Wahlberg to Star in New Shyamalan Film

From Variety:
Mark Wahlberg has been set to star in "The Happening," the thriller that M. Night Shyamalan will direct in August in Philadelphia.

Shyamalan set a spec deal for the spooky apocalyptic pic at the studio earlier this month (Daily Variety, March 7, 2007).

Wahlberg will play a man who takes his family on the run when the world turns upside and a cataclysmic natural crisis threatens to end the world.

When he made the deal, Shyamalan brought back his "Unbreakable" and "Sixth Sense" producer Barry Mendel to produce with Sam Mercer, and also brought with him a co-financier in India-based UTV. UTV topper Ronnie Screwvala committed 50% of the film's $57 million budget, with Fox distributing worldwide except in India. It is the third recent film that UTV has co-financed at the studio, after the Mira Nair-directed "The Namesake," and the Chris Rock starrer "I Think I Love My Wife," both of which were distributed by Fox Searchlight.

Studio confirmed both Wahlberg and the date.

Twentieth Century Fox has carved out plans to release the film worldwide on Friday, June 13, 2008.

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Shyamalan needs to rescue himself from the whole he has dug fast. He needs to direct a non-supernatural thriller to prove he's not just a one trick pony. He seems to make that hole deeper with each film he makes (in my opinion, he hasn't made an really good movie since Unbreakable in 2000). Releasing the film on Friday the 13th sounds gimmicky, like releasing the Omen remake on 6/6/06. Hopefully it won't end up being some pathetic cash-in like that was.

Lady in the Water was very much a make or break film for Shyamalan after the abysmal The Village, and it broke. The Happening needs to be a redeeming film. Time will tell whether or not audiences are willing to forgive him.


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