Thanks to the hidden cameras and recording equipment that we've stashed all over Hollywood, we're able to bring you transcripts of the secret meetings that take place every day. We do this in the hopes that questions may be answered, that puzzles may be solved, and that movies we don't think look very good may be made fun of. Here is:
The Pitch Meeting for Devil
STUDIO EXEC #1: Thanks for coming to the meeting, everyone. As you know, this is my first day back on the job after being in a coma for the last six years.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Welcome back!
STUDIO EXEC #3: We missed you!
STUDIO EXEC #4: Very little has changed!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Thank you, you're very kind. I appreciate the bouquets of hundred-dollar bills you sent to my hospital room. I was able to light a lot of cigars with them. Now, what's on the agenda today?
STUDIO EXEC #2: We're going to hear a pitch from ... let's see ... oh. M. Night Shyamalan.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Ugh.
STUDIO EXEC #4: Oh, no.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Shyamalan? Terrific! That guy is hot! Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs -- the man is on fire!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Yeah, actually, about that...
STUDIO EXEC #1: Bring him in! Let's do this!
(M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN enters, sitting on a golden throne carried on the backs of a dozen servants while harem girls fan the air before him with palm fronds and chant his name.)
SHYAMALAN: Good morning, gentlemen.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Hello, M. Night! It's a pleasure to meet you!
SHYAMALAN: Indeed it is.
STUDIO EXEC #2: All right, let's get this over with.
SHYAMALAN: Gentlemen, what I am about to present to you will change the course of history. Not just movie history, but the entire history of man.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Oh, brother...
STUDIO EXEC #1: Ooh! Did you hear that? The history of man!
STUDIO EXEC #4: (to STUDIO EXEC #1) Listen, we should explain what you missed while you were gone...
STUDIO EXEC #1: Not now! M. Night Shyamalan is about to dazzle us with another one of his fiendishly clever stories! Go ahead, M.N.!
SHYAMALAN: Thank you. The film is called Devil. It is about a group of people who are trapped in an elevator, and one of them might be the devil.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Let me guess, the twist is that the elevator was actually an escalator the whole time.
STUDIO EXEC #4: No, no, the twist is the "close doors" button actually makes the doors open! Aahhh!
STUDIO EXEC #2: No, I've got it. In the end we discover that the aliens are allergic to water!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Hey! Knock it off! What's going on here? How dare you people mock the films of M. Night Shyamalan! Oh, I suppose it's become "cool" to make fun of this generation's master of suspense? I guess that's how we show that we're "hip" nowadays? "Hey, everybody, I hate Orson Welles! He's sooooo not very good at making the best movies that have ever been made, including Citizen Kane!" Is that how this works? Am I doing it right?
SHYAMALAN: I must say, I'm a bit perplexed at the hostile reception.
STUDIO EXEC #2: I -- you are?
STUDIO EXEC #3: Really?
SHYAMALAN: Quite perplexed indeed. My films have garnered nothing but praise from audiences and critics alike.
STUDIO EXEC #4: Um...
STUDIO EXEC #1: Yeah, you guys! Come on!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Wait...
SHYAMALAN: Frankly, I find your cynical response completely out of touch with the moviegoing public.
STUDIO EXEC #3: "Nothing but praise--"
STUDIO EXEC #4: "--from audiences and critics alike"?
SHYAMALAN: If you don't want Devil, I'm sure one of the other studios does.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Now, now, let's not be hasty. I don't know what these guys' problem is. Devil sounds like -- you'll pardon the pun -- one HECK of a great movie. I assume you'll be writing and directing it?
SHYAMALAN: Actually, it's only the story that's mine. The actual screenplay was written by someone else, and someone else will direct it, too.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Aw, that's a shame.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Hold on. It's only the story that's yours?
SHYAMALAN: That's right.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Hmm...
STUDIO EXEC #3: I know what you're thinking. The story itself isn't bad.
STUDIO EXEC #4: Not at all. If you tell me "strangers trapped in an elevator, one of them is the devil," I'm hooked.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Exactly. If this weren't Shyamalan standing here but just some idiot off the street -- some homeless person who wandered past security and told us his movie idea -- we'd be all over this.
STUDIO EXEC #3: A story like that clears $150 million domestic, easy.
STUDIO EXEC #4: And it'll be cheap to shoot.
STUDIO EXEC #2: If we'd heard this movie idea from a homeless person, we'd have already murdered him and hidden his body so we could take credit for the idea ourselves.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Like we did with Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
STUDIO EXEC #4: That homeless guy was CRAZY!!
STUDIO EXEC #1: See? I told you Shyamalan was a great idea man! Now, you're sure you don't want to write and direct it yourself...
STUDIO EXEC #2: No! No! Let the poor guy take a break!
STUDIO EXEC #3: Just a "story by" credit will be fine, I'm sure!
SHYAMALAN: Yes, I'm happy with that. Well, and I'd like to sign on as one of the film's producers, too.
STUDIO EXEC #4: Sure, sure, whatever you want.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Let's draw up these contracts!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Fantastic! This is a great idea for a story that just happens to be from M. Night Shyamalan--
STUDIO EXEC #3: --but written and directed by entirely different people!
STUDIO EXEC #4: People who are not named M. Night Shyamalan!
STUDIO EXEC #2: No one will even know he was involved!
SHYAMALAN: Oh, one other thing.
STUDIO EXEC #2: What is it?
SHYAMALAN: Obviously, when you make the film's trailer...
STUDIO EXEC #2: Yes?
SHYAMALAN: You'll want it to say...
STUDIO EXEC #2: Mmhmm?
SHYAMALAN: "FROM THE MIND OF M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN."
STUDIO EXEC #2: Sure -- wait, what?
SHYAMALAN: Very prominently, in big letters.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Yes, of course!
SHYAMALAN: You'll sell more tickets that way.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Obviously!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Sweet merciful crap.
STUDIO EXEC #3: No...
STUDIO EXEC #1: What's the matter?
STUDIO EXEC #4: Well ... we usually just put the director's name up there, not the "story by" guy...
STUDIO EXEC #1: Well, sure, usually. But if the film has a connection to M. Night Shyamalan, no matter how tangential, you better believe we're gonna play that up!
SHYAMALAN: If I may boast somewhat, it would be foolish to promote this film without making sure everyone knows that it is "from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan."
STUDIO EXEC #2: Do you really not know...?
STUDIO EXEC #3: I mean, he's been in a coma, but you...
STUDIO EXEC #4: Why couldn't you have been a crazy homeless man??
STUDIO EXEC #1: Oh, you guys! I don't know what's gotten into you today. M. Night, of course we'll splash your name all over the trailer, all over the ads, all over the posters.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Ohhh...
STUDIO EXEC #1: We'll cover the world in Shyamalan! We'll have the average moviegoer thinking you're the movie's writer, director, star, and craft-services guy!
STUDIO EXEC #3: Son of a...
STUDIO EXEC #4: It's all over.
SHYAMALAN: Wonderful! Now, can we talk about my idea for a sequel to The Happening?
STUDIO EXEC #1: The Happening? That must have been while I was gone. What's it about?
STUDIO EXEC #2: (whispers plot summary to him)
STUDIO EXEC #1: Really?
STUDIO EXEC #2: Uh-huh.
STUDIO EXEC #1: The trees?
STUDIO EXEC #2: Uh-huh.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Shyamalan, you get the hell out of this office.
* * * *
Eric D. Snider (website) wishes he'd been in a coma for The Happening, too.