Sarah Paulson on How She Plays the ‘Twist’ in a Scene

“If you’re playing it that you suspect something, then the audience is going to suspect something” – Sarah Paulson

[Please note: This post contains spoilers for the ending of M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass]

By now most filmgoers are familiar with how M. Night Shyamalan frequently includes twists in his films, going back to his 1999 box office blockbuster The Sixth Sense. His latest film, Glass, which serves as a sequel to both 2000’s Unbreakable and 2016’s Split, is no different, and the twist is revealed to Dr. Ellie Staple, a psychiatrist portrayed by Emmy Award-winner Sarah Paulson. In an interview with Decider, Paulson talks about what Shyamalan said to her and how she performed her “twist” scene.

When it comes to being part of one of Shyamalan’s famous twists, Paulson reflects on how to best portray it in a scene. She says, “I think the secret is that if you play absolute conviction—that if whatever is happening in the moment is truly real for you—then you won’t give anything away. If you’re playing it that you suspect something, then the audience is going to suspect something.”

As for what Shyamalan said to her about portraying the scene, Paulson reveals, “The main thing he would say to me for almost every scene was: ‘I want to do one where you don’t seem frustrated, and you only seem compassionate.’ That was his big word with me, ‘Compassion, compassion, compassion.’ Always wanting that to be at the forefront of her behavior, her motivation, and her choices. He believed that [Ellie Staple] truly believed she was trying to do something for a greater good, and that there wasn’t malevolence there.”

More: Sarah Paulson: “I muscled a lot of what I’ve achieved by sheer force of will and relentless determination”

About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...) For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

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