EXCLUSIVE: GLASS Star Charlayne Woodard Talks The Film's Ending, Her Dynamic With Samuel L. Jackson & More

Ahead of the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray release of M. Night Shyamalan's Glass last week, I was given an exclusive opportunity to sit down with returning star Charlayne Woodard to discuss her role in the film.

With M. Night Shyamalan's Glass arriving on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray last week, I was granted an exclusive opportunity to sit down with returning star Charlayne Woodard to get her thoughts on returning as the mother of the titular character in the long-awaited conclusion to Shyamalan's beloved Eastrail 177 trilogy.


Charlayne Woodard was one of the four principal cast members to return from Unbreakable and was an absolutely delightful conversation as we discussed her return to the franchise after two decades, how she hoped to evolve the mother and son relationship between her and Samuel L. Jackson, her admiration of Sarah Paulson's talent, her thoughts on whether this franchise will continue, her immense fondness of director M. Night Shyamalan, and more. 
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ROHAN PATEL: I remember when Split came out, the studio made a concentrated effort to keep the big Bruce Willis-sized twist under wraps. What was your initial reaction to discovering that Split was secret sequel to Unbreakable and how did you react when you got the call for Glass

CHARLAYNE WOODARD: When I saw Bruce Willis at that counter, I was thrilled. I was just thrilled because I knew now what we were doing. I had no idea what was going to happen, but Night had called me the week before and asked if I wanted to work with him again which is the silliest question in the world. So I said, "What are we doing? What are we doing?," and he said go see Split.

I did so and I'm sitting there wondering, "Hm, I wonder what we're going to be doing," the whole time watching this amazing film and then, I saw Bruce Willis and I knew what was going to happen. I did not get a script for months later, and so, just before we did the table read, it was a total secret. Everything was top secret, so it called for a lot of excitement. 

ROHAN: This film reunites you with Samuel L. Jackson after two decades - how did you want to convey that evolving relationship between the mother-son pair? I mean we didn't get to see the immediate aftermath of him being exposed in Unbreakable, but we do get a chance to see some of it here and while Elijah is now widely known as a mass murderer, he's still her son. 

CHARLAYNE: Oh yeah, even after everything, she's a mother and he's still her son. She's the one that turned him onto comics in the first place, she turned him onto that obsession and now, here she is, sticking with him all these years later, going to see him all the time and hoping that he's going to come out of this stupor that they have him in. She never lost faith that he would come around.

In this script, she's very powerful because she's the support, he's got those three people as support - the son, the best friend, and the mother supporting him and the others - so, her role role is very important to the script and to her son. I felt like this is a part finally that I can't be cut out of this film. *laughs*

ROHAN: The film has arguably one of M. Night Shyamalan's biggest twists as all three leads (Mr. Glass, The Beast, & The Overseer) all end up dying. How did you feel when you first learned about the twist? I mean this is the end of the trilogy, so you're hoping for a happy ending, but then, it just ends in tragic fashion.

CHARLAYNE: Yes, absolutely. Night is always going to do the thing you least expect - to have all those guys die, that was outrageous, but I love a good death scene. *laughs* 

It was a cold day in Pennsylvania and we were shooting outside, with paparazzi sending those drones around to watch and figure out what's going on. It was all top secret, but the ending was very moving I thought. That's another thing his endings do, they always surprise me and they always move me too. 

ROHAN: Yeah, and you, Anya and Spencer all have really nice moments to mourn your loved ones at the end. 

CHARLAYNE: Oh yeah, everybody was there. We were all there as the support team for the death of our people. That's just the brilliance of Night. No one saw that ending coming. 

ROHAN: At the end, Mrs. Price, Casey, and Joseph expose the truth about Ellie and so, where do you see your characters going after this movie? Because based on that ending, there is a possibility that this may not actually be the end and Glass also did really well at the box office, so you never know... 

CHARLAYNE: Oh, I don't know, I don't know what would happen. Seeing them at the end, in that train station, you can only hope that we continue on, but I do like - in the theater, we say that we always stick to three, three times, you can do something three times and that's it. Four times, ehh.

He'd have to come up with a brand new something and I know he will because he did tell me, in the beginning, that he meant for this to be a trilogy. He always meant for this to be a trilogy, so I have a feeling we're going to leave it at that. 

ROHAN: I do like how it ends because it sets up endless possibilities because now the world has been exposed to these super-people and I'd imagine that will result in more surfacing the future. Sarah also does a great job playing her, she stays composed and is very subtle with her actions until the very end when her world falls apart. 

CHARLAYNE: I love that she was exposed because who knew how dangerous the doctor actually was before all of this happened. She's a brilliant actress. I love her. I loved doing a scene with her too. 

ROHAN: That's a great interaction where you tell her how, in these comic book stories, there's always a mastermind pulling the strings and that regardless of what you see, something bigger may be happening. On the rewatch, the scenes intentions do seem to be to suggest that Ellie may be up to something more, but ultimately, your monologue is foreshadowing Mr. Glass' true intentions. 

He was basically on a suicide mission at the end, so what was that experience like for you? How did it feel to say goodbye to these characters that fans have cherished for the past twenty years or so? They've essentially turned into cult heroes.

CHARLAYNE: I know. I know. You know what I do love about doing Glass is that knowing these characters are so important to a generation of people, of filmgoers - I was witness to it, to be a witness to their rise and their fall. I think that's very important, it's very moving. 

ROHAN: I know that some directors like to keep some of the biggest twists close to the chest and will omit scenes from the initial scripts that are given out to the cast. Was that the case with the Glass script? Did Night leave out the ending or were you working with a full script the entire time?

CHARLAYNE: I had a completed script, but I didn't get the script until right before we did the table read.

Months earlier, Night asked me to do it, so the entire summer - he asked me in the spring and just said "What're you doing in the fall?" and I told him I'm free - But, I didn't know what my job would be. I didn't know how old I would be, I didn't know I'd be in prosthetics until the day I went for the makeup, to have those prosthetics made. We knew nothing until we had to know. 

Actually, the day we did the makeup test, was the day before my first day on-set.  

ROHAN: I was talking to Spencer earlier and he mentioned how Night enjoys having a family atmosphere on his films and that he had a lot of the same crew working on Glass that he had on Unbreakable too, so he said the whole film felt like a giant family reunion. Did you feel similarly?

CHARLAYNE: Definitely. It was definitely a family reunion. Absolutely. At the table read, there was much hugging and that was just the table read and then, when we started working, it was unbelievable. 

See this is what I'm saying about Night, he's an amazing leader, an amazing director, and to have kept that crew together all this time, throughout all of those movies, through all of his films, and there we all were again working on this. Sam Jackson is a friend of mine, so I've been seeing him throughout the years, we go to the same church, but to see Spencer all grown-up. I mean Spencer's now the age Night was when we did Unbreakable.  That was awesome. Just awesome.

The whole thing was a wonderful experience, a gift, it was just a gift to be apart of that, the beginning and the end. 
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M. Night Shyamalan brings together the narratives of two of his standout originals—2000’s Unbreakable, from Touchstone, and 2016’s Split, from Universal—in one explosive, all-new comic-book thriller: Glass.

Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.


Glass features:
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass
Bruce Willis as David Dunn
James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde
Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke
Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple
Spencer Treat Clark as Joseph Dunn
Charlayne Woodard as Mrs. Price

Glass is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD!
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