Franchise Fred approved Glass, M. Night Shyamalan’s long-awaited sequel to Unbreakable, and shorterly awaited follow-up to Split. The thing is, most fans don’t want to talk about Shyamalan’s movies before they see them because we all want to be as surprised as we were the first time we saw The Sixth Sense. So when I had the chance to speak with Sarah Paulson, I promised to wait until Glass came out to present our discussion about specifics.
Paulson plays a new character to the Glass mythology. Dr. Ellie Staple has David Dunn (Bruce Willis) Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) and Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) under treatment in her institution. If you haven’t seen Glass yet, read no further because Paulson told Franchise Fred about the secrets revealed in the movie Glass
Franchise Fred: It took Night 19 years to figure out how to make Split and finish the Unbreakable trilogy. Was Ellie part of his original plan back in 2000?
Sarah Paulson: I think you’d have to ask him that question. I really don’t know. He never let me in on that, if it were always part of the plan or not. I do know that when he was writing the script, he thought the character was going to be a man and changed his mind as he was going. I know that when he met with me, he also met with some unnamed actor. I don’t know who that person is. He met with a guy and then he met with me. That part I do know. In terms of whether he had a master plan back then and he always knew that this was going to be the story, I don’t know.
FF: Were there any significant changes to the script when it was changed to a woman?
Sarah Paulson: I asked him that. We were shooting so long ago at this point now, over a year. My memory is that he said very little to almost nothing. Very few changes and I think maybe almost none.
FF: So by the time you read it, she was Ellie?
Sarah Paulson: Oh, I said yes to doing the movie before I read it so I hadn’t read anything. I never read anything prior to saying yes. I hadn’t even read it when I met with Night. I said yes to doing the movie and I hadn’t even read it. So I never read an iteration of the script before the one that I got that was the shooting script.
FF: Are you throughout the movie debunking Night’s own mythology?
Sarah Paulson: I actually think what I’m doing is I am a part of Night’s own thinking on the subject. I think Night weighs all possibilities in this world and I think every single character in the movie’s point of view represents a piece of Night’s brain and thought on the topic.
FF: Do you ultimately want audiences believing you?
Sarah Paulson: That’s a tough question because I think I am more of a believer than a nonbeliever as a person, in terms of possibilities in something fantastical. I think I am more of a believer than a nonbeliever so Ellie wants audiences to believe her, but Sarah might be split down the middle.
FF: Did talking with Night and doing Glass change your point of view on Unbreakable and Split?
Sarah Paulson: My point of view on Unbreakable and Split remains unwavering. I think they’re incredible movies. Unbreakable is my favorite of Night’s movies and the movie that I saw the most repeatedly in the theater back when it came out. When I knew I was going to do this movie and finally was let in on the plot and how they were all connected, I rewatched the movie several times. It remains and only cemented my real devotion to it.
FF: Did you have lots of conversations with Night about theme and what themes he wanted Glass to express?
Sarah Paulson: It’s very interesting. I think he probably, and I think it’s smart, had different conversations and different types of conversations depending on to whom he’s speaking because I think he’s very careful in calibrating how we’re all approaching this so that everybody has a real firm grip on their particular character’s particular position. So we didn’t have thematic discussions as a group, but I certainly discussed with him in great detail Ellie’s point of view and what motivates her. It absolutely is a nuanced thing and I think the whole movie and the whole concept in general was Night’s way of trying to work something out in his own brain.
FF: Could you share some of your ideas of what’s motivating Ellie?
Sarah Paulson: Listen, I think she has a tremendous need for order as a person, but I think in her view, I think I even have a line where I say to Elijah, “No one should have this much power.” I think in her view, it will disrupt the balance of things if any one particular person deems themselves more powerful or valuable than anyone else. And that it needs to be more of a level playing field. I truly believe she believes that she is doing what is best for them, for their own psychological well being and ultimately for a greater good in the world.
FF: So about that twist, to discuss after Monday with lots of spoiler warnings, but people will want to know how much did Night explain about that shamrock society?
Sarah Paulson: He didn’t have to explain much to me. I got it but we did talk about it. The biggest discussion about it was how big the tattoo should be and which hand it should be on, which wrist it should be on and if he ever wanted to reveal it in a moment before he was revealing it in the way that he reveals it. I have not seen the movie so you would have to tell me. If you went back, when I lift up one of Elijah’s X-rays, do you see it?
FF: I don’t remember because I wasn’t looking for it yet.
Sarah Paulson: Right, exactly. I know we did versions where we could see it and versions where we didn’t while I was lifting up and doing paperwork in my office. I don’t know because I don’t like to watch things that I’m in. I don’t know where he ended up editorially of wanting to have a flash of it so that once you see the movie, if you were to go back and watch the movie, you would notice it in advance or what. So I don’t know but there was a lot of question about where it would be positioned, when we would see it, when my shirt sleeves should be made longer, a lot of discussions in my costume fittings about how everything needed to be so you would never see it unless we wanted you to.
FF: Is there more to that society than is even revealed in Glass?
Sarah Paulson: Well, there’s always more to everything than is ever revealed in Night’s movies. I think it’s really up to the audience to determine what it all means. I kind of love that because it really leans into the idea that every person watching, reading anything, whether you’re reading a wonderful book or watching your favorite television show or anytime you’re watching a movie in a theater or looking at a piece of art, it’s immersive enough that it’s entirely subjective what each thing means. It could be very personal which is why for me Night’s movies are so resonant. It’s that they do feel very personal and it’s a funny thing that a lot of people feel that way and yet it may hit them in deep ways that are very personal to them. I think that’s one of the more powerful things about what he does.