M. Night Shyamalan is hatching another secret, twisty movie

The Last Airbender director is returning to his mysterious roots: He's shopping a carefully guarded script around Hollywood, with Bruce Willis, Bradley Cooper, and Gwyneth Paltrow already on board. Remember: He did the same thing with The Happening.

After The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan could do no wrong — and to protect his precious twist endings, the newly powerful writer-director took secrecy to new extremes. Only studio heads could read copies of his newest scripts, and even then with an M. Night representative sitting in the room with them. While one part of that obsessiveness was to reinforce the branding of Shyamalan — if he really wanted to be secretive, it wouldn't be public knowledge how secretive he was — but no one could dispute the results: The Sixth Sense was huge, while Unbreakable and Signs were legitimate blockbusters.

But then came The Village, The Lady in the Water, and The Happening (the wind!) — all of which fared progressively worse, critically and financially — and it became obvious that, just maybe, more people needed to see these screenplays before spending hundreds of millions of dollars producing them.

Now, while the buzz around The Last Airbender — the first Shyamalan that didn't spring directly from his head — is beginning to swell, the filmmaker is returning to his old modus operandi, shopping a script that, according to the Hollywood Reporter:

Only top studio execs have read...and they were required to allow a Shyamalan assistant to supervise the process. When the execs finished reading, the assistant took the script back and left.

No studio has stepped up to the plate yet — maybe they're waiting to see if Airbender will break Shyamalan's streak — but with those stars attached, it seems like a foregone conclusion.

(Via Heat Vision)