Servant carries its storyline full of faith and doubt into Apple TV+ on November 28, and the trailers already suggest that it will be full of classic M. Night Shyamalan twists. The story revolves around a successful couple who welcome nanny Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) into their home to take care of their baby – only it’s a reborn doll meant to alleviate grief. When the doll is replaced with a real baby, family members are understandably wary, especially brother-in-law Julian (Rupert Grint).
Free and Grint shared details with Screen Rant about their antagonistic dynamic throughout the season, as well as why they each think they know what’s best for the Turners.
One thing that I think is important in Servant is the fragmented narrative. We don't know anything, and we don't know what you guys know. What is that like for you as performers?
Rupert Grint: It's mysterious. But, I think, one of the luxuries of filming this show is we could film it in order. So, we kind of had quite a clear idea of where it was going a little bit. But it was all kind of shrouded in mystery. We only had eight episodes, so we didn't know the full arc. It was a lot of questions.
Nell Tiger Free: A lot of questions, yeah.
Speaking of questions, Leanne is obviously very mysterious, but she both seems to like needs the Turners and yet resent them. She also has diametrically opposing views of each of them. What is that like for you and how do you interpret her feelings for them?
Nell Tiger Free: That's a great question. I think that she's always battling with this conflict of where she was brought up and who she was raised to be, and then who she sort of wants to be.
I think she really looks up to Dorothy and completely idolizes her, and a big part of her wishes that she could maybe just step into her shoes and live this life for a minute. Because she never had pretty things and never felt pretty and never felt important, and Dorothy embodies all of those things. She's confident and important and outspoken. And I think that Leanne wants to be like her, but also doesn't quite understand her.
Rupert, I found it interesting that even though you're Dorothy's brother, you spend most your time in the first half with Sean. Can you talk about that dynamic and the secret that you share?
Rupert Grint: Yeah, I think Julian kind of lives in kind of two worlds. [One is] the world of the lie; the kind of enabling with Dorothy, which comes out of love and care. But yeah, mainly he's Sean's only confident in this kind of doll therapy.
Obviously, when the situation kind of gets darker, Julian's one of these people that thinks he can kind of solve everything. He always thinks he’s one step ahead. And it's only really in our interactions [with Leanne] that none of those mechanisms that he's developed, being in the financial district and stuff, really work with her. So, it's a lot of interesting different dynamics.
You two have kind of a cat and mouse game going on during the season, with what you want to protect and the intruder that you see her as. How far, in vague terms, will we see that going by the end of the season?
Nell Tiger Free: It reaches boiling point, really.
Rupert Grint: It does, yeah. Things happen. There’s a constant kind of… Julian can’t work her out, and he’s quite scared.
Nell Tiger Free: They’re so different, but they both want the same thing. They both want things to be good for Dorothy, and he can't see that she's here to help, really. I think they butt heads.
So, you would say that you are here to help?
Nell Tiger Free: Yes.
Servant streams on Apple TV+ November 28, 2019.