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Interview: Betty Buckley Talks ‘Split’ And The Psychological Preparation For The Role

Acclaimed actress Betty Buckley discusses her role in “Split.”

With the Blu-ray release of “Split” today, we had the chance to speak with one of the film’s stars Betty Buckley. As a long time actress on both the stage and big screen, Betty exudes talent. In M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film “Split,” she plays Dr. Karen Fletcher who is the psychiatrist and metaphorical control of the film. In our discussion we discover more about the extensive preparation for that role.

This is not the first M. Night Shyamalan film for Betty Buckley. You may not recognize her due to her more distinguished look in “Split” but she also made a frightening appearance in “The Happening.” Given that both roles are at opposite ends of the spectrum, Betty gave her perspective on playing a more “sane” role in “Split.”


Betty Buckley in “The Happening”

“I thought it was great. I told [M. Night Shyamalan] that he made real progress. It’s the first time he let the white haired lady have a kind of integrity about her and let her wear nice clothes. I said I know you’ll be making even greater progress when you don’t kill her. (laughter) James (McAvoy) and I really loved teasing [M. Night Shyamalan] while we were working. He’s a really funny guy.”

Preparing to play a psychiatrist and dealing with a patient with Dissociative Identity Disorder takes a lot of preparation. In regards to Betty Buckley’s role, she had a variety of sources to pull from including a brilliant psychologist in New York that advised her prior to filming.

“Well for several weeks before we started rehearsals and the shooting, I worked with a psychologist on the script in New York who’s a brilliant lady. I did FaceTime sessions with her from my place here in Texas and I also met with her when I was in New York and she helped really prepare me. She had some experience with [disassociative identity disorder] patients and helped me understand what the character scene by scene, moment to moment was feeling and how she would behave and manage those feelings while she was working with her patient.”


“I worked with a psychologist on the script in New York who’s a brilliant lady.”

James McAvoy’s character (or characters) are incredibly intense and intimidating. As he fell deep into character,
that intensity could be a bit much for some actors, but not for a seasoned actor like Betty Buckley.

“No, it’s a story and James [McAvoy] is a brilliant actor and it was really fun working with him. He’s really down to earth and a very nice man and very humble and brilliantly talented. Both of us…our work is rooted in the theater and we had a very similar way of working. It’s just about connecting moment to moment.”

Given Betty Buckley‘s long career and theater background, she’s also very musically talented. Her album titled “Story Songs” is currently available for purchase.

“Split” is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital formats as of April 18, 2017. You can read our full review here. For the full interview you can watch the video at the top of the page.

Tell us your thoughts on “Split” and Betty Buckley in the comments section below!

About The Author


Ryan has been fascinated with film and pop culture since childhood. Throughout college he "played it safe" taking the more lucrative route of being a computer programmer while squeezing in film related courses where he could...but even during his post college career, he could never escape his true passion. After following one of his favorite blogs for a long time, he approached the site's Editor about writing and they reluctantly gave him a shot. He later became their Senior Writer which led to a variety of other projects, radio show appearances, features, and high profile celebrity interviews. Despite his success with blogging, he still wanted more so in order to expand his creative addiction, he merged his IT skills and blogging know-how to create which has continued to grow into a creative Mecca of pop-culture fun and integrity.   [email protected]    Film Fad

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