Surprisingly common thing 'Split' star James McAvoy recently did for the 'first time'

When James McAvoy signed on to star in M. Night Shyamalan's ambitious thriller, "Split," there wasn't much time before filming began for the actor-director duo to work through each of McAvoy's 24 characters that he plays in the film.

So, what did they do? It being 2017 and all, they used Skype and FaceTime to collaborate when they weren't in the same place.

SEE ALSO: Anya Taylor-Joy reveals why she cried before filming her 'daunting' role in 'Split'

"I'm a little bit behind on the times," McAvoy said with a laugh when I talked to him about the film. "This is the first time I've Skype-rehearsed or face-rehearsed ... FaceTimed? So, that was interesting! It opened up a whole new world of FaceTime to me."

After seeing the gripping film, though, it's clear that their approach worked. McAvoy displays a simultaneously nuanced and overwhelming performance and credits Shyamalan for helping him deliver it.

"[He's] one of the most meticulous directors I've ever worked with," he said.

What audiences might find surprising about "Split" is that there are genuine moments of comedy sprinkled throughout the film, which excited the more drama-inclined McAvoy.

"I'm always up for putting a laugh in," he explained. "I've been told many times [when I try to be funny], 'This just isn't appropriate right now!'"

Watch more of my interview with James McAvoy above. "Split" hits theaters on Friday, Jan. 20.

See recent photos of James McAvoy:

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James McAvoy out and about
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James McAvoy out and about
Actor James Mcavoy attends the presentation of the movie MULTIPLE at the Villamagna hotel in Madrid January 12, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
James McAvoy Anya Taylor-Joy and M. Night Shyamalan attend the 'Multiple' ('Split') movie photocall at Villamagna Hotel in Madrid on Jan 12, 2017 (Photo by Gabriel Maseda/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
James McAvoy during filming of the Graham Norton Show at The London Studios, south London, to be aired on BBC One on New Year's Eve. (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 11: Actor James McAvoy attends a photocall for 'Split' on January 11, 2017 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/WireImage)
MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 11: James McAvoy attends a photocall for 'Split' on January 11, 2017 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vincenzo Lombardo/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 15: (L-R) Betty Buckley, James McAvoy, M. Knight Shyamalan and Anya Taylor-Joy arrive at AFI FEST 2016 Presented By Audi - Screening Of Universal Picture's 'Split' at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Actor James McAvoy attends AFI FEST 2016 Presented By Audi - Screening Of Universal Pictures' 'Split' at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Actor James McAvoy enters 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 25, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: Actor James McAvoy attends Meet the Cast: 'X-Men Apocalypse' at Apple Store Soho on May 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Steven A Henry/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: Actors James McAvoy, Tye Sheridan, Evan Peters, Carolina Bartczak, Rose Byrne, Alexandra Shipp, Lana Condor attends the special screening of 'X-MEN Apocalypse' at Entertainment Weekly on May 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: Actor James McAvoy visits AOL Build to discuss 'X-Men: Apocalypse' at AOL Studios in New York on May 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 09: Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy attend a Global Fan Screening of 'X-Men Apocalypse' at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: Actor James McAvoy is seen on the set of 'Good Morning America' on May 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 9: James McAvoy attends a Global Fan Screening of 'X-Men: Apocalypse' at the BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22: James McAvoy, winner of Best Actor for 'The Ruling Class', poses in front of the Winners Boards at The London Evening Standard Theatre Awards in partnership with The Ivy at The Old Vic Theatre on November 22, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
British actress Anne Marie Duff (L) and her British actor husband James McAvoy pose on the red carpet as they arrive to attend the 61st London Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the Old Vic Theatre in London on November 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - NOVEMBER 14: Actor James McAvoy attends a photo call and press conference to promote the new film 'Victor Frankenstein' at Four Seasons hotel on November 14, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - NOVEMBER 14: Actors James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe attend the 'Victor Frankenstein' Mexico City premiere at Expo Bancomer on November 14, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured (l-r): Andy Cohen and James McAvoy -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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