James McAvoy could replace Joaquin Phoenix as lead in new M. Night Shyamalan movie

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If, like me, you’re one of a handful of people who loved The Visit, you’ll be pleased to hear that M. Night Shyamalan is re-teaming with producer Jason Blum for another as-yet untitled low-budget horror feature.

The latest news to emerge from the project is that Joaquin Phoenix, the actor previously in negotiations to play the lead, has now pulled out. According to reports, he is set to be replaced by James McAvoy, star of Filth, X-Men: First Class and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him.

Considering that working with cost-effective consumer grade DV previously allowed Shyamalan the freedom to follow his most bizarre, experimental aesthetic impulses whilst still ending up with a box office success (The Visit spun a worldwide gross of $66 million from a $5 million budget), it’s unsurprising that the director has chosen to continue in this mode for his next project – particularly given that a number of deeply compromised blockbuster projects (After Earth, The Last Airbender) have recently turned him into something of a laughing stock.

Information about the new project is at current, discerningly vague, but shooting is expected to start in November, in Shyamalan’s hometown of Philadelphia.

Watch the trailer for Shyamalan’s latest film, The Visit, below.

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English student, filmmaker and writer for Alternate Takes, MUBI Notebook, Film International, Mcsweeney's, Senses of Cinema, Little White Lies, The Vulgar Cinema and Sound on Sight. Too crazy for boys' town, too much of a boy for crazy town.

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