Films > Split

[SPOILER THREAD] Split Discussion

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Specter:
This is a thread created for SPOILER discussion. Please only post spoiler material here.

Specter:
http://ew.com/movies/2017/01/20/split-m-night-shyamalan-ending-interview/

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you strike upon the idea to set Split in the same story universe as David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) and Unbreakable?
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN: Oh, it was always there. Always. This character, Kevin from Split, was in the original script of Unbreakable. The original draft of Unbreakable focused on David Dunn and Elijah as his mentor. Elijah tells him, “You’re a comic book character, go try it.” And instead of bumping into the Orange Suit Man, David bumps into one of Kevin’s personalities and goes to save the girls. So you’d have been watching the girls side of it the whole time. That was the outline.

And how much of that screenplay had you written?
A lot. Some of the Kevin Wendell Crumb [James McAvoy’s character in Split] scenes were already completely written, all the way back then. One of the “Patricia” scenes, the Hedwig introduction scene, those were written over 15 years ago. I have them written by hand in my notebooks.

So when you began writing the full script for Split, you knew it was going to reference Unbreakable?
Yes, for sure.

It’s very effective where it comes in the film — all the way at the very end, after just the film’s title has been flashed on the screen. But did you toy with when to do it?
It was always at the end. But there was a question whether it would be one scene from the end, like within the pocket of the movie, and then have James’ scene in the mirror? Or run credits and put it at the end of the end credits? I tried all those variations but this was the best version.

Right, finding a sort of middle ground?
Yeah. The movie’s over, you all know that in the audience, but now I’m playing you Unbreakable music, James Newton Howard’s great score. A third of the audience is like, “Wait, what’s happening?” Their minds are kind of reeling. I screened it in Austin in September at Fantastic Fest and when the woman says the word “wheelchair,” the place freaked out. Some people in the audience were screaming out “Mr. Glass” before Bruce Willis even appeared.

So now hypothetically this seems like a perfect segue into a third film. That elusive Unbreakable sequel.
Yeah. I agree with that.

Will it be?
I hope so. The answer is yes. I’m just such a wimp sometimes. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I go off in my room, a week after this film opens, to write the script. But I’m going to start writing.

Do you have an outline?
Yeah, definitely. A really robust outline, which is pretty intricate. But now the standards for my outlines are higher. I need to know I’ve won already. I’m almost there but I’m not quite there.

What did James McAvoy say when you told him this? And did he knew when he signed on that this was going to be the ending?
Oh yeah, he knew from the beginning. And he was pumped. He was like, “Oh, man, I might get to do another movie with Bruce? My God!” He was excited, but again, this was well over a year ago. Our job was to make Split a great psychological thriller with supernatural overtones. We weren’t worrying about the tag [movie lingo for a short scene at the very end of a film].

Have you been worried about the news of the ending spilling out?
Yeah. Actually, in fact, I didn’t put the ending on when we first test screened the movie. I wouldn’t do it, somewhat out of fear that it would get out. But on top of that, I wanted it to win as its own movie. You like Split as its own movie? Well, guess what? You weren’t even watching what you thought you were.

You must be smiling a bit. This is a redefinition of the twist ending. This is something you’ve never done before.
No, that’s correct. But basically it’s similar to Unbreakable. Can you make an origins story that the audience doesn’t know is an origins story until the last image of the movie. In Split, you really thought you were watching a psychological thriller. And you were. But it’s actually a comic book movie. And when the moment comes, when you’re watching it with an audience, the place just goes insane. It’s pandemonium. It feels great.


http://www.craveonline.com/entertainment/1200605-spoiler-interview-m-night-shyamalan-split-ending

You know, it was always an origin story for me. I just didn’t want you to know it was an origin story. Just slowly build it, mythologically, step-by-step, through the eyes of this girl, and what is the value system of this villain-slash-hero, you know? What is his value system? And then she would ultimately be the representation of his good side, his value system on his good side, which would/should confuse you. But it was always kind of a thriller on his face, but meant to be an origin story.

We look at horror as a literalization of our fears…

Yeah.

…and our anxieties, and one of the things that makes us very uncomfortable – often – is mental illness. A lot of our villains are locked up in Arkham Asylum. Is that a commentary on the way that we treat people with mental illness in the media, or are you more interested in the surface?

Yeah, for me it was kind of doing what Casey [Anya Taylor-Joy’s character] did, which was going through the process of… there’s so much complexity and poignancy and positivity in anyone that’s suffering from these things, that you have to unlock that. For me it starts out like a story that suggests “scary” and then it becomes something, and it becomes she’s having relationships with these different personalities. I’m very moved by, as I think you can tell, that I’m really connected to this group of people that have this disorder and feel an amazing admiration for them.

You feel connected to it. Is one of his personalities… maybe one of the ones that we don’t see… M. Night Shyamalan?

[Laughs.] You know, I came up with the the 23 that you see on the thing [the computer screen] and I wrote out about nine or ten of them that you see in the movie, that you saw last night. Who knows why I picked those names and the interests that came from it, but if I was going to do another story of this, it’s fun to think about. There’s still people to meet.

I can definitely see that. When it comes down to the ending, and we see that this is indeed within the… Shyama-verse?

[Laughs.]

You like that one? You can use that. But was that easy to wrangle? Because Unbreakable was with Buena Vista, Split is not…

Yeah.

Was that a complicated matter?

You know what? Everybody was super gracious, because I think it’s related to just one other entity and myself, and the rights belong between me and them, that it was kind of a simple conversation. They were very gracious.

It’s a simple conversation now but I think a lot of people are going to see that ending and get excited, and want to see Bruce Willis’s character from Unbreakable fight all the villains from the Blumhouse universe or something. Is it just for this film, because it helps contextualize what we just saw, or is this actually you saying you do finally want to do something more, and more overt with Unbreakable after this?

I can’t promise it but that is the intention, that there is one last movie.

Just one last movie?

I think so.

Would that be Dunn vs. The Horde, or…?

[Coyly.] I don’t know… [Laughs.]

Is the implication that Dunn has been fighting other supervillains this entire time, do you think? Or do you think it’s still pretty rare.

I can’t answer that either! [Laughs.]

Erik:
I was sitting in the cinema the day it was released. I had a conveniant day off, so I took a afternoon screening instead of the evening screening. I thought the movie was pretty solid. McAvoy and Taylor-Joy were pretty good, but when the Unbreakable music started to play, I got goosebumps. I told my friend next to me "Bruce Willis is going to be in this diner", and obviously, I was right.

This is the reason why I love M. Night's work. I have enjoyed every single movie that he made the last couple years (although I can't say that The Last Airbender or After Earth are the best movies ever made), but what he did here...? Genious! Can't wait for Dunn vs. The Horde. And you know, I should have known this about halfway through. You know why? Because they called him The Horde.

Specter:
It's great that Night layered in all the necessary clues as to the direction the story was going to go. Subsequent viewing experiences are enhanced by the story continuing to make sense, rather than taking you out of the movie if there is no foreshadowing of events to come.

I'm right there with you, though. I've enjoyed most of Night's films over the last fear years as well.

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