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M. Night Shyamalan's 'Knock at the Cabin' cameo was his 'highest degree of difficulty'
The cameo-loving director explains how he figured out a way to be in Knock at the Cabin.
If you’re sitting down to watch one of M. Night Shaymalan’s movies, chances are you’re on the lookout for the twist. You might also be on the lookout for the director himself, who makes cameos in many of his movies. Shyamalan does indeed make an appearance in Knock at the Cabin, his new film set to open in theaters this Friday. It is, without spoiling anything specific, a good one, but Shyamalan admits that he was doubtful he’d be able to find a place to squeeze in a cameo.
“It was the highest degree of difficulty to get it into a story,” Shyamalan told SYFY WIRE ahead of Knock at the Cabin’s Feb. 3 premiere.
The trick with getting Shaymalan into his own movie was that Knock at the Cabin is, primarily, a very self-contained film. Based on Paul G. Tremblay’s novel The Cabin at the End of the World, the film follows married couple Eric and Andrew (Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge) and their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) as they vacation in the titular cabin. However, four strangers (played by Dave Bautista, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn, and Rupert Grint) invade the cabin and take them hostage, warning that unless they willingly choose to sacrifice one of their family, it will mean the end of the world.
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The vast majority of the movie takes place in this cabin between these seven characters — none of whom are played by Shaymalan. “I had thought, ‘Well, this one, I’m not going to be in obviously,’” he explained.
“And then I was like ‘Oh, I have this idea, this crazy notion,’ and everybody kept laughing at it on the crew,” he continued. Shyamalan went ahead and filmed what would become his cameo. It was actually the very first thing they shot, he said. Even then, he wasn’t counting on the cameo making the final cut of the film.
“Then the editor showed me a cut of that [section of the movie] and she put it in. She’s like, ‘It’s hilarious!’” Shyamalan recalled. “And I was like ‘Oh my god, it is funny!’ So, it stayed in.”
The cameo is a worthy addition to Shyamalan’s acting filmography. Shyamalan starred in his 1992 debut film, Praying with Anger, but has popped up in smaller ways in 10 other films. He plays a pediatrician in The Sixth Sense; a man named Jai in Unbreakable, Split, and Glass; the driver who killed Mel Gibson’s wife in Signs; the park ranger in The Village; a somewhat major character in Lady in the Water; a voice-only cameo in The Happening; a Firebender guarding a prison in Avatar: The Last Airbender; and the van driver in Old.
See for yourself exactly how Shyamalan twisted himself into Knock at the Cabin when it opens in theaters on Feb. 3.