M. Night Shyamalan, Rachael Leigh Cook & Freddie Prinze Jr. Photos courtesy of Rex USA & Getty.
So the plain arty girl takes off her glasses, puts on a slinky black dress, and OMG she's gorgeous! Who ever could have seen that plot twist coming?
Turns out that "She's All That," the 1999 teen comedy that re-wrote "Pygmalion" for the millennial generation and gave Rachael Leigh Cook her breakthrough role, was secretly written by M. Night Shyamalan, the guy who built a career (for now) out of clever plot twists.
While one R. Lee Fleming Jr. got the official screenplay credit for "She's All That," in a recent interview the man behind "The Sixth Sense," "Unbreakable," and "Signs" admitted that he was the uncredited scriptwriter on the project.
In an interview with Movies.com, Shyamalan was asked what audiences have come to expect from his work, and the writer/director replied, "You're saying the audience's relationship started with me with 'The Sixth Sense.' That same year I wrote 'Stuart Little.'"
Shyamalan went on to say, "By the way, I ghost-wrote a movie that same year that would even add to the breadth of it all, but I don't know if I want to tell you which movie I ghost-wrote." After just a bit of prodding, Shyamalan spilled the beans, admitting, "I ghost-wrote the movie 'She's All That.'"
Unfortunately, the reporter didn't bother to press Shyamalan for more details – did he just do a punch-up, or did he rewrite the whole picture from start to finish? – but now that we know that he was part of Laney Bogg's transformation from social outcast to prom queen, it's not hard to read a bit of his signature style into the final product.
It’s worth remembering that "She's All That" was a surprise hit in 1999, grossing $63 million in the United States alone on a $10 million budget. Given that Shyamalan's latest project, the Will & Jaden Smith sci-fi spectacular "After Earth" has been the latest in a series of critical and box-office disappointments for the once high-flying filmmaker, maybe he ought to consider giving teen comedies another try. M. Night Shyamalan's "She's All That II," anyone?
See stills form M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense"...
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