M. Night Shyamalan exploded onto the scene with his debut feature The Sixth Sense and, after a bit of a rough patch, the filmmaker has emerged again as a truly intriguing voice in the modern cinema landscape, with movies like Split and Glass. Now, Shyamalan is making the jump to the world of streaming with his new show, Servant. The trailers have painted this one as classic Shyamalan, with eyebrow-raising imagery and certain twists abound.
The show is led by Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) and Toby Kebbell (Kong: Skull Island), with Nell Tiger Free (Game of Thrones) and Rupert Grint (Servant trailer, the show centers on a Philadelphia couple who are mourning a great loss suffered in an unspeakable tragedy. The event causes a rift in their marriage that opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with both Toby Kebbell and Lauren Ambrose ahead of the show's premiere. Full disclosure, we did experience some technical difficulties during the call which hindered the middle of the interview a bit, but both of them handled it brilliantly and I thank them for it, as it put me on my toes a bit. That having been said, here's our chat.
Shyamalan is behind this, and he's been having a moment. He's been on a bit of a hot streak. So what was it like working with him right now? And I guess specifically, on a TV show as opposed to a movie?
Toby Kebbell: I mean, working with him was fantastic. I think, having had that explosion, that must be bizarre for anybody who's trying to be an artist and tell stories. I think he's grown into himself, and he feels very happy and comfortable now. So it was a wonderful time to work with him at this point.
Lauren Ambrose: I've never worked with him before, but I liked working with him this time. It was great. He's a master of his genre. It was definitely the reason I wanted to be a part of this show. Yeah, we were in good hands.
Did you guys feel that you had a little more freedom than you may have had on a traditional TV show? Creatively speaking, maybe with a little more flexibility.
Toby Kebbell: I think it felt very free when we arrived. Everything felt like Night had what he wanted. He wanted to shoot in sequence, and he had been allowed. He wanted to do certain things and had been allowed to. That gave us a lot of space to be creative.
Lauren Ambrose: I feel like Apple and Night both made room for the creative people to do their work and over the artists to do their work. And so in that sense, it felt like a very luxurious way to make a television show.
Obviously, with Shyamalan, there's always a bit of a mystery element. And the trailers have clearly been hiding some secrets, but without giving too much away, what drew you guys to the project, and what would you say to people about it?
Toby Kebbell: What drew me is it was Apple. It was a new platform. It was Night doing a TV series, which was brand new. Lauren was already cast, so there was a huge draw for me. The script was excellent. I felt very connected to Sean as I read it. It was just a great opportunity.
Lauren Ambrose: Yeah, I've always wanted to be in a thriller, and it seemed like a really great way to be in one with Night at the helm.
Do you guys see an opportunity to continue this at all? Or is it just the kind of thing where it really was just really a one and done?
Lauren Ambrose: I think Night is quite optimistic and has a long vision so maybe we'll get to make more.