Apple is at the centre of a lawsuit by Italian-American director Francesca Gregorini over its original series Servant.
Gregorini has filed a copyright lawsuit that alleges that Servant, which was developed by The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan, plagiarised her 2013 film The Truth About Emanuel.
Both titles focus on mothers who are grieving after the loss of a child shortly after its birth, and who then treat a doll as if it were alive. The shows also feature a teenage nanny who similarly treats the doll as though it were a real child.
Along with the premise, the suit alleges similarities between scenes, themes and settings.
The suit names Shyamalan and show creator Tony Basgallop as defendants.
The filmmaker’s lawyer said that the similarities between the 2013 film and the ongoing series “are so pervasive, and so grounded in my client’s highly creative and uniquely personal artistic choices, that the idea they might have resulted from coincidence is preposterous.”
Gregorini said: “Having a very personal labor of love stolen, which is what this case is about, is soul-crushing.”
Apple, Shyamalan and Basgallop are yet to make a statement.
This is the latest hiccup for Apple’s fledgling Apple TV+ streamer, and follows the indefinite delay to the Anthony Mackie-starring The Banker.
The Banker was set to be Apple’s first theatrical release with aspirations of Oscar nominations. However, the film’s premiere and subsequent roll-out were postponed after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against Bernard Garrett Jr., the son of the film’s subject. Garrett also served as a consultant on the film.
While it was initially set for release in November 2019, Apple has provided no additional information as to whether the $11m movie will see the light of day.