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Signs (2002) Poster

(2002)

Trivia

Jump to: Director Trademark (3)  | Spoilers (5)
The artwork in the book about extraterrestrials was actually done by Writer and Director M. Night Shyamalan's daughter, Saleka Shyamalan.
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The stories of the children's birth are actually the stories of M. Night Shyamalan's two children.
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Joaquin Phoenix replaced Mark Ruffalo, who had to pull out of the film due to a brain tumor. It was later found to be benign.
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The production used a new watering technique to make the corn grow faster, which the Delaware Valley agricultural college was then very keen to adopt for themselves.
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The crop circles are real, as M. Night Shyamalan doesn't particularly like using CGI.
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M. Night Shyamalan insisted that the film posters be released without showing Mel Gibson's face, as it is an ensemble piece, and that it didn't refer to The Sixth Sense (1999), as it's an entirely different movie.
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The "Brazilian Video" was shot with a household camcorder by M. Night Shyamalan himself.
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Mel Gibson didn't realize Shyamalan was playing the vet, until the day that they came to shoot their scenes together.
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Mel Gibson's name was listed on the call sheet as "Lem Nosbig" to throw off any non-crew members wanting to know what days he'd be on the set.
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The aliens were originally going to be invisible, but M. Night Shyamalan couldn't get the effect he wanted.
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Rather unusually, James Newton Howard started scoring the film before it had been shot, as he was able to work from M. Night Shyamalan's detailed storyboards.
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M. Night Shyamalan's scene, in which he talks to Hess about the death of his wife, was shot a day after a member of Shyamalan's family died.
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The dramatic dinner table scene was filmed in only three hours.
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M. Night Shyamalan was so secretive about the script that Mel Gibson joked it "came with a padlock."
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M. Night Shyamalan cites The Birds (1963), Night of the Living Dead (1968), and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) as the influences for this film.
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Just after the DVD is inserted into the player, and immediately after the Touchstone logo, a dark, fuzzy image appears in black and white, very quickly. It is a movie still, with Merrill, Morgan, and Bo sitting on the couch with the aluminum hats on their heads. The picture is shown even faster when "Play" is selected.
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M. Night Shyamalan wanted Mel Gibson because he's "the guy you believe would protect his family at all costs."
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This was an unconventional role for Mel Gibson, who says he doesn't play characters so "introspective."
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The pantry scene took three weeks to film.
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Graham Hess was originally written as an older character. Paul Newman was offered the role, but turned it down, as did Clint Eastwood.
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The scene in which Graham has his last conversation with his wife, was scheduled for September 12, 2001, and was filmed after a cast and crew candlelight vigil.
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M. Night Shyamalan said that this was the easiest of all his movies to write and direct.
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The "Brazilian Video" was shot in Miami, but the children were all Brazilians. A Portuguese couple was also brought to play their parents, but M. Night Shyamalan decided not use them, because he noticed that their accent was totally different.
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In the part of the "Brazilian Video" the anchorwoman says the video was taped in Passo Fundo city that means "Deep Step", and what the boy's saying all the time is "It's behind that garage".
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When he first read it, Mel Gibson said he "couldn't put the script down. It's suspenseful from the first frame."
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Composer James Newton Howard was asked to purposely reference classic film scores from similar genres, such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Psycho (1960). The opening music and main three-note motif is strikingly similar (a probable reference) to both the theme of Psycho (1960) and the theme of The Twilight Zone (1959).
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Abigail Breslin's film debut.
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M. Night Shyamalan had the cast watch The Birds (1963) several times during production.
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M. Night Shyamalan considered calling the movie "The Alien Bulletin" or "Visitors" before settling on Signs.
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According to M. Night Shyamalan the movie's title has two meanings. "One is the crop signs, but it is also about faith and the existence of signs from above."
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M. Night Shyamalan called this his "most popcorn movie."
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Mel Gibson said that standing in front of the actual circles is awe-inspiring and "it helps you get into character."
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The film grew out of M. Night Shyamalan's idea to show an alien invasion from the point of view of one family.
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The film was shot on the property of an agricultural school, Delaware Valley College, where two areas of corn were already growing at different stages. The corn grown for the film was naturally further behind the other two areas of corn, so it was not a planned element.
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M. Night Shyamalan didn't want the trailers to make any reference to The Sixth Sense (1999) because he felt it didn't trust what was to come next. That it didn't give the film its own life, and audiences would assume Signs was exactly the same type of film as The Sixth Sense.
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M. Night Shyamalan thinks the scariest thing in the film is that a good man could lose his connection with God.
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Only the scenes in the bookstore and the pizza shop were filmed in Newtown (Bucks County), Pennsylvania. The scenes of the house and cornfields were filmed on forty acres, that were leased to the film company by Delaware Valley College (an agriculture college) of Doylestown (Bucks County), Pennsylvania. After filming, the film company donated all the corn grown to the college's vegetable and fruit market. The house was built on the grounds and torn down after filming. Delaware Valley College is acknowledged in the credits at the end of the film. The drugstore scene was filmed in Morrisville (Bucks County), Pennsylvania.
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M. Night Shyamalan set the film in cornfields, because the stalks are taller and more ominous than wheat.
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The Hess family hides in the basement, which Graham Hess says was once used for coal storage. In H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds", the main character hides from the aliens in a coal shed.
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The prints hanging over the fireplace and Graham's bed in the Hess's home are "Stone City" and "Spring Plowing," respectively, by American artist Grant Wood (1891-1942), who is perhaps best-known for his painting "American Gothic." He co-founded an art colony in Stone City, Iowa in the early 1930s.
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Johnny Depp was originally approached to star.
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Cherry Jones and Joaquin Phoenix also worked together in M. Night Shyamalan's next movie, The Village (2004).
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DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (M. Night Shyamalan): (Philadelphia): The action takes place just outside of Philadelphia.
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This film was shot in Newtown, Pennsylvania. The scene which takes place in "2 Aldo's Pizzeria" is really a family-run pizzeria called "Mom's Bake at Home Pizza".
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M. Night Shyamalan also worked with Cinematographer Tak Fujimoto on The Sixth Sense (1999). They would work together again on The Happening (2008).
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The scene where Merrill wakes Graham up in the basement the next morning has a different version of news played on the radios. This one features lights in the sky being talked about.
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Including Officer Caroline Paski, all of the main characters (the Hess family) have blue eyes.
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3 out 4 of the Hess family members are played by actors or actresses who are the younger siblings of actors. Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin, and Joaquin Phoenix are respectively related to Macaulay and Kieran Culkin, Spencer Breslin, and the late River Phoenix.
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Vegetables are shown on the table that were being chopped with the shiny knife, shortly after Morgan's comment about the aliens probably being vegetarians.
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One of the opening scenes shows the cornfield, swing set, and table at night through a pane of glass; crickets can be heard softly chirping as the camera pans backward into the bedroom. Suddenly, they stop chirping and Rev. Hess awakes, startled. The crickets motif is used several times in the film to lend an eerie air to the scene, much as the unnatural cawing in The Birds. Anyone who lives in the countryside or has gone camping is familiar with the cricket. They are the "alarms" of the forest - they "hear" vibrations, so when someone...or something...approaches, they go quiet. Their chirping is an "all's well!"; when they go quiet, you know that danger may be near...
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M. Night Shyamalan wrote the script over a period of six months.
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Although M. Night Shyamalan uses the motif of water to convey weakness of a character, and his character tells Rev. Hess that he's planning to go to the lake, because "it is known that they don't like water...", it's also a nod to other films in the sci-fi genre: the classic 1963 "The Day of the Triffids", in which carnivorous aliens feed on humans - and having been hit unsuccessfully with fire, chemical and other weapons - are finally vanquished by the simplest of elements - seawater! And, the more recent 1988 "Alien Nation", in which seawater behaves as an acid on the aliens' flesh and dissolves them, painfully. Or, as some would say, they were "liquidated".
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Director Trademark 

M. Night Shyamalan: [things reflected on television screens]
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M. Night Shyamalan: [Acting in his own film]
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M. Night Shyamalan: [Home Invasion]
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Ninety minutes into the movie, the aliens have only been on-screen for eleven seconds. In total, they're only in the movie for about one and a half minutes.
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The aliens were originally scripted as having feminine builds and movements, thus the movements of tall, thin actresses were used as models for CGI tests, and some shots ("Brazilian Video"). However, it was decided that female bodies did not convey a threatening enough posture for the creatures, and a male CGI stand-in ended up being used in the final scene with Morgan, as well as on the rooftop.
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The script originally called for the aliens to have a camouflaging ability, much like the one used by the Predator in the Predator franchise. However, when M. Night Shyamalan's saw the ILM test shots of the creatures, he decided that it was too effects-heavy.
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DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (M. Night Shyamalan): (car accident): Graham's wife died in a car accident.
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Unbreakable and Signs both directed by M. Night Shyamalan share common themes of someone having a weakness and that weakness being water.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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