Exclusive: Jessica Sula Dishes on Working with James McAvoy in ‘Split’ & Reveals 5 Fun Facts


If by some crazy chance you were one of the few people who didn’t see Split in theaters, today is your lucky day!

The psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessica Sula & Haley Lu Richardson hits Blu-Ray and DVD today and it’s one you’ll definitely want to add to your collection. The bonus features include not only a making of featurette and deleted scenes, but also an alternate ending!

Split delves into the mysterious depths of one man’s fractured mind as a terror unlike the world has seen prepares to be unleashed and it is definitely a fun yet intense ride.

One of the film’s stars, Jessica Sula first caught our eye in the TV series “Skins” in the UK and she later headlined the Freeform show “Recovery Road.” Next up she stars opposite Debra Winger in The Lovers. We had the chance to chat with Jessica, who plays Marcia in Split, about getting into character, reuniting with Haley Lu Richardson and much more.

Shine On Media: What was your audition process like?
Jessica Sula: I did a taping on my iPhone with my friend really late in the night. I was like I have to do this taping, I’ll just do it another time and she was like no do it now. I thought we’ll just send it in then I got a call two days later saying they wanted me to go to casting and do another taping. It was like two auditions then I found out. I was so happy I was with my friend. It was a fairly quick audition process and we didn’t get to a script until we signed our contract.

SO-M: What did you audition with?
JS: It was pretty cryptic. They gave us something and it was enough to play the circumstances, but not where you knew anything at all. We got a scene from the movie but it [doesn’t give you much].

What was your first reaction reading the script?
JS: Oh geeze, I’m going to have a thriller, death. I had never read anything like that before. I finished the script relatively quickly, it was very readable. I think I just didn’t really know…how are we going to do this? And thinking of James and all that stuff.

SO-M: You previously worked with Haley Lu Richardson on your Freeform show “Recovery Road.” Did that help establish chemistry?
JS: It really helped because you don’t have to try to be friends, there’s a foundation there. After reading the script, it’s like we’re going to be dealing such emotional circumstances, it’s going to be a lot of energy going into this. It’s pretty nerve wracking and you know it’s going to be a challenge, however, knowing that Haley was going to be there was very comforting. Once all three of us were there, we were going through it together. Once it was all three of us in the room, we tried to have a laugh in between takes because you’re in a confined space, it can get a bit overwhelming. You have to try and make it not that.

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SO-M: What was it like working with James?
JS: James has always been an actor I really like to watch so I was very excited, but more importantly he’s a really lovely person. Lovely to be around. He made being on set, being in your head and thinking about how I’m this young girl who is afraid to die all the time, he made me having to deal with all his personalities and watching him was fascinating and amazing and a reason why you want to be an actor. You get to see a masterclass in it and in between James is so funny and down to earth and we had a really good laugh which is important. Working with him made everything better.

SO-M: Was there a personality you wish you could have interacted with more?
JS: Barry because he’s really into fashion. He seems really nice.

SO-M: What was the biggest challenge?
JS:I’d really have to say everything. Being a believable, frightened person in the circumstances you’ve seen on the news. Night is very specific. He has what he wants all mapped out in his mind so trying to give him all that you can every day in a confined space, either your emotional state is heightened or it constantly fluctuates. I slept a lot when we wrapped, it was just the energy being in that headspace every single day for a while.

5 Fun Facts:
SO-M: Was there any movie or project you saw that made you want to be an actor?
JS:A lot of film noir. When I was younger I was obsessed with reading a lot of biographies of classic movie stars like Lauren Bacall. When I got older I just got into different actresses like Parker Posey and Charlotte Rampling. Although, when I did see Blade Runner I really wanted to be Rachael.

SO-M: Who is one actor you’d still love to work with?
JS:I haven’t really thought about that. I’d love to work with James [McAvoy] again maybe in a different set and see what that would be like.

SO-M: What’s one role you wish you could have played?
JS:Anything Charlotte Rampling played.

SO-M: If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing?
JS:I really like preserving and museums and artifacts and stuff like that. I wouldn’t mind doing a little of library science.

SO-M: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
JS:To just let go of fear. It’s very hard but I keep on getting told to do that and I’m trying. It’s liberating when you realize there’s nothing really to be afraid of but then you get caught up in your head again. Just to let go of fear.

Split is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD & Digital HD.