James McAvoy on the Challenge of Playing So Many Characters in ‘Split’

     January 18, 2017


I think we can all agree M. Night Shyamalan made some great movies to start his career and then went through a bit of a rough patch. Thankfully, his newest film, Split, is a return to form and something you want to see as soon as possible so the various twists and turns can’t be spoiled. Trust me…see this soon.

If you’re not familiar with the film, Split puts Shyamalan squarely back in psychological thriller mode. The film stars James McAvoy as Kevin, a man who abducts three teenage girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula) who suddenly realize that Kevin is one of 23 personalities displayed by McAvoy’s character, who suffers from a severe case of Multiple Personality Disorder. But as we learn over the course of the film, there is a 24th identity that threatens to emerge. That identity is “the beast”, and it hungers for the flesh of the clean and the unbroken as “sacred food”. The film also stars Betty Buckley as Kevin’s psychiatrist. For more on Split, you can click here to read Haleigh Foutch’s review.


Image via Universal

At the recent New York City press day I sat down with James McAvoy for a video interview. He talked about how he prepared for the role, how he wasn’t sure they could pull it off when he first read the script, how playing Kevin was like performing on stage, and more. In addition, he called John Wick co-director David Leitch’s new film The Coldest City, a thriller set in the world of MI6 agents in Berlin that stars Charlize Theron, “crazy punkish…out there…crazy.”

Check out what he had to say in the video above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the synopsis and recent Split trailer.

James McAvoy:

  • How I first interviewed him 10 years ago for Starter for 10.
  • The way he landed the role.
  • His reaction to reading the script and how he wasn’t sure they could pull it off. He figured it would either be awesome or a disaster.
  • On how the role was like getting to perform on stage.
  • How he prepared for the role.
  • Calls The Coldest City “crazy punkish…out there…crazy.”

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