Lauren Ambrose from Servant on “What lies between notion and actuality” and why Dorothy is completely into Denzel
We have many questions about servants. Was the Turners’ baby really Jericho? Why can’t Sean and Julian stop lying? And is the creepy doll actually a poltergeist from hell? Hey, anything is possible on this show.
The second season of the psychological horror series premiered on Apple TV + on Friday, and as you probably could have guessed, we didn’t get exactly the answers we longed for. After Jericho (or whoever) disappears, Dorothy and Sean panic as nanny Leanne – who may or may not have supernatural powers that resurrected Jericho – also remains on the run. (Sounds crazy? Oh, it is.) However, Dorothy remained hopeful, devising a 72 hour schedule that she hoped would lead her to the truth … which of course she may not even be able to accept. Despite their laser focus, Sean and Julian continued to prolong a slew of lies and ethical issues for the Turners as the couple remained desperate to reunite their families and ease their pain.
Here TVLine talks to Lauren Ambrose, who plays Dorothy, about the season’s tense premiere, the couple’s refusal to mourn, and why Dorothy’s delusions made them a “woman on a mission.”
TVLINE | What moved you to this project, and what was your first impression of the scripts you read before we dive into the premiere?
I thought it was a very strange premise and a fascinating character … a tragic character. She is up to so much. She hides so much and broadcasts so much and wears that crazy mask and refuses to look at reality. I said, “Wow, I have no idea how to do this. It’s going to be a challenge. “It’s a thriller too [and] I’ve never been into a thriller or a scary thing. M. Night Shyamalan was in charge, so it seemed like a good hand to me. I was doing My Fair Lady on Broadway at the time, and it was the exact opposite.
TVLINE | Given that Dorothy’s version of the truth is very questionable, how do you approach playing such a traumatized, damaged character?
The job is to get the scene working. Someone who is fooling himself is not fooling himself, he is just deluding himself externally. As long as I am convinced of my actions and beliefs as a character, I will do my job. Everyone else says, “Oh my god, what are we going to do with this woman, she’s a banana, she thinks the doll is real?” And I hop with the dolly on my lap like, “What’s everyone’s problem? Why are you treating me like I’m crazy? There is no problem here! “
TVLINE | With Jericho missing from the season two kick-off, Natalie tells Sean and Julian that there is a chance to finally let Dorothy grieve, but is it too late for them to pull out of this whole thing?
At that point there is this deep web of lies that they are all wrapped up in and invested in. I don’t know what to do, but they keep going. That’s what’s interesting about this show: it explores those big feelings and ideas of what it means to be honest in a relationship and the vulnerability of being a parent for the first time. And you can explore these ideas through the genre in a completely different way. It hits the pit of the stomach because these are all things that we work on all day as humans. But exploring it with this kind of storytelling really fascinates me.
TVLINE | Dorothy and Sean get into a big fight and she tells him, “I thought you were a better father than this one.” Why is she falling so hard on him right now?
He’s just doubting his actions and [questioning] whether she should tell the truth, or involve the police, or whether he should give up on the trick he and Rupert are doing [Grint]The character continued with all of these lies and problems. We turn away from fragile vulnerability: “What will happen? Will she wake up and realize what happened? “Now she is like Denzel! She is a woman on a mission! “I’ll get my baby back no matter what.” She solves problems and they are just not sure what to do. They half-heartedly try to find out, but most of the time they try to cover up everything they did wrong. It is very complicated. There are so many layers.
Perhaps the real problem for this couple is that they refuse to grieve. Dorothy does it in this very big and cuckoo-like way, and Sean does it, too, by continuing the story. Perhaps right now she is criticizing him on a deeper, subconscious level for the lies and for not facing reality or helping it face reality.
TVLINE | Julian anonymously sends Dorothy a baby shoe with the message: “Don’t tell anyone. Baby lives “Why give Dorothy false hope when she’s been through so much pain?
I think it’s actually about relieving their pain and saying that there is something to live for. That they will find the baby and find out everything together. There is hope. But are the lies we tell each other good for our relationships or bad?
TVLINE | Sean not only finds the discarded doll, but brings it inside and bathes it. How do you see it
It’s a really interesting story for Sean’s character because he ends up going through this faith crisis that I think is such a beautiful story. He starts to believe and he starts to come to this belief in something bigger than himself and bigger than reality. So much on this show is about what’s between perception and reality, and whoever looks at the problem may see it differently depending on how you lean and how your mind thinks. You might see something that happens on the show as a miracle or a supernatural phenomenon or as a coincidence, as a very practical reason why the attic doors slammed or whatever. I think Sean comes to this opening of faith, led by his wife’s belief that they will find this baby. He kind of doesn’t care who the baby is. There was a real baby at that point, and he wants that feeling back. He wants his family back. Maybe there is an opportunity to do this through some magical, spiritual cause … through healing. I don’t know, I could be wrong too! I’m sure the internet will have all sorts of other ideas!
TVLINE | Oh they do! Can you give us a little taste of what to expect this season for Dorothy?
With Dorothy we turn away from “Will she wake up and is the baby real?” At the end of season one, she sees the doll for what it is and no longer accepts it as her baby. Now it’s like, “Who brought this doll here? Where is my baby “Now she’s got a very practical problem, and it takes a darker, more supernatural turn at times and definitely leans into horror. For me, I’ve had some really wild acting challenges. [M.] night [Shyamalan] Directed on episode 4, and that was a really wild episode that I read right before bed – I definitely shouldn’t have! That really scared me. There’s a really cool face-off. Leanne and Dorothy have to work out their differences, and it’s a battle of wills: teenage power versus maternal anger.
There were definitely times when I thought, “How do I keep sympathy for this character with what they’re doing?” In the end, I keep coming back to this: She will do anything to save her child or get it back, and that for all her many shortcomings, she is a good mother.