M. Night Shyamalan’s name doesn’t hold the cultural cachet it once did, and indeed his last two movies (“After Earth” and “The Visit”) were barely advertised as such. That isn’t the case for “Split,” a thriller arriving early next year starring James McAvoy as a man with 23 discrete personalities — and three teenage girls held captive in his basement. Watch the film’s first trailer below.
Anya Taylor-Joy of “The Witch” is the trio’s de facto leader, but “Split” looks to primarily be a showcase for McAvoy as he plays several different roles in one: some young, some female, all unstable. (The part was originally intended for Joaquin Phoenix, who starred in Shyamalan’s “Signs” and “The Village.”) Betty Buckley, Jessica Sula, Haley Lu Richardson and Sterling K. Brown co-star.
After a string of disappointments — “The Happening,” “The Last Airbender,” “After Earth” — Shyamalan had a modest hit in last year’s “The Visit,” which was comparatively well received and made nearly $100 million against a $5 million budget. “Split,” which appears to be similarly barebones and straightforward, will be released on January 20, 2017.