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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple and M. Night Shyamalan, producer of Apple TV+ show "Servant," are being targeted in a new lawsuit that accuses "Servant" of copying 2013 film "The Truth About Emanuel," according to The Blast.

"The Truth About Emanuel" director Francesca Gregorini claims that "Servant" appropriates the plot of her movie and uses the same "cinematic language," resulting in a "substantially similar feeling, mood, and theme."

Along with parallel plot points, Gregorini says that Servant also features "strikingly similar--and highly idiosyncratic--characters, scenes, directorial choices, and modes of storytelling."

Released in 2013 with Kaya Scoddelario and Jessica Biel, "The Truth About Emanuel" involves a 17-year-old babysitter who looks after a baby that turns out to be a doll replacing a baby that has died, which is indeed similar to the plot of "Servant."

The lawsuit targets Apple TV+, show creator Tony Basgallop, producer M. Night Shyamalan, and other producers on the series. Shyamalan and the other show creators say that "Servant" was in development prior to the release of "The Truth About Emanuel."
"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)."
Gregorini is seeking unspecified damages, profits Apple made from the show, and an injunction to prevent "Servant" from being further distributed.

"Servant," which debuted on November 28, is wrapping up its first season with the final episode set to be released on Friday, January 17. Apple has already renewed the series for a second season. Given that the show is still in development and the last episode hasn't debuted, it's not yet known how similar it will end up being to the movie in question.

Based on the description of the film, there already seem to be significantly divergent plot elements, so it's not clear how the lawsuit will progress.

Article Link: Apple and M. Night Shyamalan Sued Over 'Servant' TV Show's Similarity to 2013 Movie 'The Truth About Emanuel'


macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2002
Vancouver, BC
I've been enjoying Servant, and wasn't aware of this previous movie. I don't think it's wrong to share an idea or story-telling style. There is a difference in the stories, though. Servant is about the devil, right? The doll version of the baby only existed in the first two episodes, then a real baby took over. Maybe I need to watch more episodes before drawing a conclusion.


macrumors member
Oct 26, 2018
Ideas aren't copyrightable. Only expression is copyrightable. The complaint here makes clear that Gregorini's expression wasn't copied--it expressly alleges that "Servant" focuses on telling the story from the perspective of male protagonists, while "Emanuel" is "female-centric" and "tells a nuanced emotional story about motherhood and daughterhood—real, lost, and imagined."

Courts often do asinine things with copyright law, but this should not survive a motion to dismiss.


Jul 3, 2018
I think this lawsuit will be a tough sell...

It’s SUPER common for there to be similar movies that are trending in Hollywood at the same time.
My jaded opinion is that when someone is shopping around a script, some of the houses that don’t get it- try to quickly get a script w/ a similar plot, to cash in on the “hotness” of that genre.
Think about the flurry of disaster films that were released about a decade ago... I’m certain at least 2 or 3 of them were meteor based disasters, with incredibly similar plots.
Same could be said of zombie/post-apocalyptic films of about 5 years ago- etc, etc.

If this lawsuit were to succeed- Hollywood would become an overnight ********- maybe Magicians is too close to Harry Potter? Maybe like 3 dozen procedural crime investigation shows are too much like Law & Order and CSI?
Lol, 90% of tv & film would just get cancelled.


macrumors regular
Nov 3, 2003
This is just a lawsuit because of the deep pockets behind the show and maybe them being a little salty that no one knew about their movie? Imagine if these lawsuits happened through time... Remember Armageddon and Deep Impact, The Truman Show and Ed TV, A Bug's Life and Antz, Olympus Has Fallen And White House Down. I could go on and on...


macrumors 6502
May 13, 2019
Interesting tactic that both sides pointed to each other’s lawyers, which resulted in both parties getting sued


macrumors regular
Nov 13, 2009
Atlanta, GA
Sounds like a bunch of people chiming in who haven't watched the show (and the show is really good). Having said that, I watched that trailer and I absolutely feel the movie was ripped off. Some of the scenes are even framed the same way.


macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2011
Whoa! Didn't see that coming. It's the only show I am watching on Apple TV+. I quite like the show. Might have to check out that movie though.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2017
United States
Couldn't disagree more. One of the best shows of the year IMO and Shyamalan's best project since The Sixth Sense. Critics seem to think it's pretty good too...85% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Yeah I think it's a great show as well. People were pretty negative on here about the announcement of Apple TV+ and I think went into watching its exclusives assuming they wouldn't be good.
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