Glass (2019 film)
UK release poster
|Directed by||M. Night Shyamalan|
|Written by||M. Night Shyamalan|
|Music by||West Dylan Thordson|
Glass is a 2019 American superhero thriller film written, produced and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film is a sequel to Shyamalan's previous films Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), cumulatively forming the Eastrail 177 Trilogy. Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard reprise their Unbreakable roles, while James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy return as their Split characters, with Sarah Paulson, Adam David Thompson, and Luke Kirby joining the cast.
While there was interest in creating a sequel to Unbreakable following its release, Touchstone Pictures opted not to finance one at that time despite the film's solid box office performance. Shyamalan set out on writing Split using a character he had written for Unbreakable but pulled from the script due to balance issues. Shyamalan realized the opportunity he had to create a trilogy of works, and adapted the ending of Split to establish the film as within the Unbreakable narrative. This included securing the rights to use Willis' Unbreakable character from Disney, with the promise of including them within the production and distribution of this third film alongside Universal Pictures should it be made. Split was a financial and critical success, and by April 2017, Shyamalan announced that he had started the production process for Glass.
The film is scheduled to be released on January 18, 2019, by Universal Pictures in the United States and by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures under the Buena Vista International label in international territories. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who found it underwhelming and said "the premise overstays its welcome and undermines its main story", although the performances and the entertainment value of the first half were praised.
David Dunn (Bruce Willis) pursues Kevin Wendell Crumb's (James McAvoy) superhuman persona of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters while the shadowy presence of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.
- James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb / The Horde: A former Philadelphia Zoo employee with 23 different personalities whose body chemistry changes with each personality, resulting in a 24th personality known as "The Beast." Aside from The Beast, Kevin's personalities consist of Jade (a teenage girl), Orwell (an introverted man), Barry (the original dominant personality), Patricia (an orderly woman), Hedwig (a nine-year-old boy), Mary Reynolds, Dennis (a perverted man), Norma, B.T, Mr. Pritchard, Jelin, and Samuel. Crumb was previously introduced in Split.
- Bruce Willis as David Dunn / The Overseer: A security guard who possesses superhuman strength, stamina, and invulnerability as well as an extrasensory ability to see the crimes people have committed by touching them. In the film, Dunn goes by a new alias named "The Overseer." Dunn was previously introduced in Unbreakable.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price / Mr. Glass: A highly intelligent mass murderer and comic book theorist with Type I osteogenesis imperfecta who was institutionalized after Dunn discovered the extent of his crimes. Price was previously introduced in Unbreakable.
- Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple: A psychiatrist specializing in delusions of grandeur who treats patients convinced they are superhuman beings.
- Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke: A young girl who was kidnapped by one of Kevin's personalities as a potential sacrifice to "The Beast" and survived.
- Spencer Treat Clark as Joseph Dunn: David's son who has believed in his father's abilities since he was a child and sees him as a real-life superhero.
- Charlayne Woodard as Mrs. Price: Elijah's mother who took great care of her son and always told him he was special no matter what others said.
- Adam David Thompson as Daryl.
- Luke Kirby as Pierce.
After Unbreakable's release in 2000, rumors of possible sequels began circulating in different interviews and in film fansites. In 2000, Bruce Willis was quoted as hoping for an Unbreakable trilogy. In December 2000, director/writer M. Night Shyamalan denied rumors he wrote Unbreakable as the first installment of a trilogy, saying he was not even thinking about it. In August 2001, Shyamalan stated that, because of successful DVD sales, he had approached Touchstone Pictures about an Unbreakable sequel, an idea Shyamalan said the studio originally turned down because of the film's disappointing box office performance. In a September 2008 article, Shyamalan and Samuel L. Jackson said there was some discussion of a sequel when the film was being made, but that it mostly died with the disappointing box office. Jackson said he was still interested in a sequel but Shyamalan was non-committal. In February 2010, Willis said that Shyamalan was "still thinking about doing the fight movie between me and Sam that we were going to do", and stated that as long as Jackson was able to participate he would be "up for it."
Shyamalan continued to work on other films following Unbreakable, and in 2016 he released Split. Split's principal antagonist is Kevin Wendell Crumb, played by James McAvoy, a person suffering from dissociative identity disorder which affects his body chemistry, adapting the mannerisms of each of the separate personas. One of these personalities is "The Beast," which causes Crumb's body to transform into a feral superhuman state, with the desire to consume those that have not had a traumatic situation in their lives – those it does not consider "broken." Crumb had been written in the script for Unbreakable, but Shyamalan felt there were balancing issues with his inclusion, and removed him from the story; Split was effectively rewritten from some of the scenes he had planned for Crumb expanded out into a standalone picture.
The final scene for Split includes the appearance of David Dunn, played by Willis. Shyamalan included Dunn here to connect Split to Unbreakable, with Dunn on learning about the escape of "The Beast," realizing that there are other superhumans in the world, as predicted by Mr. Glass (Jackson). By including this scene, he realized there may be a possibility of completing a trilogy of films. Shyamalan stated "I hope [a third Unbreakable film happens]. The answer is yes. I'm just such a wimp sometimes. I don't know what's going to happen when I go off in my room, a week after this film opens, to write the script. But I'm going to start writing. [I have] a really robust outline, which is pretty intricate. But now the standards for my outlines are higher. I need to know I've won already. I'm almost there but I'm not quite there." Unbreakable had been produced under Touchstone, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, while Split was produced through Universal Pictures. Shyamalan had to get permission from Disney to reuse Dunn. Shyamalan met with Sean Bailey, President of the Walt Disney Studios, about the use of the character; they came to a gentlemen's agreement where Bailey agreed to allow the use of the character in the film without a fee and Shyamalan promised that Disney would be involved in a sequel, if developed.
Split was met with critical and financial success, and in February 2017, Shyamalan affirmed his next film would be the third work in the Eastrail 177 Trilogy. Shyamalan finished the script by April 2017, announcing that it would be called Glass and with a target release date of January 18, 2019. Universal will distribute the film in the United States and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures will distribute the film internationally through its Buena Vista International label.
The cast will include returning actors from both films: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard from Unbreakable and James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy from Split will all reprise their respective roles in Glass. Sarah Paulson has also joined the cast as a new character. In November 2017, Adam David Thompson joined the cast in an undisclosed role.
Principal photography on the film began on October 2, 2017 in Philadelphia, following a week of rehearsals. Shyamalan planned for a 39-day shoot in this period. On October 31, 2017 it was reported that Shyamalan was filming at the Allentown State Hospital for the film and would be filming there for a few weeks. On December 12, Shyamalan revealed that 4 scenes are being planned to be shot in January 2018, stating he'd have to travel for those. On February 16, 2018, a scene was filmed at Bryn Mawr College in the athletic center. On July 12, 2018, the first official photographs from production were released, including shots of Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, and James McAvoy.
On April 25, 2018, the film was featured at CinemaCon, with Shyamalan in attendance. He presented footage from the film, along with the first official image, featuring Willis, Jackson and McAvoy in character. He also expressed his intention with the film saying, "The worlds of Unbreakable and Split finally collide in Glass. What if these real life superheroes and super-villains are somehow locked up together? What could go wrong?" He considered it to be the "first truly grounded comic book movie".
On July 12, 2018, the first official photographs from production were released, including shots of Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, and James McAvoy. On July 20, 2018, the film was promoted at San Diego Comic-Con, with Shyamalan, Willis, Jackson, Taylor-Joy and Paulson attending a panel, where the film's first trailer premiered.
Glass is set to be theatrically released on January 18, 2019 in the United States by Universal Pictures and in international territories by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through the Buena Vista International label. The first screening for Glass occured on January 12, 2019, at 25 Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations.
In the United States and Canada, Glass is projected to make $50–75 million over its four-day MLK Day opening weekend. Internationally the film is expected to gross $45–50 million in its first weekend, for a total of global opening of $105–120 million.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 38% based on 58 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Glass displays a few glimmers of M. Night Shyamalan at his twisty world-building best, but ultimately disappoints as the conclusion to the writer-director's long-gestating trilogy." On Metacritic, which assigns normalized ratings to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 44 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a "C–" and called it the biggest disappointment of Shyamalan's career, writing: "The trouble with Glass isn't that its creator sees his own reflection at every turn, or that he goes so far out of his way to contort the film into a clear parable for the many stages of his turbulent career; the trouble with Glass is that its mildly intriguing meta-textual narrative is so much richer and more compelling than the asinine story that Shyamalan tells on its surface." Owen Gleiberman of Variety said: "It's good to see Shyamalan back (to a degree) in form, to the extent that he's recovered his basic mojo as a yarn spinner. But Glass occupies us without haunting us; it's more busy than it is stirring or exciting. Maybe that's because revisiting this material feels a touch opportunistic, and maybe it's because the deluge of comic-book movies that now threatens to engulf us on a daily basis has leeched what's left of the mystery out of comics."
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