M. Night Shyamalan Says ‘Unbreakable’ Script Had More Comedy, Regrets Taking It Out
Unbreakable is one of M. Night Shyamalan’s most beloved movies. It is, so far, the only one that got sequels, albeit nearly 20 years after its 2000 release. Unbreakable is not a funny movie, though. Shyamalan plays the tale of David Dunn (Bruce Willis) discovering his strength and indestructibility completely straight.
At a recent Television Critics Association panel for his Apple TV+ series, Servant, Shymalan revealed that Unbreakable was originally much funnier. Now, he regrets taking the jokes out.
M. Night Shyamalan has always been funny
Shyamalan said he was a funny kid and made his family laugh. He got hired to write comedies, but when he directed his own scripts, he got uncomfortable.
“I’ve always loved to make people laugh and, I guess, when I was younger I did it more,” Shyamalan said. “I wrote Stuart Little, and I got to be funny in that, and I like to be funny. I just could never get it right, I think, when I was younger with the darker stuff, so I would write comedy in The Sixth Sense, and it all just came out, or most of it did, and the same thing in Unbreakable. It had a lot of comedy in it.”
M. Night Shyamalan movies used to be funnier
Shyamalan specifically remembered taking the levity out of Unbreakable. Rereading his original script recently, Shyamalan had regrets.
“When I reread the script for Unbreakable, I had so many funnier things,” Shyamalan said. “It was like, ‘Ah, man. I stink. I didn’t get this all in there.’ But now I’ve been able to find a little bit more comfort in this kind of dark humor world and really get actors and partners that really celebrate that and can pull that off with authenticity. So, from The Visit on, six years ago, seven years ago, that’s just my sweet spot. I love to make you scared and uncomfortable and make you laugh at the same time, and I look for artists that have all those muscles.”
‘Servant’ benefits from ‘Unbreakable’ regrets
By the time Shyamalan directed and produced Servant, he’d grown comfortable allowing comic relief in his intense stories.
“I was like, ‘Oh, what about we do like a Weekend at Bernie’s episode where the boys are tracking in kind of comatose Uncle George around the house?’” Shyamalan said. “Just even me pitching it and coming up, it was funny and thinking of everybody. And Dorothy going, ‘What are you doing? He can’t sit here.’ And imagining what would happen, and being right on the line of broad comedy with all of them. I love giggling.”
Shyamalan also credits the cast of Servant with balancing the comedy and drama.
“The comedy in our show is something that we’re all very proud of and how to incorporate it,” Shyamalan said “All of them are such amazing physical actors, which is rare to be able to be internal and truthful actors, but all four of them are so strong physically that I can come up with all this physicality for them and in our little set that the whole show takes place.”