Why Lauren Ambrose embraced her ‘Servant’ character
Q: “Servant” was quite the trip to watch. It had to be for you to make, no?
A: Oh, for sure. I mean, all of the strange things with the baby and the other baby and the real babies and the fake babies and the eels and the, you know, the food stuff – you know, each thing weirder than the next. And all the creatures, animals, etc., and the set. And then just the reality that’s sort of the plot and the story that we’re telling is a small portion of what’s really going on and what the audience is watching and perceiving.
Because like a lot of (executive producer M. Night Shyamalan’s) other movies, I feel like that’s what he does really great. He has the actors playing it totally straight and then the world is shifting underneath them and the world is this unstable thing and these unstable forces are happening around them. But I’m going along playing this woman in the midst of this tragedy and it’s manifesting for her in a very strange way, indeed. But I’m doing my best to play that, although she’s kind of a big, big character (laughs), which is kind of fun.
Q: The scene in the kitchen with the eels looked very real. Was it?
A: Oh God. No eel was harmed in the filming of that sequence. (The ASPCA) was there. … There were live eels, there were eels that were purchased dead that they animated somehow (laughs). It was actually the grossest day I’ve ever been a part of on any set. Absolutely, absolutely just vile. Just insane. Of course, eel blood is also a neurotoxin. So you’ve got like babies and potential eel blood (on set) and it was like, “What? This is insane!” Yeah, if it gets in your eye or in any mucous membrane, you’re like poisoned. So don’t go messing around with eels.
George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.