Apple and M. Night Shyamalan Face Lawsuit Over ‘Servant’ and ‘The Truth About Emanuel’ Similarities

Apple and M. Night Shyamalan, the producer for Apple TV+’s ‘Servant’, have been struck with a copyright suit for allegedly stealing the plot of the 2013 film ‘The Truth About Emanuel’.

According to a report from The Blast, director Francesca Gregorini has made the claim that Apple’s psychological horror show has stolen key plot points and includes similar “cinematic languages” which equates to a “substantially similar feeling, mood, and theme.”

The Truth About Emanuel released in 2013 and starred Jessica Biel as a babysitter who is hired by a family and asked to look after a doll. This doll has become a substitute for the family’s deceased child. Servant, which premiered on November 28, does indeed follow a similar plot thread of a nanny being hired to look after a “reborn doll” after a family’s baby suffers a death.

Gregorini has stated that Servant also states: “These similarities include not just parallel plot points, but also strikingly similar—and highly idiosyncratic—characters, scenes, directorial choices, and modes of storytelling”

However, Shyamalan and other creative leads on Servant, including Tony Basgallop have made the argument that Servant has been in development prior to the 2013 release of The Truth About Emanuel.

A representative for Gregorini responded by saying: “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).

The suit is making a claim against unspecified damages, all profits Apple made from the show, and an injunction from Apple distributing the show further. Servant’s first season is about to wrap up on January 17th and is in pre-production on season two.