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15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About The Sixth Sense

15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About The Sixth Sense

15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About The Sixth Sense
23 January 2015

A slow-burning sleeper hit that left viewers with frosty chills as they departed the cinema some 16 years ago, The Sixth Sense continues to pack a punch even now, when every man and his dog knows that gut-twisting, mind-warping ending.

What every man probably doesn't know, and their dog absolutely won't, unless they're ludicrously smart canines, are these 15 facts about the film. 

(Images: Rex/YouTube)


All of the clothes Malcolm wears during the film are items he wore or touched the evening before his death, which included his overcoat, his blue rowing sweatshirt and the different layers of his suit.


Notice how the the camera zooms slowly towards Malcolm's face after Cole says, "I see dead people" here. The filmmakers initially feared this would be too much of a giveaway as to Malcolm's erm, state, but they decided to leave it in after none of the audiences in the test screenings picked up on it.


A lot of the members of M. Night Shyamalan's family are doctors and the director himself assumed, as a kid, that he would grow up to be a doctor. This is, in part, the reason why he cameos as a doctor, in the movie. The scene was meant to be much longer but he thought he was so terrible in it that he trimmed it right back. 


The voice on the tape recording of Vincent's session is speaking Spanish. The person is saying: "Please, I don't want to die Lord, save me, save me." You can watch the scene here


The film had a budget of approximately $40 million and made a staggering worldwide gross of $672,806,292. In the UK it was given, at first, a limited release at just 9 screens. It rather wisely hit 430 theatres once everyone realised how good it was. 


Liam Aiken (Road To PerditionLemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events) turned down the role of Cole because his mother felt he was too young for a part in such a dark movie that was so death-focussed. 


The movie was inspired by an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? a Canadian horror/fantasy TV show. The episode was called The Tale of the Dream Girl and in it leading characters are ignored by somebody and don't realise that they are dead until the final moment. The whole episode is here


Kyra Collins (creepy girl under bed, green sick, can't miss her) is played by Mischa Barton of The O.C. and Assassination of a High School President fame. 


Michael Cera told Esquire he auditioned for the role of Cole. "I auditioned for The Sixth Sense," he said, "Which I didn't know was about seeing dead people. They didn't mention that. After seeing the movie, and remembering the scene they had me read... It was the scene with the penny. Bruce Willis is saying, "I can't be your doctor anymore," and Haley Joel Osment starts crying and slides the penny over to him. It's a very emotional scene. And I did not do it that way. I did it upbeat. I said "Some magic's real" very optimistically."


Shyamalan cast young Osment (who was nine, but played an 11-year-old) because he was impressed that he was the only kid who wore a tie to his audition, and had stayed up the night before to read the entire script three times. "You read your part three times?" Shyamalan said in surprise. "No." replied Haley, "I read the script three times." 


Willis practiced writing with his right hand (he's actually a southpaw) for a scene in which a close up shows him scribbling away. The reason? He didn't want to reveal that his wedding band was missing (as is worn on the left, traditionally). The wedding band is, of course, a vital part of the climactic ending and is dropped by his wife as she falls asleep, showing it was taken off when he died and presumably given to her. Chronologically it is last seen on Malcolm as he lies bleeding, in this late scene, pictured.


According to M. Night Shyamalan, Donnie Wahlberg lost 43 pounds for the role. He had told the director he would shed some weight, but Shyamalan thought it would be somewhere in the region of five or ten pounds. 


The temperature drops only when a ghost gets upset. The only time Willis gets worked up is at the end, which is why Olivia Williams' breath gets frosty.


After shutting down production of ice hockey movie The Broadway Brawler, by firing the director (he was a producer on the film), Bruce Willis owed Disney two movies. The Sixth Sense was one of them,The Kidwas the other. Brucie was apparently paid $10million for the role of Malcolm, significantly less than he could command. 


Red is intentionally absent from most of the film, but is used in isolated shots for, according to M. Night Shyamalan, "anything in the real world that has been tainted by the other world". Examples include the doorknob on the locked basement door, the balloon and Cole's sweater at the birthday party and the door of the church where Cole seeks sanctuary.