M. Night Shyamalan’s Split has been out for a little over a month in the U.S., so odds are if you haven’t seen it yet, you at least know how it ends. And if you do, you probably understand why Samuel L. Jackson’s comments on it are so noteworthy.
If you haven’t seen Split yet and plan to, get on that and come back later. You’ll be curious what Jackson thought of it.
Collider spoke to Jackson at the junket for his new film Kong: Skull Island and asked him what he thought of the ending of Split. Because, well, it means he’s got a new gig coming up.
Quick recap (longer recap here and here): Split ends with the revelation that it takes place in the world of Unbreakable, where Jackson plays Elijah Price—also known as Mr. Glass, a supervillain who is now in prison. The writer and director of both films, M. Night Shyamalan, showed Jackson the movie before release. He loved it, and immediately got excited for the possibilities:
I went to the arranged screening and I called [Shyamalan] immediately and was like, ‘OK dude does this mean what I think it means?’ and he was like, ‘Well first we gotta see how the movie does’. And I think the movie’s done well enough now to merit the ‘OK, let’s put this together.’”
In fact Split is one of the biggest films ever for its production company, Blumhouse, grossing over $115 million domestically on a budget of only $9 million. That means, if and when the sequel happens, it’ll likely be a co-production with Disney, which owns the rights to Unbreakable and generously allowed Shyamalan to use his characters free of charge. According to the Wall Street Journal, the studio didn’t think Split would be a hit—but now that it is, it wants to be involved with the sequel.
As for what that sequel would mean for Jackson’s character, he answers the question in relation to James McAvoy’s character, the Horde, being an adequate foe for Bruce Willis’ character, David Dunn.
I think he’s an adequate foe for what Bruce’s Unbreakable character is in terms of him being sort of unbreakable too in that kind of way, and me having found now—fuck, that would be two people that Elijah would look at and go, ‘Why are they so this and I’m so this on this end of the spectrum?’ It’s just a matter of breaking my ass out of wherever that mental institution was they had me locked up and let’s get it on, let’s see what happens!”
Shyamalan has confirmed that he’s writing the movie now; if and when it’s done, it’ll be his next project.