It all started in 2000 with Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Then Split came along in 2017, and James McAvoy blew everyone away with his performance as a man with 24 distinct personalities. And then, in an incredible post-credit sequence, the king of twists delivered the ultimate twist: the two films - despite being 17 years apart - were connected all along.
Now, Shyamalan’s finally brought McAvoy together with Jackson and Willis for one unforgettable supervillain showdown. We were lucky enough to hear all about it at a Q&A with the writer-director. From hardcore Shyama-fans to total newbies, there are plenty of reasons to get extremely pumped about Glass - check them out below.
THE CAST WANTED THIS AS MUCH AS WE DIDSometimes, casting A-listers is a long, difficult process. And sometimes… it isn’t. Shyamalan knew he had his leads in the bag when he pulled up at traffic lights after the release of Split – with its ending revealing that the movie took place in the same universe as Unbreakable – and saw Samuel L Jackson in the car alongside. Jackson promptly wound down his window and shouted, “When are we making that sequel, mother*****r?”
JAMES McAVOY IS EVEN MORE INCREDIBLE THIS TIMEIf you thought McAvoy’s performance was impressive in Split, wait until you see Glass. “We had a hard time shooting because everyone was clapping constantly,” says Shyamalan.
IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH… SARAH PAULSON IS IN IT!As one of the smartest writer-directors in Hollywood, Shyamalan knew his Jackson v McAvoy v Willis smackdown needed an “intense, strong female character" to take on the male leads and keep the movie grounded.
Step forward Sarah Paulson, veteran of TV, Broadway and film, and an actor who could “really challenge these guys. Who could handle them.” With Paulson in the cast, Glass isn’t a film with three exceptional performances. There are four.
SUPERVILLAINS JUST GOT REALShyamalan was making superhero movies before they were cool. Unbreakable was released in 2000, when the film world was very different. It’s hard to imagine it now, but nobody thought a comic book movie would be a success.
In 2019, Glass arrives when superhero movies are firmly established. The difference with these films, though, is that Shyamalan likes to make “contained thrillers”: taut puzzles where clever twists have proper consequences. Glass has a “thriller meets comic book vibe,” as imagination interacts, lethally, with ordinary life. Says the director: “‘What if Marvel was real?’ is the whole premise of the movie… what are we capable of?”
SEE IT EARLY FOR THE FULL GLASS EXPERIENCE
Like Get Out or A Quiet Place, Glass is an experience that demands you see it on a big screen, as part of an audience – especially if Shyamalan has another killer twist up his sleeve. “Half the guys in the cinema were screaming,” says Shyamalan, recalling how the final-scene cameo by Bruce Willis as David Dunn went down at Split’s early screenings. How will fans react to the climax of the Unbreakable/Split series? Be there at Vue to find out…
Glass is out 18 January, find out more here