As M Night Shyamalan’s Servant returns to Apple TV+, Danielle de Wolfe speaks to the stars including Rupert Grint, to learn more.

A brand new year brings with it a slew of highly-anticipated original dramas. Returning Apple TV+ series Servant is no exception.

The M Night Shyamalan-directed show looks set to be darker and filled with greater levels of suspense than before, as the second series arrives on the platform on January 15.

In a plotline permeated with tension, Servant’s first series unravelled the tale of a Philadelphia couple in mourning after tragedy strikes the family.

With an ever-widening rift forming in their marriage and dark forces at work, the first 10 episodes invited audiences into their home – and the perplexing world created by Shyamalan, famous for his thrillers like The Sixth Sense and The Village.

The series stars Lauren Ambrose and Toby Kebbell as husband and wife duo Dorothy and Sean, with Harry Potter star Rupert Grint returning in his role as Dorothy’s brother Julian. The main cast is rounded off with Nell Tiger Free, who returns as mysterious nanny Leanne.

The returning 10-part psychological thriller sees a rapid expansion of the Season 1 storyline. “The idea was that we pick up exactly where we left off but things transition, they change almost immediately when you’re in the episode,” says Kebbell, 38.

“So, hopefully we’ve accomplished that. And then of course things changed from what the ideas were to what we could shoot, because we shot four episodes in complete isolation.”

“We adapted beautifully,” notes Kebbell of the new Covid-19 restrictions on-set.

With almost all scenes taking place inside the confines of a single house, the impact of Covid-19 on filming felt exacerbated for the show’s cast and crew. Yet the single location is the very element that makes this series unique, bearing all the hallmarks you’d expect from a Shyamalan-directed project.

“It’s a set that’s got challenges,” notes Grint. “I mean, it’s such a small stage, you can’t really hide, it’s quite exposing in that way. But I do really enjoy it.”

It’s an opinion shared by Grint’s co-star Ambrose, 42, who says: “The characters are, for the most part, essentially doing this intense play for half an hour at a time and that’s a great acting opportunity.”

Despite the confined setting it manages to avoid the pitfalls of monotony.

“The creak is only scary upstairs when you’ve established there’s no-one in the house, and so you have to quieten everything down and everything becomes threatening,” notes Shyamalan.

“And so, for me, making it one location for the entire series is my way of quieting down everyone’s minds so that every single thing, every glass falling, every door knob turning, means something.”

n Servant Season 2 arrives on Apple TV+ on January 15.