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M. Night Shyamalan and James McAvoy Talk SPLIT’s Risks and Horror Roots

With terrifying films like ghost-centered The Sixth Sense, the extraterrestrial-laced Signs and kid-friendly yet scaryThe VisitM. Night Shyamalan has made memorable contributions to the horror genre again and again. With his latest, the psychological thriller Split, the risk-taking filmmaker pulled from inspirations old and new to create a central cast studded with horror icons, including The Witchs breakout ingénue  Anya Taylor-Joy and Carrie‘s Betty Buckley, who made her screen debut as the telekinetic teen’s sympathetic gym teacher.

Led by X-Men: ApocalypseJames McAvoy, Split centers on a mysterious man whose inner struggle with Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder) turns external when his alternate personalities conspire to capture a trio of teenage girls for a nefarious purpose. While misfit Casey (Taylor-Joy) and her panicked classmates desperately seek escape before Kevin’s darker impulses can be realized, his concerned therapist Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley) follows a trail of deception and danger.

To dig into all things Split, Nerdist sat down with the film’s writer-director and stars. Of Shyamalan, we asked how he deals with audience expectation and his twisted reputation. Relishing in his brand, McAvoy divulged why he loves taking big risk on project that can be “either really good or either really bad.” Taylor-Joy pondered her emerging Scream Queen rep, and dished on Split‘s creepy location shoots in an abandoned asylum. And Buckley geeked out with us, asking if she’s nerd enough to join club Nerdist. Which, yes. Absolutely. Always. All our welcome. Especially living horror legends.

What has you most intrigued about M. Night Shyamalan’s Split?

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