Zooey Deschanel Says The Happening Was 'Universally Not Loved' Because Critics 'Didn't Get It'

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THE HAPPENING, (aka GREEN PLANET), Zooey Deschanel, Mark Wahlberg, 2008.
THE HAPPENING, (aka GREEN PLANET), Zooey Deschanel, Mark Wahlberg, 2008.

20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Zooey Deschanel has no regrets about The Happening.

The actress, 42, recently told The Guardian that when it comes to the 2008 thriller from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan and the harsh reviews it was met with, the critics are the ones who missed the mark. (It currently holds a 17 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.)

Deschanel played Alma in The Happening opposite Mark Wahlberg as her husband Elliot. The two are on the run as a mysterious force is causing people to off themselves in disturbingly inventive ways. The film also stars John Leguizamo, Betty Buckley, Spencer Breslin — plus two Succession stars, Jeremy Strong and Alan Ruck.

"That film was pretty universally not loved," Deschanel said with a laugh when asked about The Happening. "The director, M. Night Shyamalan — Night — had a strong vision and we were all trying to do what he wanted. I trusted him because he's a great filmmaker. I didn't know until I saw the film, but I think he was going for a stylized horror, like The Birds, and maybe people didn't get that."

"I had a blast working with Night and Mark Wahlberg," she added, "but while I've done serious drama, I'm not sure I fit with thrillers. I find most joy in doing comedy."

RELATED: Family Night! See M. Night Shyamalan with His Wife and Daughters at Old Premiere: 'Grow Up So Fast'

THE HAPPENING, (aka GREEN PLANET), Mark Wahlberg, Ashlyn Sanchez, Zooey Deschanel, 2008.
THE HAPPENING, (aka GREEN PLANET), Mark Wahlberg, Ashlyn Sanchez, Zooey Deschanel, 2008.

20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

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Shyamalan is known for leaving his film audience and critics divisive with his projects, which include movies like The Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs, Lady in the Water, The Visit, Split and, most recently, Old. He's currently in the process of making his next thriller, Knock at the Cabin.

The Happening was his first and only R-rated movie.

Wahlberg previously slammed The Happening as a "bad movie" during a 2013 press conference for The Fighter, joking that his costar Amy Adams "dodged the bullet" by not signing on to it. In 2019, Shyamalan shared his reaction to Wahlberg's remarks, telling Vulture he doesn't mind: "It's totally his call. However he wants to interpret it."

Looking back on the reviews, Shyamalan added that he was attempting to make a B-movie thriller but "I think I was inconsistent; that's why they couldn't see it."