Fans of the world's most famous writer-director based in Philadelphia need not fear. Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan is not abandoning his creative work as a writer and director in favor of restricting himself to production duties. He has, however, formed a new partnership to produce one thriller per year for three years, according to Variety.
M. Night "typically generates more movie ideas than he can execute." The terms of his deal with Media Rights Capital (MRC) mean that M. Night will "create the stories and ideas for the films and pick the writers and directors; MRC will finance." This won't affect his next directorial project, The Last Airbender, which is still set for release by Paramount in 2010.
My first thought was that M. Night is following in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg. You might remember that Spielberg created the TV series Amazing Stories in part because he had so many story ideas that he couldn't do himself. He ended up writing or developing 29 stories (out of 45 episodes). Interestingly, Eric Kohn asked M. Night in an interview last month if it wouldn't be easier for him to "go the independent route." Even though the filmmaker said he's "never had an issue with studios," this sounds like a big step in the independent direction.
And here's a quote that might warm the heart of anyone, including myself, who has been cool about his recent work: "Working with the next wave of innovative filmmakers will teach me many things that I can bring to my own writing/directing and give my stories the opportunity to be brought to the screen in a stunning way."