Home » M. Night Shyamalan’s daughters discuss big screen debuts with dad

M. Night Shyamalan’s daughters discuss big screen debuts with dad

by Stewart Cole

With two new movies premiering this summer, M. Night Shyamalan is expanding the family business.

The daughters of Oscar-nominated director Isana and Saleka he said The New York Timesit was unplannedbut “it’s right” that their respective films, The observer and Trapdebut within months of each other.

“I feel like we’ve always kind of done that, ever since we were growing up, experiencing things together,” said Saleka, the 27-year-old R&B singer who plays pop star Lady Raven in her dad’s latest directorial outing. Trap.

She and M. Night were inspired by Prince’s Purple rain as they conceived his idea Trap together, a thriller about a man (Josh Hartnett) who takes his daughter to see her favorite artist, played by Saleka. In addition, Saleka wrote 14 songs for her character to perform, which had to fit the film’s narrative.

Although the father-of-three admitted he initially found Saleka’s modern musical ambitions “ridiculous”, M. Night has since admitted he was wrong. Meanwhile, Saleka has since become something of a true music star, opening for Boyz II Men.

Josh Hartnett and Ariel Donoghue star in M. Night Shyamalan’s Trap. Sabrina Lantos / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

“I think once he saw that I had a passion for it the same way he had a passion for film, he got it and said, OK, I’m with you, let’s do this,” Saleka recalled.

While the sisters could be considered ‘nepo babies’, Ishana, 24, opened up about that responsibility after making her feature directorial debut with The Observersproduced by her father.

“It’s really about living up to that privilege and honoring it with as hard a work ethic as possible, being as nice a person as possible and holding ourselves to the highest possible standard,” he explained.

Ishana also made it a point to differentiate her own filmmaking style from her dad’s. “He’s very grounded in his tone and style, and I really like to push it a little bit and go maybe a little bit more experimental,” he said.

Ishana Shyamalan (R) directs Dakota Fanning (L) in a scene from Watchers. Jonathan Hession / Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Dakota Fanning, who stars The Observers as a young woman stranded in an Irish forest with three strangers, praised Ishana as “very detailed and tiny” in her approach.

“She told me she would plan the day in her head every morning,” Fanning said NYT.

And while Fanning said Ishana’s family was “the definition of proud parents and proud sister,” M. Night admitted, “As a dad, you never want them to get hurt. So it was hard to see them push themselves to the limit and push themselves beyond that for both of those projects.”

The Observers now playing in theaters. Trap premiere August 9.

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