M. Night Shyamalan Explains Why His ‘Trap’ Trailer Seemingly Gives Away the Film’s Twist

M. Night Shyamalan is ready to set his “Trap.”

His latest thriller, which serves as the follow-up to his terrific “Knock at the Cabin,” opens on Aug. 9 and the first trailer previews a paranoid thriller that continues the renaissance of Josh Hartnett.

In “Trap,” Hartnett plays a dad bringing his daughter to a pop concert at a local arena. She’s jazzed to see Lady Raven (Shyamalan’s daughter, Saleka Shyamalan, plays the star and wrote new songs for the soundtrack) and he’s happy that she’s happy. (There will be countless flashbacks to girl dads bringing their daughters to Taylor Swift last summer.) During the show, however, he starts to notice an alarming police presence, seemingly there to capture a notorious serial killer known as The Butcher. The Shyamalanian twist? Hartnett is the serial killer. How cool is that?

Incredibly, Shyamalan said that he was inspired, in part, by visiting his daughter on tour and also by Prince’s “Purple Rain,” the 1984 narrative feature that also incorporated prolonged concert sequences.

“We were talking about the form of music, and what tried to happen with the movie industry, which was, hey, just release everything ubiquitously everywhere and everyone can watch it whenever they want. That’s the future right?,” Shyamalan told TheWrap. “I said, ‘That’s not the fucking future. That’s not the way we’re doing this.’ And I tried hard not to do and help everybody and say, ‘Don’t do that.’ But the music industry went that way, and I was like, ‘In what field do you do your work, and then give it away for free? What world is that?’”

Shyamalan said that he would talk about “the old days,” where you would go to the record store, get your album, look at the liner notes and really become immersed. “You close your bedroom door and listen and study the lyrics and do the whole thing. It was an event,” Shyamalan said. The idea dawned on the “Sixth Sense” filmmaker to combine the experience of listening to a record with making a movie. “And make it really precious,” he said.

“Purple Rain” became a big example of how to marry those ideas. “We were watching and of course, he’s like a tsunami. As soon as he gets on stage, and you’re like, Oh, my God, but the because it was so tied together – the storytelling and his point-of-view and the album, I just found it so moving.”

He said he got his daughter Saleka the “Purple Rain” poster, which is now in her apartment. “We were such devotees of that achievement,” Shyamalan said. There was darkness in “Purple Rain,” for sure, but he wanted to go further. “I said, ‘Well, let’s push that. And maybe there’s a way that these things could coexist,” Shyamalan said.

It’s striking that the trailer for “Trap” seemingly gives away the big twist, something that would have seemed downright impossible in the earlier days of Shyamalan’s career, where the third act revelation was locked inside an impenetrable vault, nestled next to the recipe for Coca-Cola.

“When I thought of the idea. I was like, Why? You can’t hide it. It happens so early,” Shyamalan said. “This is the fun of the movie. It’s being in that point-of-view.” In other words, he wants the audience in Hartnett’s shoes as the noose around his neck gets tighter and tighter.

Another difference is a slightly boxier aspect ratio than Shyamalan is used to. (“Knock at the Cabin,” for instance, is shot in an ultra-wide 2.39:1 ratio.) “I thought that the verticals would be important in this arena, to get the scale of the performances and the stage and the and the screens, that you would see that the vertical is worth,” Shyamalan explained. The film was shot by a new Shyamalan collaborator – Thai cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, who is mostly known for his work with Luca Guadagnino (including some dizzying work on “Challengers”).

For a long time, Shyamalan said, they were planning to shoot the movie in 4:3, a boxier aspect ratio most closely associated with old, square television shows. They even partially storyboarded the film with that aspect ratio in mind, inspired by “The Cranes Are Flying,” Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1957 masterpiece about the devastation in Russia following World War II. “I just found the composition mesmerizing,” Shyamalan said. “It was about the confinement and the sensation he was being trapped.” As they went down this road, though, he started to feel that it wasn’t working. “Too much Tabasco sauce in the dish,” Shyamalan said.

“Trap” is Shyamalan’s sixth film in less than 10 years, a period of bold creative restlessness that included a found-footage horror comedy (“The Visit”), a return to the “Unbreakable” universe (teased in “Split,” continued with “Glass”) and an adaptation of a graphic novel (“Old”) and actual novel (“Knock at the Cabin”). That same period of time also included two television series, “Wayward Pines” and “Servant,” that he was heavily involved with.

Where did this surge of productivity come from?

“I’m just feeling it. I just have these ideas,” Shyamalan said. His heroes are Agatha Christie and Stephen King, authors who are as prolific as they are creative. He is trying to channel their ethos – “Just write another one, write another one” – and keep up with his own imagination. He says he’s currently “three ideas behind.” “I’ll be driving and I go, Oh, wait, that idea I had, that’d be so great. Another thing will attach to it and go, Right. And so like, I’m definitely making that,” Shyamalan said. “And then and then once I get to I’m definitely making that, it just starts attracting things. I have to stop. I have to force myself to stop thinking about it, to concentrate on the one thing.”

“Trap” opens exclusively in theaters on Aug. 9 courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

The post M. Night Shyamalan Explains Why His ‘Trap’ Trailer Seemingly Gives Away the Film’s Twist appeared first on TheWrap.