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The Watchers: the horror film by Ishana Night Shyamalan and Dakota Fanning is inspired by Irish folklore

Director Ishana Night Shyamalan directs Dakota Fanning in the new thriller The Watchers, filmed in Ireland and, like the horror novel AM Shine on which it is based, is influenced by Irish folklore and the enchanting landscape of the island of Emerald.

Shyamalan’s film follows Mina (Fanning), an American living in Galway whose car breaks down while driving through untouched forest in the west of Ireland. Mina finds refuge with three other people stuck in the woods. At sunset, they must stay inside their structure – “the henhouse” – for fear of being attacked by the mysterious forest creatures that come out at night. These beings observe them from the outside through a one-way window. To paraphrase the film’s tagline, we don’t see the Watchers, but they see everything.

The discovery of the Watchers’ identity and history is obviously a huge spoiler that neither Shyamalan nor Fanning would directly address in their recent interviews with IGN. Nonetheless, they did their best to shed light on the world of The Watchers and why Ireland itself is such an integral part of the film. (These interviews have been combined and edited for clarity.)

IGN: What do you think makes so many of its people truly believe in the supernatural about Ireland and its land?

Ishana Nuit Shyamalan: I don’t know. There must probably be some historical basis for this. But really, when I was there, I just felt this kind of otherworldly essence in this place. I think it’s very similar to the trees there, the hills and everything, and even the water is very spiritually charged. I’ve always thought that mythology has to come from a real place, and I think Ireland is a country where it’s actually existed for a long time. It still exists in the psyche of people there, which is really cool to me.

Dakota Fanning: Well, I think the Irish in Ireland, as you say, have a very strong connection to this folklore, the Celtic myth and these ancient fairy tales. And I think that’s such a wonderful thing. And you feel it when you’re there, and the nature there is of a higher level of beauty. And it’s magical and very spiritual because it’s so postcard perfect, most of the things you look at. So definitely, you can feel this ancient myth that’s very present when you’re there and the stories that people tell and the songs that they sing and how that mixes with pub culture. You know what I mean? It’s simply all of that, and it’s very special.

I’m very grateful that we filmed it there because the book takes place there and it was written there. So we filmed in Galway and in these forests of Wicklow, just outside of Dublin, and we really captured the Irish spirit in an authentic way. And sometimes you’re supposed to be somewhere, but you’re in Cleveland or something, pretending it’s somewhere else, which sometimes it is. But when you can actually go to the location where the film takes place, it’s always very special.

IGN: What makes Mina’s character a good vessel for exploring this world?

Shyamalan: I was very interested, and that’s how it exists in the book as well, but sort of putting someone who felt hyper-grounded at the center of the story, which is a little more surreal and experiential. So it was basically putting a very modern, dynamic person into this abnormal scenario and seeing how she would react as the voice of the audience. So throughout the piece, she’s sort of meant to mimic the questions that you have and question them as you would as an audience member. So that’s the intention here, is that you have this kind of human anchor amidst all of this.

IGN: I haven’t read the book. Was she also American in the book?

Shyamalan: She was not. It wasn’t really stated where she was from in the book, but I believe she was supposed to be from Galway. And I sort of made this choice to make her American because I am, because I just felt like I could write to her better in that sense, and to capture the feeling of her isolation and her distance from home. even more extreme.

The Watchers: the horror film by Ishana Night Shyamalan and Dakota Fanning is inspired by Irish folklore
Dakota Fanning in The Observers.

IGN: Dakota, can you talk about Mina’s psychology and what she learns from this horrible experience she’s going through?

Fanning: I think we meet her at a time when she’s still running from her past. She has not reconciled the trauma she experienced and the heartbreak she experienced, and she still feels broken inside and doesn’t really know who she is or where she is going and has isolated herself because of it. . And I really thought of her as a research character. I think we all know those people who are always searching, always searching, always dabbling. And so I felt like that was really who she was to me. And I can obviously understand feeling moments of stagnation or moments of uncertainty. I think we can all relate to that. So I could see parts of myself in his experience.

I think she is only able to face all of this when she is confronted with these supernatural and surreal things or this experience in the forest allows her to confront these parts of herself that she is so deeply buried. And then being able to actually heal from it and forgive yourself is a big part of the story and allowing people to come back and, yes, heal. I love films like this, when you make a film that is of a very specific genre but you can still weave a very human story. And I felt like when I read it, I had the opportunity to really do that. And that’s also what I tried to bring to it.

IGN: What do you think “the cooperative” symbolizes?

Shyamalan: For me, the henhouse is a kind of space, a representation of the human essence. So we designed it to contain these different vignettes representative of human life. So a place to sleep, a place to eat, a place to watch, a place to listen. It was a lot about thinking about the archetype of humanity and then putting anyone into that, having that kind of dynamic that would develop on that kind of stage. So for me, it’s like the box, it’s like humans. This is what humans are, this is what we feel and this is what we do in a very isolated space.

IGN: You could also do a theatrical version of this story.

Shyamalan: Oh yeah. Oh it’s cool. I love it. Yes, this was also very intentional in terms of the style of the coop. My production designer and I looked at a lot of pictures of stage lighting and the sort of miscellaneous pieces that looked like they were taken from different eras. So it was a very intentional thing to give that impression.

IGN: Obviously you can’t escape M. Night Shyamalan. You are his daughter, he is a producer on this film. But as you were designing the film, the shots, the sequences, and writing it and everything, were there things in your mind like, “People are going to think this looks too much like my dad,” or was there Are there things that you know from working with him like, “Oh, he would do it this way, so I deliberately don’t want to draw attention to something he might do”?

Shyamalan: Yeah. I think at times I thought that if his work was too much like him there might be harm, but I really found that all the decisions for me became very natural once I started making decisions. them. I think my dad and I have very different approaches to shooting, and while there’s a similar tone to our visuals, I think we’re drawn to different colors and different patterns and things like that. So it was very natural that this world would feel like a similar place but be very different when you actually experience it. So I just tried to listen to myself as much as possible and focus on the things that I found beautiful in each frame and each frame of the film.

IGN: Could you talk about filming in a real forest and the visual challenges of creating shots? Did you have everything planned out in your head about how you were going to shoot these things in advance and did that change the day you arrived?

Shyamalan: It was quite a rude awakening at first, I think, to find out that the plans that I had embarked on and planned were going to be very difficult to achieve just in terms of getting the equipment up there. I’m definitely a filmmaker who likes to move the camera. I like, in each shot, to have a different movement and for everything to be connected. And it’s very difficult to get these precise movements in a very dense and uneven space. So it took a lot of exploring different techniques and different types of camera movements and equipment to get the things we wanted to get and a lot of zooming, so we didn’t have to build dolly tracks, but it was wonderful. .

And then, from the beginning, I really wanted to create this feeling that everywhere you look, the forest is endless, so you can never see anything that looks like an exit. So that was actually one of the biggest challenges: being in there, once the lens is raised, everything, even the light coming from very far away, feels like an opening. So we had to be very specific about which sections of the forest we were shooting in and where we were pointed.

(L to R) Olwen Fouéré, Ishana Shyamalan, Oliver Finnegan and Georgina Campbell on the set of The Watchers.
(L to R) Olwen Fouéré, Ishana Shyamalan, Oliver Finnegan and Georgina Campbell on the set of The Watchers.

IGN: Did you have to walk for half an hour or something in the woods with the cast and crew? How far did you actually go into the woods?

Shyamalan: It wasn’t crazy. It was a sort of vast forest above the Wicklow Mountains, sort of above a car park. It took us about, I would say, a five to ten minute hike uphill to get to where we were filming, and we ended up paving something over so we could access the forest a little easier, but it It was quite difficult. We were really shooting in the middle of this massive thing. I was very out of breath. I had to use my inhaler a lot. So it’s wonderful.

IGN: I hope you can go back to Ireland one day, just as a tourist to have fun.

Shyamalan: THANKS. I can not wait to return to.

The Watchers opens in North America on June 7 and internationally on June 5.

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News Source : www.ign.com

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