The Sixth Sense: M. Night Shyamalan's Original Plans Were Very Different

Though it was technically his third movie as a director, M. Night Shyamalan instantly became a household name thanks to 1999's The Sixth Sense. Not only did the supernatural thriller make over $670 million at the global box office, it secured six Academy Award nominations including two for Shyamalan himself and a Best Picture nod. The film also secured Shyamalan's place as the "twist" guy as his trope for a big third-act reveal began with The Sixth Sense's conclusion. Speaking in a new interview however, Shyamalan detailed how his original version for the movie was almost VERY different.

"Originally Sixth Sense was some kind of version of a serial-killer movie. It was more kind coming out of my love of Silence to the Lambs and that genre, mixed with the supernatural," Shyamalan revealed to Yahoo. "In the first iterations of the screenplay, there was a crime-scene photographer whose son saw ghosts. So that was kind of how it started to come to me. But then it evolved ... like halfway through, I came up with the idea of a therapist and changed everything, and concentrated on two families."

As fans recall, that therapist role went to Bruce Willis, a man Shyamalan would go on to work with multiple times. It was a different era when The Sixth Sense came out, and the filmmaker is well aware that it was a unique time in Hollywood's history. Reflecting on how different the business was at the end of the 20th Century compared to now, and how originality was the king.

"In 1999 when Sixth Sense came out, you had one of the great years ever of original storytelling, with Sixth Sense and The Matrix and Magnolia and American Beauty and The Insider [and] Blair Witch. All of these movies came out [in the same year], all of them phenomenally successful, all around the world. The industry was geared towards that, impactful originality. It was a spec screenplay market. So somebody in Idaho could write this incredible thriller and be bid on, because that was what they were looking for. So it was a very exciting time. I was built for that time. So I was very lucky to have written that screenplay at that time in the industry. ... It's really an indicator of where we were and what the world needed from their entertainment versus maybe the comfort of things that they already are familiar with in more precarious times."

Shyamalan's latest film, Knock at the Cabin, is now playing in theaters.