Oscar winner Christopher Walken has been added to the cast of Severance, an upcoming workplace thriller drama coming to Apple TV+.
The show is being directed by and executive produced by none other than Ben Stiller. It also boasts Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, and John Turturro in lead roles.
The elusive work-life balance has been the subject of a few — or, well, a lot of — films and TV shows already. However, Apple TV+’s new show aims to take that subject to a new and unsettling level.
Severance centers on a fictional technology company called Lumen Industries. It’s here that they employ a “severance procedure,” which separates your work-related memories from the rest of your non-work memories.
It seems like memory separation is Lumen’s product, intended for its customers. I’m going to assume it’s so that companies can pay people to do terrible things. Employees can then go home and assume regular roles as loving spouses, parents, and whatever else after the workday. Guilt-free, of course.
I’m willing to bet that employees hawking sketchy memory wipes in a dystopian thriller may also want to keep their work and personal life separated, though. Do you think Lumen’s employees get a discount at the mess-with-your-memories factory they work for?
The sci-fi thriller was created by Dan Erickson, and will be produced and directed by Ben Stiller. And although Stiller will always hold a special place in my heart for his silly work in front of the camera, it’s clear that he has a knack for work behind the camera, too. He recently signed another deal with Apple TV+ to direct a comedy titled High Desert, which will also star Patricia Arquette.
Adam Scott will star as Mark, a Lumen Industries employee with a dark past who is desperate to start over. On the flip side, John Turturro will play Irving, a long-time, dependable employee at Lumen Industries.
Walken has joined the cast to play “Burt, the department Head of Optics and Design at Lumen Industries,” according to Deadline. Clearly, that description is intended to make us think Burt is just a regular company scientist. However, I’m hopeful that Walken playing a scientist winds up on the darker side — you know, a mad scientist. After all, he’s good at it.
That dip into the dark side could be exactly what this show needs. The series obviously needs someone seemingly cool and collected that can come unhinged at a moment’s notice, and that person is clearly Walken.
Workplace-themed shows certainly have been popular in the past, as something that many can relate to. People want to watch TV shows they can identify with, and people work. We’ve seen the work-related theme come up again and again across plenty of genres, from comedies to dramas, even down to reality shows.
The show’s fate in this post-coronavirus world is uncertain, though. What was likely seen as a sure bet initially might not be so much anymore. So many employees who once spent their days at the office are now tolling away from the comfort of home. It’s tough to predict how shows and movies set in office settings will fare, given the current state of affairs.
I’m holding out hope for Severance and Lumen Industries, though. It’s clear that the show isn’t exactly realistic — it’s an interesting take on a dystopian thriller, where it’s just realistic enough to make it unnerving.
In any case, we’re still waiting to hear when the show will premiere, or even start. Apple TV+ hasn’t announced a production start date for Severance as of yet.