Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Phoenixville / Drew Barrymore!?!?

Shyamalan hopes to rebound with new thriller

What seemed to be an average, quiet, hot and humid August night in Phoenixville, Pa. was anything but average. That's because hundreds of area citizens waited outside the G Lodge Restaurant in hopes of catching a glance of Mark Walhberg, star of M. Night Shyamalan's newest thriller, "The Happening."Several filming locations are taking place in the Philadelphia area including Rittenhouse Square, 30th Street Station, Julia R. Masterman School and the G Lodge restaurant in Phoenixville. The last time this level of excitement was seen in the sleepy town of Phoenixville was when Steve McQueen and company invaded to film the campy 50s horror film classic, "The Blob." In fact, that event was so remarkable that the town has an annual "Blobfest" just to commemorate the film and its significance to the area.

"The Happening" is a thriller about a teacher and struggling musician named Elliot Moore, played by Walhberg, and his family on the run from a natural disaster that presents a large scale threat to humanity. Aliens take control of the Earth's animals and plants in order to take over the planet. It appears to be the usual Shyamalan offering of adventure/thriller with a slightly twisted perspective.

In January 2007, Shyamalan traveled from Philadelphia to Hollywood to prepare a live-action film adaptation of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" an Emmy Award-nominated American animated television series that currently airs on Nickelodeon. Shyamalan then went to numerous studios submitting a sample script of a movie entitled "The Green Effect," but no studios showed enough interest in purchasing the script. Attempting to salvage the project, Shyamalan returned to Philadelphia with ideas and notes he collected from the various meetings.

In March 2007, Twentieth Century Fox greenlit Shyamlan's project, now entitled "The Happening." Shymalan and Barry Mendel are producing the $57 million film, which will be the director's first R-rated project. Besides the film's star, Walhberg, the cast consists of Betty Buckley, Spencer Breslin (who was in Disney's "The Kid," "The Santa Clause 2" and "The Cat in the Hat") and Zooey Deschanel, from "Almost Famous" and "Elf."An area native, Shyamalan clearly favors shooting his films in and around Philadelphia. "The Sixth Sense," his break-out hit, featured Philadelphia so prominently that it almost became a character in and of itself, lending it's unique architecture and ambience to the story of a boy who could "see dead people."

And part of the eerie nature of "Signs" was the juxtaposition of its rural Lancaster setting contrasted with the otherworldly alien invaders. The bucolic cornfields rustling with alien monsters made the possibility of alien invasion seem somehow more likely.

Wahlberg is no stranger to the area as well, having portrayed Philadelphia Eagle and local hero in the recent movie "Invincible." A Boston native, Wahlberg's mix of everyman charm and street-tough persona seems to make him a favorite with his Philadelphia fans. Wahlberg took the time while filming "The Happening" to greet fans, and remarked on how much he enjoys filming in the area. His career seems to be poised on the cusp of super-stardom, as he has earned box office popularity with movies such as "Invincible" and critical acclaim with roles in movies like "The Departed."

Critics have given "The Happening" mixed reviews, despite the fact that the movie has yet to be released. Whether or not this movie is going to be another hit like Shyamalan's previous movies "Signs" and "The Sixth Sense," or a bust like his last film 'The Lady in the Water" is still up in the air. You can see for yourself in the summer of 2008. And who knows, in a few years, one may be in Phoenixville for a "Happening Fest" and see Mark Wahlberg running out of the Colonial theater!"The Happening" is set to hit theaters Friday, June 13, 2008. With its star-power, "The Happening" looks to be a hit.

Artical from: http://media.www.wcuquad.com/media/storage/paper676/news/2007/09/17/Entertainment/Shyamalan.Hopes.To.Rebound.With.New.Thriller-2973405-page2.shtml

From Philly.com:

Barrymore drops by film shoot

The cast and crew of the M. Night Shyamalan film The Happening were shooting last week on a thousand-acre hay farm in Unionville, Chester County.

And who emerges from a car and shows up for lunch but Drew Barrymore?

The actress, bucolically chic in jeans and a white shirt, does not appear in the movie. She was taking a meeting with Happening producer Barry Mendel.

The locale may have seemed like the middle of nowhere, but the grub was urbane. It was sushi day.

The sci-fi movie, in its final three weeks of production, is headed to Upper Bucks County today after a brief stop near Pottstown.

Full Artical: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/columnists/michael_klein/inqlings/20070918_Inqlings___Barrymore_drops_by_film_shoot.html


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