In a 2021 interview between M. Night Shyamalan and Rupert Grint, as shared by Interview Magazine, the two artists compared their respective approaches to creating art. Shyamalan described his approach as being a more theatrically centered one, meaning that he focuses on longer takes that allow the show’s performers room to breathe, as if they were live onstage. To this, Grint said that:
“I’ve always done theater. […] I’ve done the West End. I’ve done a bit of Broadway and I do love it. It’s a different kind of craft. ‘Servant’ kind of bridges the gap. It does feel like a lot of the scenes in ‘Servant’ are very theatrical. The set is this intimate stage, so it feels very familiar.”
For the curious, the professional theater credits to which Grint is referring are “Mojo” at the Harold Pinter Theatre (West End) in 2013 and “It’s Only a Play” at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (Broadway) in 2014. It might have been some time since he was onstage, but he couldn’t have said a more perfect thing to his “Servant” director. Shyamalan took Grint’s comment and used it like a springboard to dive into the heart of his vision for their first collaboration, explaining:
“I love what you said, bridging the gap, because that’s exactly what my aesthetics are. Somewhere between film and the stage, that’s where I want the performances and the actors to be.”
Shyamalan went on to say that he cast Lauren Ambrose as Dorothy in “Servant” because of her stage experience, and that he cast Grint as her brother because he could match her “volcano of energy and specificity.” You can watch the pair in action for yourself by checking out “Servant” on Apple TV+.