Servant may just be the creepiest concoction to ever feature M. Night Shyamalan‘s name, and you know that’s saying something. The new Apple TV+ series is about a young couple (Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell) grieving the loss of their child. In order to help mother Dorothy cope, the two have acquired an incredibly lifelike doll to take the baby’s place, with the effect working so well on Dorothy they’re forced to hire a nanny to help take care of the thing. However, the new nanny (Nell Tiger Free) is quite a mysterious figure, and when she too starts acting like the doll is alive, things start getting really odd.
We were recently invited to the NYC junket for Servant, with many of the main principals in attendance to help walk us through the unnerving world of the new limited series.
Servant is Shyamalan’s second foray into small screen territory, following 2015’s Wayward Pines (which lasted two seasons), and the writer-director’s signature is all over the project. He directed the first episode, which sets the eerie atmosphere for the entirety of the piece, and worked with the showrunner to craft the full narrative. We spoke about his involvement in Servant, whether he thinks he’ll stay in the world of TV, what happened to the Tales from the Crypt series he was once working on, and more.
Toby Kebbell and Lauren Ambrose play a couple who are going through some unthinkable things when we’re introduced to them in Servant. Damaged after losing their son, Ambrose’s Dorothy has escaped into a fantasy where a doll embodies the deceased boy, while Kebbell’s Sean tries his best to maintain the ruse, as well as his patience. It’s a delicate line to walk for both actors, but they’re up for the disturbing task. We spoke about the challenges of playing the Turners, whether they can picture a second season, and more.
In Servant, Nell Tiger Free plays the enigmatic nanny who makes an already weird situation weirder, while Rupert Grint plays Dorothy’s suspicious brother who wants to get to the bottom of what’s going on in the Turner household. We spoke about how many of the show’s secrets they knew going in, how they each handled tackling their respective characters, and more.
Tony Basgallop is the mind behind Servant’s twisted scenario, although in reality the man couldn’t be more normal (or, at least, come off that way). The writer, known recently for working on 24: Live Another Day and 24: Legacy, came up with the story after thinking about his own children, if you can believe that. We spoke more about his inspiration for the series, as well as his collaboration with Shyamalan, Stephen King, and what he has planned for Season Two.