M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller that is on everyone’s lips

M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller that is on everyone’s lips

A heavy rain falls in the middle of Philadelphia. The doorbell rings in a house that combines the Gothic style with the Victorian, and where a high class is allowed to be glimpsed. A shy young woman waits at the door. What happens from then on will be an in crescendo of mystery and tension. so it begins Servant, one of the most engaging series that can be enjoyed right now So what is among the most celebrated on Apple TV +.

The accolades are not an exaggeration. Great references of suspense and terror such as Stephen King O Guillermo del Toro They came out to celebrate the show. “Servant is back on Apple TV +. M. Night Shayamalan, creepy as hell, it creeps up to your nerve endings, need I say more? “wrote the book author as IT O The glow on his personal Twitter account.

Then, why Servant catch everyone? The answer may lie in several aspects. On the one hand, in its history and its narration, which surprises chapter by chapter. There we are introduced to Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean Turner (Toby Kebbell), a couple that hires Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), a young babysitter, to take care of baby Jericho.

But not everything is as normal as it seems. The truth is that little Jericho is a “Reborn” doll, a hyper-realistic silicone baby that Dorothy uses as therapy to overcome the death of her real son, who passed away within days of being born. Although it seems fictitious, this type of treatment to be able to carry the duel exists in real life.

With that premise the plot starts and, as the chapters go by, we will discover a series of events that will disturb the Turners after Leanne’s arrival at the house. In parallel, by means of flashbacks, We will discover the background of the death of Dorothy’s little son.

A second element that works in favor of the series is its format. Half-hour chapters where, although it may not seem like it, each moment is a grain of sand that complements the great plot. Nothing is left to chance.

Servant It already has two seasons and is currently filming the third. The first of 10 chapters is now available to watch in its entirety on Apple TV + while the second, for the moment, only has five episodes enabled – the remaining, up to 10 of the second part, are released every Friday.

Nanny Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) carries her arms to the doll that replaces the dead baby of the Turner family. Photo: Apple TV +

The public celebrates the show, to such an extent that, thanks to word of mouth, the audience numbers on the platform had a marked growth between the first season and the second.

A third point that helps to generate that addiction is based directly on its makers. The series was created and written by Tony Basgallop, who is also an executive producer alongside the renowned filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan –The same from movies like Sixth Sense, The village, The protégé and Fragmented-, and who also takes command of several chapters.

To understand the reasons for success and delve into the development of the plot, Clarín chatted on Zoom with M. Night Shyamalan and with the full cast of the series, of which it is also part Rupert Grint, known for his character as Ron Weasley – Harry Potter’s best friend – in the successful film series. In the series, the British actor plays Julian Pearce, Dorothy’s brother and a staunch ally of his brother-in-law.

M. Night Shyamalan with Rupert Grint in the middle of filming Servant.  Photo: Apple TV +

M. Night Shyamalan with Rupert Grint in the middle of filming Servant. Photo: Apple TV +

-How did it come about Servant?

-M. Night Shyamalan: It was a random idea that occurred to me several years ago. A producer came to Philadelphia and asked to have lunch with me. As I talked to him about my storytelling style, he said maybe he has a show idea for me. He sent us a pilot. It was different from what the show eventually turned out to be, but at the center was the story of a woman who lost her son and then was left with a doll of that boy pretending he was still alive. I was so moved by this concept of not being able to cry. I thought it was super powerful. I was wondering, what if they never leave that house and keep pretending? I really wanted to know where that story was going.

Nell Tiger Free plays Leanne, a babysitter who hides more than one secret.

Nell Tiger Free plays Leanne, a babysitter who hides more than one secret.

-What do you think is the success of the series?

-Rupert Grint: I think the format of a 30 minute suspense series is new. You can see it fast and a lot happens. There are new items all the time and it is a program that you never know where it is going. The first season was a mystery, the second is more of a suspense drama, where more loose ends are tied up, we discover more about the characters, and new questions arise.

-Nell Tiger Free: I agree. The 30 minutes of each episode makes it really addictive. It’s a quick injection of that excitement and that drama; we want to keep people hooked to make each episode more exciting.

-In such an intense show, how is the vibe inside the set? Is there continuous tension or do you allow yourself to laugh?

-Toby Kebbell : There are so many laughs that you would be surprised! It is a subject that we are dealing with because Rupert (Grint) and Nell (Tiger Free) laugh and that is very contagious. We all need that respite. Although they are half-hour episodes full of tension, each one takes about three hours of work and that is intense. So yes, there are moments of laughter but we also need to stay on track.

Lauren Ambrose plays Dorothy Turner, a mother who suffers the death of her newborn son.

Lauren Ambrose plays Dorothy Turner, a mother who suffers the death of her newborn son.

-What are the most complex scenes to shoot?

-Lauren Ambrose: For me, the most challenging are the emotional scenes, they are the most fun part as an actress. It’s cool, we can cry and roll on the floor! But there are a lot of technical and specific things in this narrative and that’s the most challenging part for me, but it’s also fun to learn.

-Toby Kebbell: In my case, in episode 6 and 10, I have two very intense conversations with Lauren. These scenes are challenging, great work because you really get into that mechanism of acting and making the fantasy feel real. They are exhausting and challenging, but the most rewarding.

Servant has already confirmed its third season.  MNShyamalan hopes to make a fourth.  Photo: Apple TV +

Servant has already confirmed its third season. MNShyamalan hopes to make a fourth. Photo: Apple TV +

Pandemic and coronavirus: the challenge when filming Servant

-How was it dealing with the quarantine and filming?

-Nell: It was strange going back to work after this pandemic. The whole world was collapsing around us and suddenly he went back to work. It felt like no time had passed but at the same time like ten years had passed.

-Rupert: For me it was also like that, although between seasons I had a baby, so coming back with a new person made it interesting. It gave me a new perspective on the story and it’s the first show I’ve ever been on as a dad, so it was a whole new dimension. It always takes a while to tune it back in after a break, but this story has a very specific pacing, so we had to find it again.

– Was it difficult to adapt to the new protocols due to COVID?

-M.N. Shyamalan: We were fortunate to be able to film the show with great security protocol, we shot in the safest way possible. In fact, we were one of the first shows to go back on set and everyone was asking us how we did it and how we were so successful. The truth is that the scale and style of the shoot were largely what helped us. We don’t have cars exploding, we just use a secluded location and a small cast, so Servant it looks much more like a play. It was something we could control and contain.

M. Night Shyamalan is not only the executive producer of Servant.  He is also in charge of several episodes of the show.

M. Night Shyamalan is not only the executive producer of Servant. He is also in charge of several episodes of the show.

-Returning to the success of the series, how many seasons do you have planned for Servant ?

-M.N. Shyamalan: Initially I thought of six seasons, neither too long nor too short. That was my initial deal with Apple. But when the pandemic hit, I thought about the whole show and it turned out to be 40 episodes, that is, four seasons of 10 chapters. The story itself told me what I wanted to be. I am completely involved with the program, from the choice of music to that of the other directors; And being so involved for six seasons I don’t know if there is something I could commit to. So I told Apple that if people are still interested in watching, I would like to do this show for four seasons.

Servant: What happens in the second season of the series?

The end of the first season gave some answers to the main riddles of the series, but opened the door to many new ones. If you haven’t finished the first 10 chapters of the series yet, We warn you that there will be some spoilers.

–What can we find in this second season of Servant?

-Rupert: It will feel very different even though it will start a few hours from where the previous season ended. Now Dorothy can see the doll for what it is, a doll and not as a baby. That becomes a whole new problem for Julian and Sean, who try to keep the police out of the house to keep everything a secret. At the same time, in my character’s head there is a cocktail of darkness and she has to face her own beliefs. It’s fun to slowly unravel a character and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed this season.

-Lauren Ambrose: Exactly, my character loses the illusion and now understands that the baby is a doll, so he wants to find the real baby and will not stop for anything until he gets it back. That’s why my character takes a very abrupt and powerful turn, making everything go pretty dark.

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M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller that is on everyone’s lips