Shyamalan saw more than his share of dead people — presidents, to be specific — after ”The Sixth Sense” became the surprise hit of 1999. But he was more focused on other things at the time. ”I wrote the new one in postproduction and during the release of ‘Sixth Sense,”’ says the Oscar nominated writer director. ”It’s felt like one long movie — there’s been no separation.” Of course, that doesn’t mean the two share anything other than star and genre — but good luck getting details on how they differ.
”Now, didn’t they give you the party line on Night? Everybody knows Night doesn’t want ANYBODY talking about his movie,” laughs Jackson, who learned Shyamalan had written parts expressly for him and his ”Die Hard With a Vengeance” costar when he ran into Willis in a casino in Marrakech and they got the director on the phone. ”What can I say? How’s this: I’m in it.” C’mon, Sam. You can say more than that. ”Fine. Bruce was on a train that crashes [outside Philadelphia] and everybody dies but him — and he doesn’t have a scratch,” he offers, all but summarizing the trailer.
Then, finally, a new tidbit: ”My character has a brittle bone disease, so the premise is: Why do I break all the time and he never does?” Now, was that so hard? We’ll add a tidbit of our own: Female lead Robin Wright Penn was a late replacement for Julianne Moore, who bowed out to make ”Hannibal.” GOOD SIGN Reteaming Willis and Jackson for this creep show was a masterstroke. THEN AGAIN Shyamalan isn’t necessarily a sure thing (anyone see his 1998 clunker ”Wide Awake”?) and ”Sixth Sense”s tend to be once in a decade phenomena — even for the greatest filmmakers.