A female manager filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on Wednesday against M. Night Shyamalan and Apple on Wednesday, accusing them of bastardizing her 2013 film and re-envisioning it through a male gaze.
Francesca Gregorini wrote and directed “The Truth About Emanuel,” a psychological thriller about a woman who forms a relationship with a doll after the death of her infant. In the suit, she accuses Shyamalan of lifting elements from the film for his Apple TV Plus series “Servant.”
The series, created by Tony Basgallop, debuted in November with Shyamalan as executive producer. It also tells the story of a couple who raise a doll as their son after the death of a child.
According to the suit, Gregorini’s story emerged from her difficulty with conceiving a child and from growing up with an absent mother. The suit alleges that the Apple TV Plus series took the same themes and filtered them through a male lens, with men who talk about a woman’s “insanity” and debate whether a nanny is “f—able.”
“If Servant showcases anything, it is the gender arrogance and inequity still infecting Hollywood (and apparently Cupertino),” the suit alleges. “The result of this caricature of the male gaze is the utter bastardization of Ms. Gregorini’s work. It’s an apt metaphor for the real-life version of what could happen here: It takes only a few old guard Hollywood men, such as Mr. Shyamalan and Mr. Basgallop, and their new Silicon Valley partner Apple TV+, to negate the considerable achievements and life experiences of the women behind ‘Emanuel,’ and to irredeemably tarnish their work.”
Apple declined to comment on the suit.