Ishana Night Shyamalan Says She Drew ‘The Watchers’ Inspiration From a Filmmaker Who’s Not Her Father | Video

But her feature film directorial debut did make her “have so much respect for what my dad does,” she tells TheWrap

“The Watchers” is nearly here.

Based on the novel of the same name by A. M. Shine and written and directed by Ishana Night Shyamalan, the horror-thriller has just debuted a skin-crawling trailer, which you can watch above.

In “The Watchers,” Dakota Fanning plays a young woman who gets lost in the woods with her pet parrot. Soon, she starts hearing menacing noises and is ushered into a bunker by a kindly older woman (Olwen Fouéré). There, she meets two more people (Georgina Campbell and Oliver Finnegan), who tell her that they are being watched by otherworldly beings just outside the bunker walls. Is there any way to get out alive?

TheWrap spoke to Shyamalan about “The Watchers,” which is her feature debut after serving as a writer, director and producer on “Servant” and a second unit director on “Old” and “Knock at the Cabin” — all projects from her father, M. Night Shyamalan.

“It all exceeded my expectations,” Shyamalan said about making her first feature. “I definitely came into it knowing it’s a feat. Now that I’ve done one, I have so much respect for what my dad does. It is so hard to do. But it’s wonderful. There are so many moments throughout the process where I was just like, ‘I absolutely cannot do this. I don’t know the answer. I don’t know how to do this thing. It’s so out of my comfort zone.’ But yeah, I think it’s something that becomes worth it with what you’re making. It gives you back enough that you keep moving through.”

Still, she had a lifeline in her filmmaker father. She remembers sending him a text message when she got the post-production schedule, saying, “I have no idea how it’s possible.” He sent a text back that said: “It always feels impossible. Somehow you’re going to do it.”

“That kind of thing of just reassuring me that he feels the same way and to continue and go for it, that gave me a lot of peace throughout the process,” Shyamalan said.

She did say that working in television helped her when trying to meet seemingly impossible deadlines. “It’s sort of a microcosm of the feature film experience,” Shyamalan said. “I got to practice all the various skill sets in a smaller form and then take them into this longer process.”

Shyamalan also revealed an unexpected inspiration for “The Watchers:” the work of Hayao Miyazaki.

“His movies are very sacred to me. I don’t allow anyone else to watch them with me,” Shyamalan said. “And throughout my life, I touch base with the various movies he has. I think they’re just incredibly emotive and magical and beautiful. He’s just such a hero.”

Now that she said it, you can see it – a young girl going on a magical journey to another realm, having to prove herself and find the strength within. “Some of the vibes of her entrance into the forest are very much inspired by his films,” Shyamalan said.

“The Watchers” hits theaters on June 14.


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