James McAvoy: “As an actor you rarely get the chance at this type of performance.”

“Split” is out in theaters.

Film Title: Split

James McAvoy may seem a strange choice to play a character who suffers from multiple personality disorder, but he pulls it off quite well in M. Night Shyamalan‘s supernatural thriller “Split.”Film Title: Split

For the Scottish thespian, who has spent most of his career performing with an American or British accent, the role presented a good opportunity to flex his acting chops.

“It’s quite exciting to radically change what you’re thinking, who you are and what makes you in a moment.” McAvoy shares.

There’s Dennis, the strongest personality, Kevin, Barry, Hedwig, a shy 10 year-old boy with a lisp, Patricia, Jade and several more personalities we don’t get to see in the movie’s 116 minute running time.Film Title: Split

Known for movies “The Last King of Scotland” and “Atonement,” and as Professor Charles Xavier in “X -Men: First Class,” the Golden Globe Award-nominated actor brilliantly adapts to each personality with ease performing between the lines with artistry and expertise.

“I quite enjoy playing each character, because as an actor you rarely get the chance at this type of performance,” adds McAvoy, who was intrigued with the story’s twists and turns.  “It felt like I was being continually confronted with something completely different.  That’s the joy of what Night [director] does so well.  He keeps an audience on their toes trying to figure out what the film is: Are we watching a thriller, a psychological drama, horror, sci-fi or something supernatural?  And this film is all of those genres.”

Each personality behaves and thinks differently and has a different rather complex agenda, making McAvoy’s performance feel authentic.

For the film, which also stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula, director Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable” and “Signs”) again returns to his hometown of Philadelphia. Speaking with psychiatrists in the field to gain practical knowledge of mental disorders, he fleshes out 23 distinctive characters in this engaging drama.

Film Title: Split

“You hope the audience will buy you as one character,” continues McAvoy.  “Then you need them to buy you as this next persona and make that transition interesting without alienating viewers.”

“Split” is out in theaters Friday.

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