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Jan 18 17 9:13 AM
When James McAvoy signed on to star in M. Night Shyamalan's ambitious
thriller, "Split," there wasn't much time before filming began for the
actor-director duo to work through each of McAvoy's 24 characters that
he plays in the film.
So, what did they do? It being 2017 and all, they used Skype and FaceTime to collaborate when they weren't in the same place.
a little bit behind on the times," McAvoy said with a laugh when I
talked to him about the film. "This is the first time I've
Skype-rehearsed or face-rehearsed ... FaceTimed? So, that was
interesting! It opened up a whole new world of FaceTime to me."
seeing the gripping film, though, it's clear that their approach
worked. McAvoy displays a simultaneously nuanced and overwhelming
performance and credits Shyamalan for helping him deliver it.
"[He's] one of the most meticulous directors I've ever worked with," he said.
audiences might find surprising about "Split" is that there are genuine
moments of comedy sprinkled throughout the film, which excited the more
"I'm always up for putting a laugh in," he explained. "I've been told
many times [when I try to be funny], 'This just isn't appropriate right
VIDEO interview - http://www.aol.com/article/entertainment/2017/01/17/james-mcavoy-split-interview/21657027/
Jan 18 17 9:37 AM
‘No personal questions, please’ is the polite reminder I’m given
before interviewing James McAvoy. As if I needed it. The 37-year-old
X-Men star is notoriously tight-lipped about his private life and, given
it’s been only months since McAvoy split from Anne-Marie Duff, his wife
of ten years (they fell in love while shooting TV’s Shameless), I’m
hardly expecting him to share Instagram snaps of his supposed new
squeeze, American PA Lisa Liberati.
McAvoy, however, confounds expectations by bounding
into this hip Soho hotel room looking unusually relaxed, all open smile
and a friendly handshake. Perhaps he’s riding high on his rave reviews
for Split, a new supernatural thriller from M Night Shyamalan (The Sixth
Sense) in which he plays a man with 23 personalities.
These range from a prissy woman called Patricia (‘I
think of her like a nun gone wrong — it’s a bit kinky’) to a malevolent
nine-year-old boy, adding up to a boggling acting challenge.
‘I just had to take a deep breath and prepare the way
I always do, except I did it multiple times,’ he says of stepping in to
the role(s) when first-choice casting Joaquin Phoenix dropped out. ‘I
got this job late in the day so I only had six weeks to prepare. And I
had other work to do in that six weeks and bring up a kid.’
Say what? For McAvoy to even reference his ‘kid’ is unheard of. The
last time we spoke he refused to even confirm his six-year-old son’s
name (it’s Brendan). Is this the ‘new’ McAvoy I’d read about? Hardly.
‘I saw two US publications with the headline, “McAvoy
Opens Up About Life After Divorce”,’ he says. ‘Inside the article I
actually say: “My life has changed a lot, the only thing that remains
the same is that I still don’t talk about my personal life”! That’s me
opening up, apparently.’
I ask about another McAvoy headline trending. Is it
true he copies Arnold Schwarzenegger by wearing a nappy while
weightlifting (a precaution lest the excess pressure causes, well…)? ‘At
no point did I say that!’ he scoffs. ‘I mean, really! The media just
likes to write that stuff. You could say I’d met aliens if you like.’
Instead we dissect his views on posh actors. Last
month McAvoy declared that despite growing up on a Glasgow council
estate, ‘I made a career out of pretending to be posh English and it
worked for me’.
‘I have nothing against there being a growing proportion of our
industry taken up by people who’ve had a more privileged education than
myself,’ he insists. ‘But it is symptomatic of the fact we are not
educating [all] children in the arts. It doesn’t matter if they become
actors or plumbers or teachers or bankers, they need to have their
horizons expanded. Otherwise they go, ‘This is my world’, and they can
never leave. It is a form of social control.’
All of this is said in a chatty and, for McAvoy,
unusually non-sweary fashion. But if he’s mellowing, there’s still no
chance of him letting his guard down. My final attempt to winkle out
whether he’ll be reunited with Split co-star Anya Taylor-Joy on X-Men
spin-off New Mutants is met with: ‘I am not here to talk about X-Men.’
Then he winks, jumps into his flying saucer and zooms off.* (*Not
‘I had to put on weight for Split but you can’t put on that much
muscle weight in six weeks, so I ate a ton of stuff. I was eating 5,000
or 6,000 calories a day.
‘On top of that I was powerlifting. Lifting heavy
weights is calming, really Zen, because you are operating at the limits
of what you are capable of and can’t do it safely if you are not
‘Halfway through I had to lose a lot of weight, so I
did the exact opposite: boxing, skipping and an amazing thing called the
ketogenic diet, where you eat a lot of meat and fat and veg. Your body
stops burning carbs for energy and starts burning fat so you end up very
Keeping things ‘cleaner’ than May’s Brexit as the troubled neat freak.
The nine-year-old Kanye fan is not as innocent as he may seem.
McAvoy rolls out the posh English accent again as the prim but unstable governess.
Could the philosophy enthusiast be about to take control?
In the therapist’s chair as camp fashion designer Barry — or is it Dennis?
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In his new film, James plays a character with 23 different personalities. For Pants On Fire he just needs one, but he has to lie convincingly!
So what do you think? Did James get knocked out during a game of Tequila Slaps (not recommended!) by an X Men colleague, did he break his hand by punching a metal door on set or was he personally selected to play Charles Xavier by Sir Patrick Stewart?
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