M. Night Shyamalan on the burden of twist expectations and his 'Servant' cameo (exclusive)
M. Night Shyamalan says he doesn’t feel burdened by the fact viewers expect a twist in his stories.
The director behind Glass and The Sixth Sense is currently promoting the Apple TV+ series Servant, on which he is credited as an executive producer, as well as helming some of the episodes.
The series, created by British writer Tony Basgallop, follows a couple who hire a nanny (Nell Tiger Free) to care for the “reborn doll” that Sean (Toby Kebbell) has purchased to help minimise his wife Dorothy’s (Lauren Ambrose) sadness after the loss of their child.
All is not as it seems and, by the end of the first episode, the story has shifted completely on its axis.
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Shyamalan has become known as a maestro of the ludicrous plot twist, but he says that reputation doesn’t bother him.
“I don't [feel burdened],” he tells Yahoo Movies UK, “because of the nature of the stories I tell.
“They're thrillers. They're essentially mysteries, so the mystery inevitably has a conclusion, or a moment where people get information.
“I guess you'd ask the same question to a comedian, right? 'Is it a burden making people laugh?' or in a drama: 'Is it a burden making people cry?'.
“I enjoy the format of being in a character that doesn't understand what's happening and needs to figure out what's happening.”
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Shyamalan has revealed that he and Basgallop have mapped out the story of Servant over the course of 60 half-hour episodes, which would require six seasons of the show.
Apple confirmed the show would return for its second season before the first episode debuted on the streaming platform.
The rest of the show’s cast includes Harry Potter star Rupert Grint and Tony Revolori, who appears in the latest run of Spider-Man films as Peter Parker’s classmate Flash.
Shyamalan himself also pops up in the first episode, making a small cameo as a delivery van driver.
The director says it’s a “fun challenge” to decide when he will pop up in his movies and TV shows.
He says: “I have to choose very carefully where I'm in something, so I don't pull everyone out of the movie or the story.
“At times, I try to do something funny so that people can laugh. I enjoy being in the movies. It makes it more personal for me.”
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Servant is one of the original series being used to launch Apple TV+, alongside Jason Momoa-starring See and The Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, which has received mixed reviews.
Servant is now available exclusively on Apple TV+ with new episodes every Friday.