Filmmaker Francesca Gregorini argues in a newly-filed lawsuit that Apple TV+ series Servant, created by M. Night Shyamalan and Tony Basgallop, shares eerie similarities with The Truth About Emanuel, her 2013 film.
The first time Francesca Gregorini heard of the new Apple TV+ series Servant, created by M. Night Shyamalan and Tony Basgallop, was in November 2019, the day the trailer for the horror series was released. The filmmaker immediately began receiving calls from friends and fellow directors. “Some of the calls were congratulatory, because they assumed I had sold the rights to my film and it had been turned into a series,” Gregorini told me on the phone from Los Angeles. “And then a couple of the calls [were] from other filmmakers who know what happens in Hollywood, and who were … up in arms letting me know that something had gone terribly wrong.”
Servant and Gregorini’s 2013 film, The Truth About Emanuel, seem to share a premise: A mother who’s grieving the death of her baby uses an eerily lifelike “reborn doll” to help her process the loss, and subsequently forms an intimate relationship with the nanny she hires to take care of the “infant.” Still, Gregorini said, the similarities don’t end there. She argues that virtually all of her movie was repurposed by Shyamalan and Basgallop in Servant: aesthetic details, characters, plot developments, even the blocking of certain shots…
This week, Gregorini filed a lawsuit against Apple; Shyamalan; Basgallop; Shyamalan’s production company, Blinding Edge Pictures; and others alleging copyright infringement.
MacDailyNews Take: Basgallop and Shyamalan say that’ve not seen The Truth About Emanuel and that any similarity between the two projects “is a coincidence,” according to Gregorini’s complaint. Her lawsuit’s basic problem is that ideas aren’t protected by copyright.
We’re interested to see where this case leads and if it results in any compensation for Gregorini or not.
Here are the trailers for both: