M. Night Shyamalan Pitched Trap As ‘Silence Of The Lambs At A Taylor Swift Concert’ – Exclusive Image


by Ben Travis |
Published on

M. Night Shyamalan has always dealt in the art of the high-concept film – but even by his own standards, Trap might be his highest concept ever. As revealed by its tantalising trailer, the film sees dad Cooper (Josh Hartnett) and daughter Riley (Ariel Donoghue) go to a much-hyped pop concert by Lady Raven (aka Shyamalan’s own daughter, Saleka). Except, the show isn’t just a must-have ticket to rival the Eras Tour. No, the whole thing is also a police operation to capture serial killer ‘The Butcher’, who (unless a twist proves otherwise; this is a Shyamalan joint after all) looks to be – gasp! – Hartnett’s Cooper. It’s an idea that can be boiled down to a simple pitch from Shyamalan: “What if The Silence Of The Lambs happened at a Taylor Swift concert?” Boom.

As Shyamalan tells Empire in the new The Rings Of Power Season 2 issue, Trap was inspired in part by the real ‘Operation Flagship’ – a 1985 plot in which several fugitives were offered free NFL tickets, and the chance to win an all-expenses-paid Super Bowl trip. Except, 100-odd hopefuls attended and discovered that it was a sting operation. “It was hilarious,” Shyamalan chuckles. “The cops were literally cheerleaders and mascots. These guys were dancing as they came in. And they were all caught. It was so twisted and funny.” Combine that with Saleka’s rising pop career, and Shyamalan envisaged a “very scary and Hitchcockian” ride – one that adds a new string to the filmmaker’s bow. “I directed an entire concert!” he says. “And it wasn’t just a thing in the background. It’s equally important. There is no pretend concert going on. I love the idea of cinema as windows within windows. One of the reasons to come see the movie at the movie theatre is because there’s literally a real concert that you can see nowhere except in that movie.”

For Shyamalan, Trap represents another example of making unique, unexpected and original films – continuing to self-fund his own work, allowing him take all kinds of narrative risks in the process. “I really do believe in the original movie,” he says. “I want the industry to move towards more original storytelling. I think audiences would really like it. Look, I know there’s safety in IP. But it’s really important that we come to the movies and see something we’ve never seen before. I’ll keep fighting for that.” If you can’t get a ticket to the Eras Tour, then, or to the Lady Raven concert, you can definitely get a ticket to Trap.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Season 2 – Empire covers

Read Empire’s full Trap feature – speaking to M Night Shyamalan and Josh Hartnett about their all-singing, all-dancing, serial-killer thriller – in The Rings Of Power Season 2 issue, on sale Thursday 4 July. Pre-order a copy now – choose the Galadriel cover, or the Sauron cover. Trap comes to UK cinemas from 9 August.

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