Last month in an excellent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, M. Night Shyamalan let slip that his daughter, Ishana Night Shyamalan, was preparing to direct her first feature, but he kept the details to himself. On Tuesday, we learned that the younger Shyamalan will make her debut with The Watchers, which landed at New Line following a spirited auction.
Not only that, but Warner Bros. has already assigned the film a release date of June 7, 2024. The filmmaker’s last name will surely drive interest, though this opportunity didn’t fall out of the sky — she earned it by directing some of the most impressive episodes of the Apple TV+ series Servant.
Based on the novel by A.M. Shine, which Shyamalan adapted herself, The Watchers is described as a thriller about a 28-year-old artist named Mina who finds herself stranded in an expansive forest in Ireland. When she eventually finds shelter, she unknowingly becomes trapped alongside three strangers who are being watched and stalked by mysterious creatures each night.
M. Night Shyamalan and Ashwin Rajan will produce through their Blinding Edge Pictures banner, while Nimitt Mankad will also produce via Inimitable Pictures, and Jo Homewood will executive produce. Production is expected to start later this year.
“We couldn’t be more excited to make Ishana’s first film with The Watchers. Equal parts visual, immersive, and terrifying, the script grips you from the first page and never lets go,” New Line president Richard Brener said in a statement.
Though Ishana was only 19 years old when she began writing and directing Servant, she picked it up quite quickly, which makes sense, as filmmaking and storytelling are in her blood. All in all, she wrote or co-wrote 10 episodes and directed six episodes, including two season finales. She also served as second unit director on her father’s films Old and Knock at the Cabin, both of which opened atop the box office.
Shyamalan is a recent graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and she has also directed several music videos for the R&B singer Saleka. She is represented by Range Media Partners, and Deadline broke the news about her writing and directing The Watchers.