“The Truth About Emanuel” director Francesca Gregorini claims that “Servant” appropriates the plot of her movie and uses the same “cinematic language,” resulting in a “substantially similar feeling, mood, and theme.”
Along with parallel plot points, Gregorini says that Servant also features “strikingly similar–and highly idiosyncratic–characters, scenes, directorial choices, and modes of storytelling.”
Released in 2013 with Kaya Scoddelario and Jessica Biel, “The Truth About Emanuel” involves a 17-year-old babysitter who looks after a baby that turns out to be a doll replacing a baby that has died, which is indeed similar to the plot of “Servant.”
The lawsuit targets Apple TV+, show creator Tony Basgallop, producer M. Night Shyamalan, and other producers on the series. Shyamalan and the other show creators say that “Servant” was in development prior to the release of “The Truth About Emanuel.”
“Defendants have arrogantly dismissed Ms. Gregorini’s protests by vaguely claiming that Servant was in development long before Emanuel was made, and that any similarity is a coincidence. Indeed, Mr. Shyamalan and Mr. Basgallop implausibly claim they have never seen Emanuel–apparently not even curious enough to watch after hearing Ms. Gregorini’s objections. Worse, Apple has brought stonewalling to a new level by simply referring inquiries to Mr. Shyamalan’s lawyer (who in turns says he cannot speak for Apple).”
Gregorini is seeking unspecified damages, profits Apple made from the show, and an injunction to prevent “Servant” from being further distributed.
“Servant,” which debuted on November 28, is wrapping up its first season with the final episode set to be released on Friday, January 17. Apple has already renewed the series for a second season. Given that the show is still in development and the last episode hasn’t debuted, it’s not yet known how similar it will end up being to the movie in question.
Based on the description of the film, there already seem to be significantly divergent plot elements, so it’s not clear how the lawsuit will progress.