Director Francesca Gregorini has sued Apple and M. Night Shyamalan for allegedly copying the plot of her 2013 movie The Truth About Emanuel in the new thriller series Servant. The streaming show apparently has “strikingly similar” plot elements, including an “almost irrational reciprocal devotion” between a mother and her nanny following the loss of a child, with that same mother funneling her energy into a doll.
Gregorini goes on to claim that Shyamalan just took her premise and put it through the “male lens,” with men looking down on a woman’s mental health issues and discussing the sex appeal of the nanny. According to the lawsuit, Shyamalan, series creator Tony Basgallop and Apple ‘negated’ the experiences of Gregorini and other women involved in Emanuel (which had its roots in Gregorini’s life story).
So far Apple has not commented on the case.
Who knows if the lawsuit will succeed. However, these kinds of disputes aren’t new. Shyamalan has dealt with them before. At one point, Simon & Schuster had concerns about his movie The Village after noticing similarities to Margaret Peterson Haddix’s book Running Out of Time, though it never led to legal action. Gregorini will likely have to show that the plot similarities are too close to be just a coincidence.