James McAvoy Reveals How He Broke His Hand In M. Night Shyamalan’s Split, And Where You Can Spot It In The Movie

James McAvoy in Split
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

M. Night Shyalaman has plenty of iconic movies, but some of this most recent entries filled out his Unbreakable trilogy: namely, Split and the crossover threequel Glass. The latter two movies starred James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb and his various personalities. And the X-Men alum recently revealed how he broke his hand in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split, and where you can spot it in the movie.

James McAvoy had an impressive physical and vocal performance in Split, perfectly pivoting between the various personalities who reside within Kevin Wendell Crumb– including the superpowered entity known only as The Beast. But it turns out that he totally broke his hand while filming the M. Night Shyamalan movie, as he recently shared in a video with GQ:

On Split I broke my hand. I was meant to punch this door. Actually, it wasn’t even on camera. It was before I came on camera. But there was a soft, padded bit of this door, and I took to punching it a few times before I went in the scene. Because I was meant to come in like full of beans and full of adrenaline. And it was metal, the rest of the door was metal. And I missed the part a bit and I broke my hand. I carried on in the scene white as a ghost and kinda in shock.

Ouch. Movie sets can be a notoriously grueling place, and action-heavy projects have been known to cause injuries. Case in point: Letitia Wright’s Black Panther 2 injury that closed the set for a few weeks. Although with the case of James McAvoy in Split, he broke his hand due to a misstep on his own part, while prepping for a scene.

James McAvoy’s comments about Split come from a conversation with GQ about some of his most iconic roles. While giving tidbits about projects like the X-Men franchise, he also addressed his two movies collaborating with M. Night Shyalaman. It turns out that the Sixth Sense filmmaker immediately knew something was off after McAvoy’s injury, as the actor shared:

And Night came up to me after that take and he was like ‘You ok? That scene was weird, that take was weird.’ And I was like ‘Yeah, let’s just go again.’ I don’t think I told him I broke my hand at that point. I didn’t realize I had broken my hand, I don’t think. But it became quite clear within a few hours when my hand was the size of a boxing glove.

Split was a top-secret project, especially regarding its twist ending and connection to Unbreakable. And as such, they probably didn’t have the scheduling freedom to take time off as James McAvoy recovered from his injury. In fact, he revealed one scene in particular when fans might be able to see his swollen hand. As he put it, 

And it’s actually a bit in the film where Dennis puts on his glasses and it’s a profile shot, and you can see my hand is swollen up. I’ve not seen this but I’ve been told by Night that there was people sort of commenting online going ‘Oh this it. He’s turning into The Beast.’ It was just me with my big, gamy, punched up hand.

This tidbit is sure to inspire moviegoers to re-watch Split, and try to find shots where it’s clear that James McAvoy has indeed injured himself. Luckily he was able to heal up before shooting the sequel Glass, which saw him in fight sequences opposite Bruce Willis. In fact, he was totally ripped for the role, in order to bring The Beast to life.

M. Night Shyamalan will return to theaters with Knock at the Cabin. As for James McAvoy, he’s returning in the new season of HBO’s His Dark Materials. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your trips to the theaters in the New Year. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.