M. Night Shyamalan
film director and screenwriter
Birthplace: Tamil-Nadu, India
Shyamalan was a virtual unknown when The Sixth Sense arrived in movie theaters in 1999. The film, starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, became a bona fide blockbuster, emerging as the second-highest-grossing film of the year, behind Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace. The movie was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor Oscars.
Shyamalan developed an early interest in film, and by the time he was 17, he had made 45 home movies. He studied film at the Tisch School of the Arts, graduating in 1992. His debut film, Praying with Anger, was released the same year. His next project was Wide Awake (1998), a little-seen film starring Rosie O'Donnell and Denis Leary. He wrote the script for Stuart Little (1999) and directed 2000's Unbreakable. He both wrote and directed Signs (2002), The Village (2004), and The Lady in the Water (2006). He is producing and working on the screenplay for the adaptation of Yann Martel's Man Booker prize winner, The Life of Pi (2007).