Apple TV+ ‘Servant‘ looks to be one of the weirdest, creepiest shows around. Created by Tony Basgallop, and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, the series revolves around a married couple, Dorothy and Sean Turner, played by Lauren Ambrose and Toby Kebbell, who suffer the loss of their infant son, Jericho. When Dorothy can’t cope with the loss, Sean and Dorothy’s brother, Julian Pearce, played by Rupert Grint, come up with the idea of creating a life-like doll of Jericho for Dorothy to care for. But when Dorothy insists on hiring a nanny– Nell Tiger Free as Leanne Grayson– things get even more twisted.
Grint, best known for playing Ron Weasley in the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, described the audition process.
“I was sent one scene, and it was very out of context. I had no idea what was going on. It was two guys having this intense conversation about a doll. There was just something very intriguing about this story. I loved the language, the dialogue was great. And, it was just this incredible surreal, deeply upsetting subject matter.”
One way that people deal with upsetting things is to self medicate. Sean and Julian are frequently seen drinking alcohol, but Grint teased that this idea of false euphoria plays into the story.
“They’re both quite hedonistic, particularly Julian. He’s all about seeking different kinds of pleasure. There’s pot or other substances or there’s always some sort of drink. You question, can we fully trust these people?”
Apparently, even though Basgallop wrote the entire series, there was room for improvisation and adjustments to make the product better.
“We were always reinventing it, thinking about it from a different way. Sometimes Night would have these notes too, but they would sound so obscure. I remember he said, about one of the first scenes I was sent, ‘Make me think about your mum.’ And weirdly that made so much sense, in a way. I can’t actually think what the scene was, but I remember being like, ‘Wow, yeah, that’s really helpful.’ There was a lot of that, we did do a lot of takes, and it really did feel quite theater-like.”
Shyamalan apparently wasn’t 100% sold on the idea of hiring Rupert Grint for such a dark role, but as he described:
“He came in and auditioned, and I just saw a different person. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this kind of reinvention from child actor to adult actor in my life, it’s amazing.”
The first three episodes of ‘Servant’ were released on Apple TV+ on Thanksgiving day. One new episode will be released each Thursday. The first season consists of 11 episodes, and Apple has already renewed ‘Servant’ for a second season.
Source: Entertainment Weekly