James McAvoy amazes as man with multiple personalities in ‘Split’

Golden Globe Award-nominated actor James McAvoy won over global audiences with his critically acclaimed performances in Atonement, Wanted, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Now, he stars in Universal Pictures’ new suspense thriller Split, an original film that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind.

McAvoy stars as Kevin who has evidenced 23 personalities—each with unique physical attributes—to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), but there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan felt there were only a handful of actors who could play the demanding role of a man with 23 personalities in Split. It was paramount for Shyamalan that Kevin’s personalities not be viewed as caricatures but as fleshed out personas that audiences would embrace with sympathy.

Shyamalan saw McAvoy as absolutely up for the challenge. “This is the most complex character I’ve ever written. I was thinking, ‘Does he understand what I’m asking him to do in this piece?’ And he did; I’ve never worked with an actor so fearless.”

McAvoy was immediately intrigued with the story’s many twists and turns. “I read the first 10 pages and thought, ‘Wow, what is this?’ Then I read the next 10 pages and thought, ‘What is that?’” he says. “It felt like I was being continually confronted with something completely different. That’s the joy of what Night 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.”

Shyamalan and McAvoy worked closely to ensure the actor’s performance remained incredibly singular as he transformed into each role with authenticity. “Night’s demanding and almost forensic in what he wants you to do,” McAvoy says. “He has a very specific idea of what he wants in his mind, yet he’s extremely collaborative and giving.”

Changing colors and characters—sometimes within the same shot—was particularly demanding. “You hope the audience will buy you as one character,” McAvoy explains. “Then you need them to buy you as this next persona and make that transition interesting without alienating viewers.”

Still, the role presented the seasoned stage and screen actor with an extraordinary opportunity. “To be honest, I quite enjoy playing each character, because as an actor you rarely get the chance at this type of performance,” he says. “It’s quite exciting to radically change what you’re thinking, who you are and what makes you in a moment.”

“When you think about what James had to do in this film, it’s astonishing,” raves producer Jason Blum. “Not only was he seemingly effortless as he switching between alters on certain shooting days, he switched between them during certain scenes. You’re seeing an actor at the top of his game, and we were all awe-struck by what he managed to do as an extraordinarily disciplined actor. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I hope his performance receives the critical acclaim it deserves at the hands of Night’s deft direction.”

Opening across the Philippines on January 18, 2017, Split is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

WATCH: James McAvoy is a disturbed man with ‘Split’ personalities in new trailer

Universal Pictures has just revealed the main trailer for its creepy, pyschological thriller Split – the latest film from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan (The Visit).

Check out the new trailer below and watch the film when it opens in Philippines cinemas on January 18, 2017.

Split stars James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future of Past) as Kevin, a man who abducts three teenage girls who suddenly realize that Kevin is one of 23 personalities.

split movie

While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being.

Though Kevin (McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

Split reunites Shyamalan with producer Jason Blum, who produced the filmmaker’s latest commercial and critical success, The Visit.

Split is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

WATCH: M. Night Shyamalan depicts ‘Split’ personality disorder in creepy trailer

Universal Pictures has just revealed the international teaser trailer for the pyschological thriller “Split,” the latest film from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, opening in the Philippines in March 2017. (Watch the trailer below.)

The film stars James McAvoy (“X-Men: First Class,” “X-Men: Days of Future of Past”) as Kevin, a man who abducts three teenage girls who suddenly realize that Kevin is one of 23 personalities.

Synopsis: While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder) have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being.

Though Kevin (McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

“Split” reunites Shyamalan with producer Jason Blum, who produced the filmmaker’s latest commercial and critical success, “The Visit.”

Opening across the Philippines in March 2017, “Split” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

WATCH: First trailer of ‘X-Men Apocalypse’

Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” director Bryan Singer returns with “X-Men: Apocallypse.” Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

“X-Men: Apocalypse” stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Josh Helman, Lana Condor, Ben Hardy.

“X-Men: Apocalypse” opens in Philippine cinemas May 18, 2016 from 20th Century Fox and to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Daniel Radcliffe gives new twist to hunchback in ‘Victor Frankenstein’

The boy who lived, Daniel Radcliffe, who is best known for his recurring successful titular role in the highly-successful “Harry Potter” movies brings the audience for another thrilling ride in his latest adult role as the hunchback Igor in “Victor Frankenstein.”

In the movie, Radcliffe is the hunchback Igor, who lived despite the terrible treatment he’s had from the circus handlers he’s worked for and even defied death upon meeting a brilliant yet sociopath scientist “Victor Frankenstein” (James McAvoy taking on the titular role). As The Hunchback, a lowly circus clown and dogsbody in the early part of the film, who, when he meets scientist Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) is transformed into Igor after Frankenstein performs a simple procedure to cure his disfigurement. Igor had spent his entire life in the circus, working as a clown. Although he’s much maligned and even abused by the owner and his fellow performers, Igor has become a gifted surgeon, healing injured performers and animals.

“Victor Frankenstein is regarded as a literary gem and it has a long cinematic tradition too stretching back almost 100 years. Both the book and previous films have, at least in part, inspired the new Victor Frankenstein,” says Radcliffe.

Director Paul McGuigan was especially drawn to screenwriter Max Landis’ decision to tell the story through Igor’s eyes. That notion points to a key misperception about the character and his role in Frankenstein lore. Igor was not a character in Mary Shelley’s book, nor did he appear in most of the subsequent film interpretations. Actor Dwight Frye’s hunchbacked lab assistant in James Whale’s “Frankenstein” (1931) is the main source for the “Igor” of public imagination, though the character he played was actually named Fritz. Most moviegoers know the character through Marty Feldman’s performance in Mel Brooks’ beloved comedy “Young Frankenstein,” though Feldman’s character insists on being called “Eye-gore.”

Victor’s friendship with Igor is one of equals. Igor’s knowledge of anatomy instantly impresses the scientist, who takes Igor under his wing. Even as Igor is in many ways Victor’s first creation, Victor learns much from his friend and assistant. Notes Radcliffe: “Igor has a very rich, intellectual life and, if he’s not the academic equal of Victor, he’s certainly a partner in terms of what they’re creating.”

“Victor lifts Igor out of those horrible conditions, which sets up an interesting dynamic in their relationship,” says Radcliffe. “He has created a new life for Igor. As Igor and Victor embark on this journey together, Victor starts losing his mind, and Igor tries to pull him back from the edge of insanity. But how do you stand up to somebody after they’ve given you everything? So, there’s an imbalance and tension in their relationship that is fascinating to me.”

It’s an action adventure “thrill ride,” says the actor but it also has themes that will resonate with a contemporary audience. Victor Frankenstein, aided by Igor, sets out to create life itself – to play God – and in the process brings a monster into the world.

Like Victor, Igor is a man of action. “Igor is quite well matched with Victor, in terms of physicality,” says Radcliffe. That translated into a lot of what Radcliffe calls “chucking each other around,” including the aforementioned and vigorous hunchback-removing procedure.

Victor Frankenstein opens November 25, 2015 in cinemas nationwide as released by 20th Century Fox and to be distributed by Warner Bros.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX

James McAvoy cheats death, tests destiny in ‘Victor Frankenstein’

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in Victor Frankenstein, a dynamic and thrilling twist on a legendary tale. Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman (Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.

The production made creative use of the storms for one of the film’s iconic scenes, the creation of the monster, and for its most impressive set: the interior of the castle and laboratory, where Victor brings his “experiment” to life.

While inspired by Mary Shelley’s classic novel and the countless interpretations of that story, screenwriter Max Landis’ “regeneration” focuses on Victor and his best friend and assistant Igor. In fact, it’s the first story to be told largely from Igor’s perspective.

Fun and dangerous, yes, but he’s also, brilliant, obsessed – and a sociopath. As Victor walks a fine light between lightness and darkness, and between life and death, only Igor can keep him from a descent into madness from which there’ll be no return. “Victor Frankenstein” is also, notes James McAvoy, a love letter to the myriad films featuring those characters and themes. “This film has many of the familiar elements you expect to see in a Frankenstein movie, but adds unexpected dimensions of character, relationships and entertainment.”

“Victor and Igor are at the forefront of scientific and medical research,” notes McAvoy. “But just because they can cheat death, should they do it? “I think Victor’s intentions are good,” he continues. “He’s looking to improve the human condition, which is very fragile. Victor is trying to make it more robust and, ideally, eliminate death, which has been a human obsession for ages.”

To McAvoy, a character with such world-changing ambitions would not be a lab rat holding course at a chalkboard. He’d be nothing less than a force of nature. “Victor just doesn’t stop moving. He’s a creator of machines, as well as of a man, plus a skilled engineer and an accomplished surgeon.”

“Every time Daniel and I had a scene together, we’d ask each other, ‘How physical and dangerous-looking can we make this? Come on, man!,’” says McAvoy. “We are similar in energy levels and physical ability, so we just kind of went at each other, 12 hours each day. Adds Radcliffe: “James is a bold actor and really hits the ground running in an exciting way. That enabled us to make some interesting choices together.”

McAvoy relates that, “Whenever somebody asked me what I was doing at the moment (during production of “Victor Frankenstein”), I would say, I’m playing Frankenstein, and they’d reply, ‘You’re a little short to be playing the monster.’ And I’d correct them and say, ‘No, no, it’s the doctor.’ So, yeah, we’re giving the name back to Dr. Vic.”

A pivotal moment for both Victor and Igor is an early scene where Victor straightens Igor’s hunchback, which McGuigan says is “a metaphor for the entire movie.” Having rescued Igor from a London circus, Victor takes him to his flat and within minutes throws Igor against the wall and produces a massive syringe with which he performs a lightning-fast medical procedure on his new “patient.” Moments later, Igor’s hunchback is corrected. “If you think you knew Victor, the first few minutes of the film will prove you don’t,” says McGuigan. “He’s dangerous and fun to watch.”

Victor Frankenstein arrives in theatres this November 25, 2015 as released by 20th Century Fox and to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy team up in ‘Victor Frankenstein’

Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy star in Victor Frankenstein, a dynamic and thrilling twist on a legendary tale. Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman (Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.

“Victor Frankenstein” is a “Frankenstein” movie unlike any other. While inspired by Mary Shelley’s classic novel and the countless interpretations of that story, screenwriter Max Landis’ “regeneration” focuses on the relationship between Victor and his best friend and assistant Igor. In fact, it’s the first story to be told largely from Igor’s perspective. “It’s a love story between these two mean, really,” notes director Paul McGuigan. “Victor and Igor need each other; in fact, Victor needs Igor probably more than Igor needs Victor in his life.”

Moreover, the film, though set in 1860, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, has a contemporary sensibility. “I don’t think of it as a period film,” says Daniel Radcliffe, “but as being completely modern. Victor and Igor have cutting-edge ideas; they’re the tip of the spear. They view science as being more than just observational. They believe it could be creative and re-shape the world.

“I like the film’s irreverent tone and how it avoids being Victorian and ‘buttoned-up,’” Radcliffe continues. “Victor and Igor are forward thinking.” Adds McGuigan: “These two young men are changing the world.”

“Victor Frankenstein” is also, notes James McAvoy, a love letter to the myriad films featuring those characters and themes. “This film has many of the familiar elements you expect to see in a Frankenstein movie, but adds unexpected dimensions of character, relationships and entertainment.”

“Max Landis has done nothing less than capture the zeitgeist of all the Frankenstein movies he’s watched,” says McGuigan. “He’s cherry-picked ideas and created his own ‘monster,’ so to speak.”

McGuigan was especially drawn to Landis’ decision to tell the story through Igor’s eyes. That notion points to a key misperception about the character and his role in Frankenstein lore. Igor was not a character in Mary Shelley’s book, nor did he appear in most of the subsequent film interpretations. Actor Dwight Frye’s hunchbacked lab assistant in James Whale’s “Frankenstein” (1931) is the main source for the “Igor” of public imagination, though the character he played was actually named Fritz. Most moviegoers know the character through Marty Feldman’s performance in Mel Brooks’ beloved comedy “Young Frankenstein,” though Feldman’s character insists on being called “Eye-gore.”

A different kind of moniker mix-up accompanies Victor himself. Many people attribute that name to the monster, instead of its creator – the good doctor. “So we give the name ‘Frankenstein’ back to the scientist – to Victor Frankenstein,” says McGuigan.

McAvoy relates that, “Whenever somebody asked me what I was doing at the moment (during production of Victor Frankenstein), I would say, I’m playing Frankenstein, and they’d reply, ‘You’re a little short to be playing the monster.’ And I’d correct them and say, ‘No, no, it’s the doctor.’ So, yeah, we’re giving the name back to Dr. Vic.”

Victor Frankenstein opens November 25, 2015 in cinemas nationwide as released by 20th Century Fox and to be distributed by Warner Bros.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX