Old family

INTERVIEW: Alex Wolff and M. Night Shyamalan on Bringing the Fear of Aging to Life in Old

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M. Night Shyamalan is a master of bringing us a lesson masked as a horror film. While Old isn’t particularly frightening, it does pose a question we’re all afraid to ask ourselves: What happens when we run out of time? The premise of the movie is simple. A group of people gets stuck on a beach that seems to be aging everyone quickly, including their young children. Many of them struggle to find a way to cope with the aging they’re going through while trying to escape, and it’s a beautiful look at acceptance, love, and what do to when you’re faced with a time limit in life.

Talking to M. Night Shyamalan was amazing because he has had quite an up and down career with critics. My generation grew up knowing his work and knowing that the beauty of a Shyamalan movie is the twist that keeps you thinking long after the movie has ended. When I brought up his ability to give audiences these thought-provoking questions, Shyamalan praised the art form of cinema as a whole.

“I find cinema, going to the movie theater, one of the most immersive art forms that we have. Because it’s almost all of the art forms together,” Shyamalan said when talking about Old and his history of storytelling through the horror lens, and it’s a fascinating look at his work as a whole as well as the beautiful lesson that lies within the film.

You can see our full chat below:

For Wolff though, it was the draw of working with a legend like Shyamalan:

I think the initial thing was Night, you know? I had been a fan of his since before I can even remember, like I saw the Sixth Sense when I was way too young and it absolutely traumatized me and ruined my life, but I got addicted to that feeling of uncertainty, stepping into the theater, not knowing what you were going to expect. And, as I get older, I kind of just appreciate his work more and more and more. He’s one of the great experimental risk-taking auteurs of not just my generation, but for the last three decades. So I feel like that was the main thing, and I didn’t really care what the movie was. It was just, I needed to work with him. And then it just so happens it was this beautiful allegorical kind of metaphor on, a metaphor for what it feels like to see the world spinning too quickly and see your life just flashing at a rapid rate that you’re not comfortable with. And so I feel like I got to be a part of his most personal, most, deep film.

While Old might not be for everyone, it is a movie that I haven’t stopped thinking about since watching it over two weeks ago. It’s thought-provoking, important, and honestly, my favorite Shyamalan film that I’ve seen in the last few years. Old is in theaters now, and I highly recommend seeing it!

(image: Universal Pictures)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.