February 16, 2023
They say the apple does not fall far from the tree, and this seems to be the case for one high-profile family in the Philadelphia region.
Ishana Night Shyamalan, the 22-year-old daughter of filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, will make her debut as a feature film director with "The Watchers," a thriller that has been fast-tracked for a June 2024 global theatrical release, Deadline reported. She is also writing the script.
"The Watchers" is based on a 2021 horror novel, of the same name, written by A.M. Shine. The plot follows Mina, an artist who becomes stranded in an Irish forest and gets trapped by mysterious creatures that observe their captives each night.
New Line Cinema has picked up the movie, which will be produced by M. Night Shyamalan through his Blinding Edge Pictures production company. Filming is expected to begin later this year.
The father-daughter duo have worked together in the past. Ishana wrote or co-wrote 10 episodes and directed six episodes of M. Night's Apple TV+ series "The Servant." She also directed the second unit for her father's recent films "Old" (2021) and "Knock at the Cabin" (2023), which both topped the box office during their respective opening weekends.
"I'll come visit your set now," M. Night wrote in an Instagram post featuring a throwback photo of himself and Ishana.
M. Night, who was raised in Penn Valley, Montgomery County, and his wife, Bhavna, have three daughters: Saleka, Ishana and Shivani. The family has lived in a 1937 Georgian revival house on a 125-acre estate called Ravenwood in Willistown Township, Chester County for nearly two decades.
Ishana graduated from her father's alma mater, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She also has worked on music videos and short films.
In fact, it was a short film that her father credits with helping her land her directing gig on "The Servant."
"I'd seen Ishana's short films, I'd seen her writing, she was going to NYU's Tisch School where I went, and I saw this opportunity," M. Night told Entertainment Weekly last February. "I said to her, 'I think you should take this shot. I think you should take a semester off from school and you should come here and do this.'"
The filming location for Ishana's thriller has yet to be revealed. She potentially could follow in her father's footsteps by shooting the movie in the Philadelphia region. M. Night's most recent flick, "Knock at the Cabin," was filmed in South Jersey's sprawling Pine Barrens, which could serve as a possible backdrop for the spooky forests of "The Watchers."
Though her dad joked in January about setting deadlines for Ishana, who was still tweaking her scripts for "The Watchers," the young director seems to be taking the challenges in stride.
"surreal…. a journey BEGINS," Ishana wrote on Instagram.
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