M. Night Shyamalan is a renowned filmmaker known for his distinctive storytelling style and ability to craft suspenseful and thought-provoking movies. With a career spanning over two decades, Shyamalan has captivated audiences with his unique blend of psychological thrillers and supernatural elements. One of his most intriguing projects is the split personality trilogy, which includes the movies Unbreakable (2000), Split (2016), and Glass (2019).
Through this trilogy, Shyamalan explores the fascinating and unsettling world of individuals with multiple identities, weaving intricate narratives that keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Glass serves as a sequel to both Unbreakable and Split, this thrilling installment features the return of actors Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy, reprising their respective roles. Shyamalan’s initial cut exceeded three hours, but he eventually decided to trim the film by removing three of the personalities of James McAvoy‘s character.
M. Night Shyamalan On Initial Length of Glass Movie
The Sixth Sense maker, reflecting on the editing process, explained that his original script was extensive, almost reaching 150 pages. Consequently, the first cut of the movie clocked in at a staggering 3 hours and 20 minutes. However, Shyamalan recognized the need for conciseness and gradually refined the storyline. The Signs director thus decided that the movie needs to be a little “trimmed“. The acclaimed filmmaker removed three personalities of James McAvoy’s character to achieve the above.
“The script was really long, it was almost 150 pages and the first cut of the movie was 3 hours and 20 minutes, it was really long. Then it started tightening [and] tightening until we got to the 2.08 that you can see.”
Shyamalan shared an example of how certain scenes underwent significant changes to maintain a leaner narrative. The scene featuring Patricia, one of James McAvoy’s multiple personalities, was streamlined to a brief moment where she introduces herself. This allowed the film to maintain its momentum and avoid unnecessary repetition of previous films.
“All she needs to do is, ‘My name is Patricia’ and you’re there. That’s a much longer scene in the screenplay where you’re reliving the humor and the relationship and the connection to the girls and even realizing she has multiple personalities.”
M. Night Shyamalan On Making Glass An Entertaining Movie
Despite being a sequel to the two previous films, M. Night Shyamalan aimed to ensure that Glass would stand on its own for those who hadn’t seen either Unbreakable or Split. The filmmaker approached the production houses with a pitch that emphasized a standalone narrative centered around a hospital treating individuals who believe they possess superhuman abilities.
“I said to [rights owners] Disney and Universal, ‘Pretend there’s no previous movies and I came to you and I said that I want to make a movie about a hospital that treats people who believe they’re superheroes and three of their patients escape. I want to make you that movie, will you make that movie? Oh and by the way, it stars Bruce Willis, Sam Jackson, James McAvoy, and Sarah Paulson. Will you make that movie?’ Yes, you’ll make that movie… Person XYZ who hasn’t seen the other two will come to see that.”
M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass underwent a meticulous editing process, with the director making tough decisions to streamline the film’s runtime and narrative. By tightening the story and avoiding unnecessary repetition, Shyamalan crafted a captivating cinematic experience that retains the intrigue and psychological depth of its predecessors.
Glass is available on Disney +.