Sixth Sense Finale Had Bruce Willis Second-Guessing He Could Deliver The Part
The actor was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to deliver a convincing performance, knowing how the movie would end.
What is the first movie that comes to mind when you think of the most unexpected twist? It's M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense, of course. Upon its release, The Sixth Sense grossed over 300 million, second only to the first episode of Star Wars.
It also became the all-time record holder for video distribution. People felt the need to revisit the story, to show it to their friends, to share their impressions, and to see each other's reactions to the ending.
The Sixth Sense completely changed the attitude toward spoilers. It never occurred to anyone to reveal the intrigue and give away the main mystery of the movie – a secret that, like a puzzle, was always right in front of our eyes.
The ending shocked not only the audience, but also the actors themselves. Bruce Willis admitted that after reading the script he began to doubt that he could convincingly play his character:
“Once I knew the ending of the film and that my character was indeed dead, I had to forget about it and act as if I weren’t. I never really thought about acting as a ghost.”
It was difficult for the actor to be careful not to give away the fact that his character would be a ghost at the end of the movie. Perhaps Shyamalan should have hidden the ending of the movie from the actors, as some other directors do, and only reveal the twist directly on the set.
The final twist of The Sixth Sense is an example of the emerging Shyamalan style, in which, in addition to unexpected twists, one can find dialogues with God, the supernatural, and many characters with tragic pasts. This left its mark on his future work.
The viewers expected Shyamalan to direct movies comparable to The Sixth Sense. He became a hostage of his masterpiece, because repeating or surpassing such a success is not an easy task. He could not solve it, although tried desperately.
And while Shyamalan may never make anything as remarkable as The Sixth Sense, the poignant story of a boy who saw ghosts has forever etched his name into cinematic history.