GQ (Australia) - - THESOURCE -

It sounds twisted, but if we had to sum up Split in a sin­gle word it would be ‘fun’. Not the term that springs to mind for M Night Shya­malan’s pre­vi­ous work Signs or The Sixth Sense, but bear with us. Split cen­tres on Kevin (Mcavoy) who suf­fers from dis­so­cia­tive iden­tity dis­or­der and jug­gles 23 per­son­al­i­ties or ‘al­ters’. When he kid­naps three teenagers and hides them in a Fritzl-like bunker, nine of the al­ters – which range from the dark to the down­right sassy – start to re­veal them­selves. Though be­ing a Shya­malan flick, no prizes for guess­ing which kind make up for most of the film. Fun? Well, not only does it look like the (lit­er­ally) mul­ti­fac­eted Mr Mcavoy is hav­ing a seriously good time, but the film proves a wild ride for the au­di­ence, too. “You know what? It was so much fun. Maybe I’m a bit of a show off, I don’t know. I’m a hammy ac­tor,” he laughs in his trade­mark Scot­tish drawl. “Frankly, you just do the job you al­ways do, but nine times over. I had to fig­ure out why every sin­gle char­ac­ter came into ex­is­tence and what their key at­tribute is that made them nec­es­sary. Then I had to build the characters around them.” Quite the head­fuck. A lesser tal­ent might have strug­gled, but Mcavoy car­ries the film on his shoul­ders. Still, actors of his cal­i­bre don’t just rock up, sun­glasses on af­ter a night on the tiles, and stand where they’re told. Even if Mcavoy did prep that way for Filth (he’s a proud Scot, af­ter all). For a film like this, there’s an un­seen grind. “You’re do­ing the job of nine films in the time it takes to make one,” he says. “Ar­tis­ti­cally, it was sat­is­fy­ing, ex­cit­ing. Just try­ing to squeeze it all in, time-wise, was hard. There were a lot of late nights where I had to stay up and do a tonne of work. But it was a plea­sure to do.” Shya­malan ap­proached Mcavoy with the sim­ple of­fer of “a mas­sive thing”, and he jumped. “I started reading and see­ing what it was about the­mat­i­cally. Things that trou­ble us, haunt us, our tragedies, our tor­tures in life,” says the 37-year-old, “they can make us. That’s a re­ally pos­i­tive mes­sage and one that I think is not al­ways true, but it’s cer­tainly true for me in my life.” Kevin’s al­ters make him flux be­tween hero and vil­lain, his phys­i­cal at­tributes change and he be­comes al­most un­recog­nis­able be­tween per­son­al­i­ties. “It’s the crux of any Dis­ney movie and the crux of all su­per­heroes and su­per vil­lains – bad shit hap­pens and you turn into these su­per-hu­man peo­ple be­cause of it. I love that.” Mcavoy pauses, semis­mugly. “On top of that, it was also an op­por­tu­nity for me to do lots of act­ing – and I love act­ing.” Split is in cin­e­mas Jan­uary 19


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