M. Night Shyamalan had to work frantically to complete his latest movie Old after the beach set was hit by a hurricane.
The filmmaker was determined to make his latest project with a cast including Rufus Sewell, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Embeth Davidtz, in September last year in the Dominican Republic - despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the Caribbean hurricane season.
While filming, the director's nightmare scenario happened, and a hurricane destroyed the carefully built sets.
"Because of people's schedules, I couldn't have this cast if I waited," he said at a Tribeca Film Festival event, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "And so I made the choice, just thinking about what's important to me. And honestly, it was because I wanted to make this movie with that (cast) I took the risk. We took the risk. And, of course, there was a hurricane, and it just took the sets and just destroyed them."
The effects of the storm also meant that once sets had been hurriedly rebuilt they also had to improvise on locations.
"The beach had been eroded away," he revealed. "There was no beach for our beach movie."
As a result, they had to make do with parts of the beach that were left usable depending on tides.
"We got very lucky. By day one, part of the beach came back, so we shot on that side and then we became very versed with nature, like the tides and storms out 100 miles away and how many times the water comes up per day," Shyamalan explained. "Honestly, we were allowed to be on that beach. That was Mother Nature allowing us to be there."
The filmmaker also paid for the entirety of his cast and crew, including cleaners and caterers, to stay in the same Covid-secure hotel to ensure cases of the virus did not derail filming, and the precautions worked as he reported, "we didn't have a single positive case".
Old, a supernatural thriller about a family on a tropical holiday, is out next month.