Tuesday, June 18, 2024

M. Night Shyamalan and Daughter Ishana Talk ‘Servant’ and Hollywood Nepotism | EUR Exclusive WATCH

M. Night Shyamalan
(l-r) Lauren Ambrose, Rupert Grint, M. Night Shyamalan, and Nell Tiger Free attend the Apple TV+’s “Servant” Season 4 New York Premiere at Walter Reade Theater on January 09, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

*With so many streaming options captivating the eyes and ears of the weary public looking to be entertained away from their daily doldrums, it’s nearly impossible to catch every great show.

Servant on Apple TV is one such show that may have fallen throw the cracks of your viewing schedule. Created by Tony Basgallop, and with M. Night Shyamalan serving as showrunner and co-executive producer, Servant is the story of an affluent Philadelphia whose infant son dies.

This sends Dorothy Turner (played by Laureen Ambrose), into a catatonic state. The solution? Transitory object therapy via a lifelike reborn doll serves to break her catatonic state as she believes the child is real.

Her husband Sean Turner (Toby Kebbell) goes along with the ruse but is slowly growing to resent it.

Enter Leanne Grayson, a mysterious caregiver who seems endowed with supernatural powers that grow with every episode.

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Recently, EURweb was invited down to the Walter Reade Theater in Manhattan to attend the fourth season premiere of Servant. There, Ricardo A Hazell spoke with M. Night Shyamalan and his daughter Ishana Shyamalan, who directed and wrote several episodes of the show.

EURweb: Americans seem to be especially receptive to horror films with religious imagery. Why do you think that is?

M. Night Shyamalan: For me, having gone to Catholic school for years, my parents, our families are very religious Hindus, right? So you get religion in all different forms kind of all around us. And then I started to see it as a storyteller. And then couples well with the characters in supernatural movies or supernatural stories, they have to learn to have faith in something.

So, I think, you know, mixing the two, you know, religious faith, and supernatural faith feels very, very touching for audiences, they can take one and extrapolate to the other. Throughout. It’s all about how to learn, how to believe in things.

EURweb: The subject matter of this series had to be a tough sell, no?

M. Night Shyamalan: I think you’d have to ask Apple about that. But I think, beginning, they were probably really scared that the subject matter was so dark, that we were taking a kind of dark humor tone on it. “They were probably like ‘What is this? How could we ever do a show like this?”

I wondered, again, but they totally went with me on it. You know, they trusted me. But there was definitely nervousness at the beginning. It is about a child that died. But it’s been such a beautiful relationship. And they’ve been so supportive and have gone out of their way to say it’s one of their favorite shows they’ve ever been involved with.

M. Night Shyamalan: For me, our family was super hard on me. I’m harder on them than I would be on the equivalent person and she’s always like, “Wow, you are not being incredibly nice.” Yeah. And I’m always saying if you’re going to do anything in the arts, to be validated, to be famous, for money or material things, forget it. I mean, I’ve said this, forget it.

I don’t want another one of these people on this planet, to forget it. I don’t want it. I don’t want it. We don’t you. Go do another job. That’s literally my speech. And if you’re going to spend your entire life, from when you’re a child, all the way through adulthood, dedicating yourself to a craft at the highest level, one with that kind of sacredness to what you’re doing, and you burn the house down for a creative decision, when we can have a conversation about whether to continue with it.

EURweb: This series is a departure from your normal medium, which is film. Do you plan on doing more series like this?

M. Night Shyamalan: I mean, I hope so. I don’t know if I would do as much as I did on this show because I did a lot. I put every sound effect in, every I was color timing, everything. Every single cue, all that stuff. That’s a lot but I would love to approach this again, maybe helping someone else, you know, supporting someone else. And you know, as a Big Brother.

EURweb: I just spoke with your father about the ongoing discussion about nepotism in Hollywood. What are your thoughts on the matter seeing as though you worked with your dad on this series?

Ishana Shyamalan: I mean, I think you know, with the Indian parentage, there’s definitely a sense of pushing us to be our best and to work hard. And I think, you know, when people make assumptions it just kind of fuels me a bit more to work harder than the person next to me. So, it’s whatever criticism of nepotism I might get, it kind of helped me; fueled me to become an artist.

We share a lot of the same tastes, some of the same old kinds of cinema styles that we watch together and talk about together. But my life experience is very different than his and so there are sort of inevitably different textures compared to the work I do. And then also being a woman where he’s a man, there’s sort of a different way I can present myself, I suppose.

Servant season 4 premieres on Apple TV on Friday, January 13. This will be the final season of a horror series that calls upon all the tropes that have been making us jump at things that go bump in the night.

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