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“The Watchers” director Ishana Night Shyamalan on working with Father

While some parents try to protect their children from horror movies, yours might not be the case if your father is M. Night Shyamalan.

Ishana Night Shyamalan, the 24-year-old middle daughter of The sixth Sense And Splits Director, celebrated the premiere of her own feature film directorial debut The Guardians in New York on Sunday. Like her father before her, her first film combines elements of the horror and fantasy genres. Shyamalan wrote the screenplay himself and adapted the story from the gothic horror novel of the same name by AM Shine.

The Guardians follows Mina (played by Dakota Fanning), an artist who is held captive with three strangers in a remote house in the woods of Ireland; the group is regularly observed through one-way glass by mysterious creatures.

“As a reader, I just felt completely captivated and enthralled by the story,” said the younger Shyamalan The Hollywood Reporter“My brain was already starting to think about what images I wanted to play with and what character work I wanted to play with.”

The filmmaker, who graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2021, already has some experience as a director, having worked on her father's Apple TV+ series. servant. At The GuardiansM. Night Shyamalan served as executive producer; several actors emphasized that although the Hollywood veteran served as a mentor on set, he stayed in the background and left his daughter to take full control of the project.

About the collaboration with her father, the observer The director said: “It was great. It's so interesting to have a father-daughter relationship and there's so much intensity and caring. But it was so wonderful. He's a very encouraging artist and producer and he really wants me to do what I want to do and push through. So it was very healthy and wonderful.”

Also present at the premiere were the actors Fanning, Georgina Campbell, Olwen Fouéré, Oliver Finnegan and Alistair Brammer.

Brammer, who stars in the film's thrilling opening sequence, highlighted Shyamalan's open-mindedness as a director, saying, “It was nice to work with someone who was just discovering how to work on set. Usually when you work with older directors, you know what they're doing, and that's great, but to work with someone who said, 'Hmm, maybe we could try this' – that way it became very collaborative and experimental.”

Fanning also praised the young director highly: “I just loved getting to know her as a person, just as a friend. She is such a wonderful, wonderful person and so talented and is at the beginning of what I know will be a long, bright future and career, and that's why I'm excited to be part of this debut.”

Looking ahead to her own career, Fanning is open to “maybe” directing in the future. THR“I directed a small short film and it was definitely stressful. It's a big job and it puts a lot of pressure and burden on you. It's a big responsibility. Maybe one day.”

As for Shyamalan's future projects, the director revealed that she will “absolutely” stick to the genre she is currently exploring: “I love playing in the horror genre, it's just the most natural thing for me. I'm really interested in expanding that and kind of getting bigger and bolder and mixing it with other genres – I did a little taste of that in this film.”

M. Night Shyamalan is of course known for his surprise endings, and many actors hinted that The Guardians would follow suit. The younger Shyamalan teased, “I've always been very interested in subverting expectations.”

The Guardians comes to cinemas on Friday.