A TWIST IN THE TALE
GQ India|January 2021
As new episodes of his critically acclaimed series Servant get set to drop, film-maker M Night Shyamalan talks to Arun Janardhan about his second innings in Hollywood and telling dystopian stories in dystopian times
Arun Janardhan

Some of the jokes that appeared on the internet earlier last year, M Night Shyamalan remembers, were about how he wrote the year 2020. What has been going around in the world since February because of its dystopian nature, global impact and the isolation it forced upon people, seemed similar to the kind of supernatural stories he writes for films.

The director of The Sixth Sense, Signs and Glass, had never thought about how much humans need to be with each other in all his “isolation movies. The fragility of human response to it [the pandemic] – we can ignore it, say it’s fake or it’s the end of the world. But the struggle to deal with a lack of control we have in the face of mother nature is inspiring, just to see how fragile we are.”

Fear and fragility are constant features in Servant, the Apple TV+ series that returns with a second season on January 15, in which Shyamalan is an executive producer and director of some episodes. It is, in many ways, a Shyamalan genre: about a nanny hired to manage a baby that does not exist. But the show also breaks a pattern for the independent-minded filmmaker, whose two-decade-old bumpy career takes a turn towards episodic web content and reaches out for a second chance.

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