The Split Personality James McAvoy Hated Playing, And Why

Part of what makes a fine actor is the ability to truly disappear into his or her character. Everything from vocal inflection to posture must be considered when creating a fully formed person for film or TV. And then there's James McAvoy in M. Night Shyamalan's thriller Split. Focusing on a man with an extreme case of dissociative identity disorder, McAvoy was tasked with playing a variety of characters within the span of one film. And because he was only provided minimal costume changes, the X-Men actor had to invoke a specific transformation in order to differentiate each of his character Kevin's identities. But which of these personalities was James McAvoy's least favorite to embody in Split?

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with James McAvoy and discuss his performance in the latest M. Night Shyamalan movie. When I asked him about which of Kevin's identities was his least favorite to portray, he gave a quick and definitive answer, saying:

Patricia. Simply because she wore high heels that I was told repeatedly by the women on set were very comfortable high heels. But they gave me nothing but grief.

And sometimes an actor's job comes down to convenience. James McAvoy had to wear some pretty uncomfortable heels while portraying the identity Patricia, which promptly put her on his shit list. That's show business, Patricia.

james mcavoy in split

James McAvoy's performance as Patricia is one of the many highlights in Split. The film as a whole is a wild ride that continually keeps the audience on their toes. And one of the many ways this occurs is through McAvoy's Patricia. As one could tell from the trailers, Patricia stands out among the other personalties for being an older female identity. While this momentarily allows the audience and her captors to feel at peace, one quickly deduces that Miss Patty isn't going to be much of an ally to Anya Taylor-Joy's Casey and company.

But there were some of Kevin's personalities which James McAvoy enjoyed stepping into for Split. In the same interview, he revealed that he loved playing Hedwig, the nine year old which can be seen in the trailers chewing the scenery. McAvoy revealed that the youthful and silly energy was fun to play on camera, as was the inherent darkness within the character.

For James McAvoy's full comments regarding his characters in Split, check out the video below.

Although Split is a fun moviegoing experience as a whole, James McAvoy's performance is certainly the film's strongest aspect. As the runtime goes on, audiences can see the nuanced details within each of Kevin's identities- a testament to the actor who was able to craft and compartmentalize each one.

Split will hit theaters on January 20.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. 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 famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.