[Interview] Lauren Ambrose for SERVANT

[Interview] Lauren Ambrose for SERVANT
Courtesy Apple TV+
What better way to kick off the New Year than with the return of the Apple TV+ series, SERVANT. Our favorite dysfunctional family and their mysterious nanny are returning for a third season of deception, lies, and long-buried secrets. Season 3 takes place a few months after the events of Season 2 and things appear to be back to normal. Jericho has returned and is being doted upon. Julian (Rupert Grint) has a new girlfriend and Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) has moved back in with the Turners.

However, with the threat of the cult looming and the appearance of suspicious visitors, Leanne does whatever she can to feel safe and secure. Unfortunately, this only causes more chaos for the Turner family, as Sean (Toby Kebbell) begins trusting more in Leanne’s powers while Dorothy feels increasingly threatened. While the Turners struggle to keep their family whole, they must come to terms with the cost of Jericho’s return. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

For the upcoming new season of SERVANT, we spoke with actor Lauren Ambrose, who is most widely known for playing Claire Fisher on the critically acclaimed HBO series, “Six Feet Under.” In SERVANT, Ambrose plays Dorothy Turner, a self-involved young mother who suffers an unspeakable tragedy. During our conversation with Ambrose, we discussed everything from Dorothy and Leanne’s strained relationship to Dorothy’s fluctuating mental health in the latest season.

Last season viewers saw a threatening, desperate side of Dorothy through her interactions with Leanne. Where do we see that relationship now at the start of Season 3? 

Lauren Ambrose: It got incredibly intense and scary [last season]. I mean, just reading those scripts was a really terrifying experience for me, let alone doing it. I was like, what is this show I’m on? [Laughs]. We went really far in that storyline and that relationship and so, the violence and the horror aspect, which is actually really fun, ended up being really technical, which is cool. It’s cool to see how it’s all put together like that.

Season 2 ends where Dorothy kind of gets her way. She gets her child back and all those extremes she went to help restore her family. So, now we start off Season 3 a few months later, everything is sort of in a serene place at least for Dorothy’s character. She’s quite happy. She’s struggling along with her job, trying to be a working mother and she has her child and her child is starting solid foods, and she’s got this little problem with this nanny who was kind of paranoid about this cult, so Dorothy is going to help her with this problem. Obviously, that problem becomes too big and it’s not something that’s easily solved. It’s not something that Dorothy can solve just with kindness and buying [Leanne] outfits. It’s a bigger issue than that. Dorothy’s mental health also continues to fray because she’s based this whole life on top of a series of lies.

Lauren Ambrose, Rupert Grint, Nell Tiger Free and Toby Kebbell in SERVANT, premiering January 21, 2022, on Apple TV+

You touched on this briefly but with Jericho back, how is Dorothy managing motherhood, her career, and being a wife to Sean?

Lauren Ambrose: I think it’s an interesting [theme] on our show. [Y]ou have this genre show. It’s a thriller. It’s scary. It’s all of these heightened things happening, and then also she’s a working mom trying to trust a nanny and hire a nanny to come in and help. I can relate to that storyline and our own sort of horrors and terrors that come along with needing someone and welcoming people into your home, into your life, and your house. Anybody who comes into your kid’s life, you realize the vulnerability in that, the vulnerability of being a human who needs other people.

With Jericho back, do you think this season we will see Dorothy coming to terms with what happened to baby Jericho in the first season?

Lauren Ambrose: I think she has to. I want to see that, I want to read that script. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I think that in some way, shape, or form, I would hope that this family has to face the reality of this trauma and face this unwanted emotion of grief. I don’t know what’s going to happen if and when they do that [Laughs].

With everything that went on at the end of Season 2, including Julian’s overdose, where do we see your relationship now with your brother and husband?

Lauren Ambrose: There’s just so much deception that happens in these relationships. Having it be foundationally a lie, this sort of denial of reality, denial of the truth, and denial of grief sort of compounds the dysfunction as we continue on through the seasons. There are some great scenes, though. Rupert Grint is so great as Julian and I love the scenes of this brother/sister relationship I think is unique on TV and really very funny and heartbreaking. He’s struggling to be sober which is funny and sad but she’s trying to help him with that. Sean and Dorothy, sort of come in and out of sync. This marriage is like a handbook of what not to do. It’s bad news [Laughs].

Season 3 of SERVANT will debut on Apple TV+ on Friday, January 21, 2022.

Shannon McGrew
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