Lauren Ambrose on 'Servant,' Motherhood and Dorothy's Continued Devolution

22 Jan

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Lauren Ambrose returns to the Philadelphia brownstone for another round of insanity as Dorothy continues to come to terms with the miracle constantly in the balance following the death of her infant son. We sat down for a brief chat with the actor as she reflects on the show's skilful exploit of any parents worst nightmare.

Screen Times: After everything that your character has been through over the last two seasons, what was it about the script in season three that had you really excited to come back for another round?

Lauren Ambrose: I mean it to be on a series and to get the opportunity to continue telling a story over many seasons is a rare and special thing for an actor. So, so it's, it's really a privilege to just continue to get into Dorothy’s expensive slippers and see where the story goes and this tragic character goes this time around. It started off in this pretty happy place and that devolves, and she continues to devolve. It was great. 

Screen Times: The powerful thing about your character especially is the responsibility that comes with it, in  terms of the portrayal of a mother who has lost her son. It's unfortunate that we're all becoming more increasingly aware of such tragedy happening to people we know and as a mother yourself, I was wondering what personal experience from motherhood you brought over to your character?

Lauren Ambrose: Yeah, well, obviously, to be a mom is an amazing, and life changing thing, and I feel very lucky to be a mother in real life. I obviously have that to draw upon for this character where it's the first time actually that I get to play a mother in something. My children have made it very easy for me to access that kind of deep love that Dorothy has for her child.

It's a tragedy in many ways and this show does do a good job of skillfully exploiting the vulnerability that one feels as a parent because they have to bring it from anything, you know, there's all of the dangers of the world, but there's also just bringing people into your life.

This woman who comes into their life and absolutely upsets things constantly and makes it so she doesn't have to grieve this actual tragedy. The show does a good job of, of preying on those particular terrors of parenthood.

Screen Times: This season Dorothy is constantly involving herself with her work, get togethers and community. Do you, do you see that as her finding distractions from the situation that she’s in? Or is there something else at play?

Lauren Ambrose: No, I think it's actually a symptom. She’s such a perfectionist and she's a deeply ambitious character and, and really wants everything to be perfect.

It's very type A personality and is striving for so much in her life. And I think that that actually kind of goes hand in hand of not wanting to look at what you would perceive as a failure. 

Interview edited for clarity.

'Servant' returns for its third season on Apple TV+ Friday January 21st.

Sigmund Judge
Sigmund is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of ScreenTimes where he began his Apple TV coverage in 2016. With an unwavering passion for Apple, storytelling and storytellers alike, he writes about Apple TV with a focus on the arts, development, tvOS, home theatre and accessibility. Sigmund also co-host’s Magic Rays of Light, a weekly podcast exploring the world of Apple TV and the many talents bringing our screens to life.