Startling Twist! M. Night Shyamalan Wrote ‘She’s All That’!

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

So the plain arty girl takes off her glasses, puts on a slinky black dress, and OMG she's gorgeous! Who ever could have seen that plot twist coming?

Turns out that "She's All That," the 1999 teen comedy that re-wrote "Pygmalion" for the millennial generation and gave Rachael Leigh Cook her breakthrough role, was secretly written by M. Night Shyamalan, the guy who built a career (for now) out of clever plot twists.

While one R. Lee Fleming Jr. got the official screenplay credit for "She's All That," in a recent interview the man behind "The Sixth Sense," "Unbreakable," and "Signs" admitted that he was the uncredited scriptwriter on the project.

[Related: M. Night Shyamalan's Biography & Filmography]

In an interview with, Shyamalan was asked what audiences have come to expect from his work, and the writer/director replied, "You're saying the audience's relationship started with me with 'The Sixth Sense.' That same year I wrote 'Stuart Little.'"

Shyamalan went on to say, "By the way, I ghost-wrote a movie that same year that would even add to the breadth of it all, but I don't know if I want to tell you which movie I ghost-wrote." After just a bit of prodding, Shyamalan spilled the beans, admitting, "I ghost-wrote the movie 'She's All That.'"

[Related: M. Night Shyamalan Blackout Falls on ‘After Earth’]

Unfortunately, the reporter didn't bother to press Shyamalan for more details – did he just do a punch-up, or did he rewrite the whole picture from start to finish? – but now that we know that he was part of Laney Bogg's transformation from social outcast to prom queen, it's not hard to read a bit of his signature style into the final product.

It’s worth remembering that "She's All That" was a surprise hit in 1999, grossing $63 million in the United States alone on a $10 million budget. Given that Shyamalan's latest project, the Will & Jaden Smith sci-fi spectacular "After Earth" has been the latest in a series of critical and box-office disappointments for the once high-flying filmmaker, maybe he ought to consider giving teen comedies another try. M. Night Shyamalan's "She's All That II," anyone?