Throughout Season 1 of Apple TV+’s supernatural thriller series Servant, the subject of how a family deals with the grief over the death of a young child is present every moment on the screen. One of the parties that works through the wake that these events have left in the Turner family is Julian, played by former Harry Potter star Rupert Grint. A very sarcastic and flippant character, Julian has his charms, but can only take so much when trying to help his sister Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and brother-in-law Sean (Toby Kebbell) deal with their grief issues. Now, as the drama continues into Season 2, Grint a new father in real life and share how this life change has totally changed his perspective on Servant’s ongoing saga of loss and blackmail.
As Servant started out as a mysterious enterprise from the word go, the progression of the Turner family’s grief over the loss of their son Jericho has allowed the overall story arc to move into some interesting places. But after having his first child in the break between Season 2’s filming schedule, Rupert Grint came back to series with a new perspective firmly in mind. In an interview I conducted with Grint on behalf of CinemaBlend as part of the press day for Apple TV's and M. Night Shyamalan's Servant Season 2, the actor shared:
It was very interesting, a new perspective I suddenly got. It’s probably the worst show to become a part of if you’ve just become a dad. I’m an anxious person with it all in the best times. It’s also very helpful, it kind of really made me fully understand. Something I had no concept of before is that kind of really powerful love, and it’s a whole kind of different type of love that you feel for a child. The kind of lengths you would go to to get that child back is something, I now have a whole new understanding of. It’s helpful to get into this headspace of Dorothy and the Turners.
It’s a darkly comic moment in the early episodes of Servant Season 2 when Grint’s Julian dumps the baby doll that’s supposed to be stand-in for Jericho into a trash can. Thanks to an experimental grief technique that’s meant to help Dorothy overcome the events that saw her lose her son, that particular doll has acted as the doorway to many a moment in the series, and certainly a level of online discourse over just how creepy that doll looks. While Julian isn’t always the most understanding person, the arrival of Rupert Grint’s daughter has allowed the actor to really understand the emotions at play in Servant’s big picture -- and at exactly the right time.
I don't want to dive into deep spoilers, but Julian’s facade of nonchalant babydoll disposal starts to crack more than ever in Servant Season 2. Early on, we get to learn more about Grint’s character and his own childhood, which only draws the picture of this entire series in greater detail. With six seasons and 60 episodes planned, and the arc of the complete story already mapped out, the literal and thematic cracks in Servant’s universe expose where things are going inch by inch.
Of course, Rupert Grint’s life as a family man would help in a lot of other contexts outside of Servant’s run. If there’s ever a screen adaptation of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child where Grint is drafted to play Ron Weasley again, that would be another great occasion where his now developing skills as a father should lead to a fantastic brush with method acting. That very possibility, while not exactly on the table at the moment, is something that Rupert Grint has said he's open towards.
A timeless adage of life’s many challenges, people always love to mention how having a kid changes everything in a person’s chain of experiences. Rupert Grint is another person who proves this unwritten law as absolute truth, and his continued tenure on Servant will put those lessons to good use, no matter how many baby dolls are sacrificed in the process. You can see where Servant Season 2 takes things for Julian and the Turner family, as it unfurls on a weekly basis, starting this Friday on Apple TV+.