Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blocked: Martin Amis & M Night Shyamalan

On this day two artists draw themselves to my attention: novelist Martin Amis, 57, and film director M Night Shyamalan, coming up to 37. Both are seeking. Both in a sense are in a limbo, one creative, the other commercial. Both know extraordinary success; now both have hit a brick wall. The collision process is fascinating. Neither is over, that’s for sure. Both are fighting forward. It’s an inspiring spectacle to watch two stars searching for the road north of inertia (theirs or others').

The Guardian reports today that Amis is to become a professor of creative writing at Manchester University. He explains why: “I'm 57 and there comes a point when, my father [author Kingsley Amis] put it very well, he said: 'There comes a point where you think, it's not like that any more.' A social change in the collective consciousness has happened and you feel you are not seeing it….

"I have a lot of children, but children only give you a very partial view of what is going on. They are quite secretive and edit what they tell you. I want to get out there and take my own reading of what young people are like now; it's very hard to tell. They don't interact with you at all, the young. They hardly see you [and] they don't show themselves to you. I have a lot of curiosity about that and maybe, when these strange experiences are out of the way, when it's over, it might form itself into a novel."

M Night Shyamalan can’t find a studio to pick up his spec for "The Green Effect". His three big paranormal movies (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs) alone have made in excess of US$1.3bn. Then he made one turkey in 2006, Lady In The Water, and the suits sought refuge in their Excel sheets. "The Green Effect" is as now as Madonna's latest turn: Mother Nature gets pissed off with carbon-farting mankind and decides to kill us off. Think of the (special) effects, the sights! It’s a neo-pagan-Gaia spin-off but all good ideas should replicate. The apocalypse is no longer nuclear, it’s natural (a clue there, Martin).

Someone who’s read the script at Latino Review has awarded it a B+ - but who knows? The point is, Hollywood doesn’t want to know, just as Amis feels blind to the “collective consciousness”.

Success, and then life goes on.

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