Meet M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter Ishana, who is turning director with The Watchers | Hollywood

If chill, shrill and thrill of the horror genre is something that excites you, then you would definitely know about director M. Night Shyamalan, known for making The Sixth Sense, Split and Glass. But do you know his daughter Ishana Night Shyamalan is also following his footsteps, and exploring showbiz as a director? (Also read: I feel like an outsider: M Night Shyamalan on staying away from Hollywood)

M. Night Shyamalan has worked with his daughter Ishana on The Watchers.(AP)
M. Night Shyamalan has worked with his daughter Ishana on The Watchers.(AP)

Ishana, the 24-year-old middle daughter of the director, is making her own feature directorial debut with The Watchers. And just like her father, her first feature also combines elements of the horror and fantasy genres.

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She has penned the script herself, adapting the story from the gothic horror novel of the same name by A.M. Shine.

Showbiz dreams

Ishana got her first directing credits on the Apple TV+ show Servant, executive-produced by M. Night. She graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2021.

“I’d seen Ishana’s short films, I’d seen her writing, she was going to NYU’s Tisch School where I went, and I saw this opportunity,” M Night told Entertainment Weekly of convincing her daughter to take a semester off and work with him on the show.

He added, “I just had an instinct that these were the right episodes for her. She was humble and worried a little bit.”

Her working relationship with her father

After her first tryst with the camera, Ishana went for a bigger role of the show’s main writer and director in season two.

She also served as second unit director on M. Night’s movie Old. On The Watchers, M. Night has served as an executive producer.

Opening up about working with him, Ishana told Hollywood Reporter, “It was awesome. It’s such an interesting thing to have a dad-daughter relationship, and there’s so much intensity and care there. But it’s been so wonderful. He’s a very encouraging artist and producer and he really wants me to do what I want to do and make my mark. So it’s been very healthy and wonderful.”

Keeping up with the legacy

Ishana is aware of the legacy built by her father, and is happy to take on the pressure.

“There are certain expectations the last name brings. But I love that, because it’s something for me to knock down. Hopefully, I put my own artistic stamp on what I create,” she had told The New York Times in 2021.

About the her debut feature

The Watchers follows the life of Mina (played by Dakota Fanning), an artist who finds herself held captive in an isolated house in the woods of Ireland with three strangers. They are being observed by mysterious creatures through one-way glass.

Talking about the film, she told Hollywood Reporter, “As a reader, I just felt completely compelled and enamoured by the story. My brain already was starting to think about what visuals I wanted to play with and what character work I wanted to play with.” The film will be released on June 14.

Going forward, she wants to “absolutely” stay within the genre she’s currently exploring, as she loves playing in the horror genre.

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