Apple is also named in the suit.
Gregorini contends that the 2013 psychological film she wrote and directed, The Truth About Emanuel, has been ripped off for the AppleTV+ series. Page Six writes that that film is "about a woman who forms a relationship with a doll after the death of her infant." Note that the series also tells the story of a couple who treat a doll as their son after the death of their three-month-old child.
Servant debuted this past Thanksgiving. It was created by Tony Basgallop (who's also named in the suit), with Shyamalan attached as an executive producer.
Gregorini's copyright infringement claim, which can be read here, was filed on Wednesday in federal court in California.
"Servant is a wholesale copy of Plaintiff Francesca Gregorini’s 2013 feature film The Truth About Emanuel," says the suit.
It goes on to explain that Gregorini's story came about after dealing with her own struggles to conceive, and also while growing up with an absent mother.
Deadline, who describe the complaint as "graphically detailed," went on to further highlight Gregorini's argument.
"As demonstrated by the long list of key parallels catalogued in Section III(C) of this Complaint, the misappropriation is not a mere borrowed premise, idea or story," says the suit. "Mr. Shyamalan has gone so far as to appropriate not just the plot of Emanuel—but also its use of cinematic language, creating a substantially similar feeling, mood, and theme."
Court documents go on to allege that Servant took the idea, but delivered it from a male perspective. As evidence of this, the complaint talks about characters who reference a woman's "insanity," and also discuss whether or not a nanny is "fuckable."
“If ‘Servant’ showcases anything, it is the gender arrogance and inequity still infecting Hollywood (and apparently Cupertino),” the suit says. “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.”
The suit's aim is to put an end to Servant, while also seeking unspecified damages.