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M Night Shyamalan reveals Will Smith personally hired him to direct box-office dud ‘After Earth’

It all began after a phone call he had with the actor on Shyamalan’s birthday.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 13: M. Night Shyamalan attends FOX 2103 Programming Presentation Post-Party at Wollman Rink – Central Park on May 13, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

Will Smith has delivered multiple blockbusters in his storied career, which received praise all over the world. But the superstar was worried that his winning streak at the box office came to an end after doing M Night Shyamalan’s After Earth, which hit screens in 2013.

Shyamalan, however, shared that the idea of making After Earth came from Smith himself. It all began after a phone call he had with the actor on Shyamalan’s birthday.

“He called me for my birthday and we talked about his son Jaden’s acting career and then he said, ‘I have this idea,’” Shyamalan said.

“And he pitched me a 45-second version of a story that just clicked with me,” he added.

Smith said that he would do the film if Shyamalan directed it. The filmmaker agreed.

“I loved the idea of the traditional roles flipping and the boy having to save his father, and I just said, ‘I’ll make the movie. I committed there and then,” Shyamalan recalled. “Will thought I was joking but then he said he had originally intended it as a project just for Jaden but if I directed it he would play the father.”

However, After Earth failed to click with the audience, and turned out to be a disaster.

“A thing got broken in my mind,” Smith once said according to The Guardian. “It’s been an absolute necessity that the movie be a blockbuster, but I think I’m going to start moving out of that and finding more danger in my artistic choices.”

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