He Was 'Night' In Front Of Your Eyes: Did You Spot M. Night Shyamalan's 'Split' Cameo?
When you have finished picking your jaw up off the floor following that shock ending from Split, let's look back at what great Easter Eggs you might have missed.
When you have finished picking your jaw up off the floor following that shock ending from Split, let's look back at what great Easter Eggs you might have missed. Critics certainly aren't "split" on their opinion of the film, calling it Shyamalan's greatest work in years and a return to form for the 46-year-old director, but did you spot the man himself in there too? What elevates #Split from your standard abduction #horror is its shocking, and frankly amazing, ending, including that cameo from Bruce Willis. Willis returns to his role as David Dunn from 2000's #Unbreakable, setting up not only a sequel, but a whole Shyamanlaniverse of films. I wish I could say that #MNightShyamalan's cameo does the same, but it isn't quite as memorable.
Playing Hide and Seek
In typical Shyamalan style, Willis wasn't the only one to pop in a sneaky Split cameo. We may have been distracted by Bruce's shining bald head on our screens, but Shyamalan himself stars in Split as helpful computer whizz Jai. For those who can't remember, Jai appears at the film's halfway point when Betty Buckley's Dr. Fletcher asks him for help locating security footage. With grisly consequences, Jai seemed rightly concerned for Dr. Fletcher's plan to take on her patient Kevin single-handedly.
While Jai had a tiny part, it isn't the first (or probably last) time that Shyamalan has had a cameo in one of his films, starting as Dev Raman in 1992's Praying With Anger and taking small roles in The Sixth Sense and Signs. They may only be small parts, such as "Guard at Desk" in 2004's The Village, but spotting Shyamalan is like finding Tarantino hiding in his films; in fact, out of Shyamalan's 14 films, he has only not appeared in five of them.
The Unbreakable Mr. Shyamalan
One of his most notable cameos was alongside Willis in Unbreakable as "Stadium Drug Dealer." With Unbreakable and Split clearly linked, Empire asked Shyamalan if Jai and "Stadium Drug Dealer" could be the same man, prompting this typically Shyamalan response:
"It’s possible. Our joke on set was that Stadium Drug Dealer had turned his life around."
Perhaps there is a bigger part for Jai/Stadium Drug Dealer in the inevitable Split sequel/Unbreakable 2, or maybe he will play another generic man in a thankless job. Shyamalan has been coy on the status of a sequel to Unbreakable, but says that the script is pretty much written for a sequel, which would almost certainly bring back Willis as Dunn, James McAvoy as Kevin, and hopefully Samuel L. Jackson as the brittle boned Mr. Glass. Maybe Shyamalan can also give himself a better name than IMDb's official "Jai, Hooters Lover."