm of UFO research has sometimes made his work in Blink-182 seem like ages ago, apart from an occasional nod to all the memes about his increasingly bizarre vocals on the band's later albums and during live sets. 

But actually, it's a shame DeLonge left when he did, because the group's final release with the Hoppus-DeLonge-Barker lineup, 2012's "Dogs Eating Dogs" EP, contained some promising material and impressive vocal performances from DeLonge.

The band has never completely ruled out a reunion with DeLonge if everything lines up correctly, but the wait has some of the false markings of expecting Oasis to announce a world tour. Skiba has helped keep the band alive and putting out music, even if it's not quite the same and shouldn't be held up to the same chemistry. 

In the future, Blink-182 should consider contacting Shyamalan's daughter, Ishana Night, who is emerging as a director and has played a role on her dad's Apple TV series, "Servant."

The most important thing is that Hoppus, 49, pulls through and makes a full recovery.