While we might not have known her before, audiences couldn’t help but be completely captivated by Nell Tiger Free when M. Night Shyamalan’s SERVANT premiered on Apple TV+. Conveying a subtle creepiness that kept audiences on edge throughout the course of the first season, Free’s performance pulled us in and made us crave more interaction with the enigma that we knew as Leanne Grayson. Now, with SERVANT returning for its sophomore season, audiences will get a chance to embrace Leanne once more and uncover new secrets along the way.
Ahead of the Season 2 premiere of SERVANT, I got the chance to chat with Nell Tiger Free, where we discussed the growth and change we’ll see in Leanne this season, working with Lauren Ambrose in the more intense scenes featured this season, and how certain objects carry certain meanings for Leanne.
When it came to Season 2, in what ways did you approach Leanne differently than you had in the previous season of SERVANT?
Nell Tiger Free: I think with this season, it was important that we saw a growth and a change in Leanne. That was mostly in the writing, which is, you know, it’s great that she’s been taken on this journey, I’m really excited about it. I just thought, you know, the best way to do that is to just bring this whole different, separate color to her and just sort of enhance on those pieces of her that were already there. She’s still just growing up in front of you a little bit, you know? So I’m hopefully trying to achieve that the best way I can.
Your relationship with Dorothy (played by Lauren Ambrose) has vastly shifted this season. Can you talk about preparing for a lot of those intense interactions with her?
Nell Tiger Free: Lauren is such a fantastic actress and such a great, great person to be around. I was really excited to get into those kind of grittier, darker, more disturbing moments with her. If there was a scene that I didn’t think I could pull off or I didn’t think I could get right, as soon as I got on set with Lauren she immediately puts you at ease because she’s so good at what she does and it makes it easy to bounce off of. It’s a pleasure to work with her. I don’t think I would have been able to pull off some of the moments in the show, that I hopefully managed to, if it wasn’t for Lauren.
What’s your favorite part about playing Leanne and what were you most excited to explore with her character this season?
Nell Tiger Free: My favorite part about playing Leanne is that I know her so well now, but there’s always new elements to her popping up. I’m sort of learning her as I go along with you guys and that’s really fun. I like it when people ask me, “What is she? Why is she here?” I don’t freaking know. (laughs) I know as much as you guys, really, and it’s really fun figuring her out. I was really excited when I read the full 10 episodes of season two because everything I wanted to happen for her happened. She kind of steps into this new person and sheds these old clothes that she’s been in [both] metaphorically and physically, she does get a little bit of a wardrobe update. (laughs) It was just great fun to keep learning her and keep building on her. I’m just excited to see how far this all can go, how far we can take it.
Something I noticed this season is Leanne’s preoccupation with certain objects. Can you give us a little hint into the importance of certain objects like the clock, the metronome, and the mannequins?
Nell Tiger Free: I can pepper a little bit of something onto that. The clock is important. The metronome is very important but they’re all important for very, very different things. The mannequins are kind of the gateway into understanding a lot more about Leanne and why she is the way she is and her upbringing and her relationship with a certain family member. I think the mannequin is really important for that reason. The metronome… that’s going to be great. I’m excited for you guys to see that. (laughs)
What are you looking forward to most when it comes to viewers tuning in for the new season?
Nell Tiger Free: I’m really excited for people to see how high up we’ve turned the volume on the show. I mean like metaphorically speaking, it’s not just louder. (laughs) In Season One, it was contained and it was psychological and we were messing with your mind and making you question things and that’s still there. It’s just on top of that we have stumps and we have fire and we have snow and broken class and metronomes and blood and love and passion. There’s a whole new element of madness that’s been chucked onto the show while hopefully keeping with the suffocating theme. I’m just really excited for you guys to see that and to see the four of us back at it, back in the house, trying to creep you out as much as we can.
The ten-episode second season of SERVANT premiered globally on Apple TV+ with the first episode on January 15, followed by new episodes weekly, every Friday.
To learn more about Season 2 of SERVANT, check out our review!
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