The elusive work-life balance has been the subject of a few (well, a lot of) films and TV shows, but Apple TV+’s new workplace thriller, Severance, wants to take it to a new, unsettling level. The series, from creator/writer Dan Erickson, centers on the fictional Lumen Industries and its “severance procedure,” which separates your “work memories” from your “non-work memories,” presumably so those who are paid to do terrible things can go home and be loving spouses and parents or whatever after a workday of doing terrible things.
Adam Scott will star as Mark, a Lumen Industries employee desperate to start over. Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, and Man Seeking Woman’s Britt Lower are set to co-star Severance, which is directed and executive produced by Ben Stiller. Which all sounds fine and good enough for possible corporate intrigue, but the show obviously needs someone capable of swinging from cool and collected to unhinged at a moment’s notice… someone like Christopher Walken, whom Deadline reports has joined the cast as “Burt, the department Head of Optics and Design at Lumen Industries.” We’re sure that description is intended to make us think Burt is just keeping his nose to the proverbial grindstone at the mess-with-your-memories factory. Because “Christopher Walken plays a scientist” just doesn’t have the same ring as “Christopher Walken plays a mad scientist.” Burt can be a darker version of his Click character Morty, who’s the type of guy who hangs out in a home goods store, just handing out remotes that advance years of your life with the push of a button.
Whether he’s playing a more contained character remains to be seen, but Severance will see Walken reunite with Turturro, his The Jesus Rolls co-star. Apple TV+ hasn’t announced a production start date for Severance.