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Mark Wahlberg is set to star in M. Night Shyamalan’s paranoid apocalyptic thriller The Happening.

The Happening follows a family who must survive a natural global environmental crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity. Mother Nature is sick of our polluting ways and has decided that we must go. An invisible neurotoxin is admitted into the air which causes people to become suicidal. Wahlberg will play a father of the family on the run.

Sounds rather interesting, yet familiar as there are a lot of apocalyptic films set for release. When we asked Cell director Eli Roth about the similarities between his upcoming Stephen King adaptation and Night’s The Happening, this is what he said:

There are a few. I’ve heard about M Night’s movie. I’ve heard about The Signal. You know, I’m not really concerned about those films. And from what I’ve heard about M Nights, although I have not read it, but I heard it was different enough. But I think end of the world, apocalypse is on everyone’s mind these days unfortunately. I feel it comes in waves. Remember 1984, the day after came out and the nuclear war. I think we’re kind of in this apocalyptic phase in culture right now.

Roth has a point. And as far as I can tell (I’ve seen The Signal, am reading Cell, and have read the plot description of The Happening) all three films are very different, or at least different enough.

Shyamalan’s first R-rated effort will have a $57 million budget, and stars shooting August 2007 in Philadelphia. Twentieth Century Fox plans to release the film worldwide on Friday, June 13th 2008.

Darren Aronofsky’s The Fighter, which also stars Wahlberg, will most likely be pushed back to an early 2008 shoot.

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