The cast ofÂ The Handmaid’s Tale know what you’re going to sayâ€”never before has this story been so prescient. And while that may be true, it’s also worth noting, as Executive Producer Bruce Miller so posited during the Hulu series’ 2017 Television Critics Association Winter Tour,Â “Every time someone reads this they go, ‘wow, this is timely.'”Bringing Margaret Atwood’s speculative fiction tale to the small screen isn’t its first time ’round the entertainment block. The novelâ€”which has yet to go out of print even ONCE since it premiered in the mid-’80sâ€”has been several plays, a ballet, a movie, and a radio serial, just to name a few. But today, in the wake of all that’s going on socially around the world, the machinations at play in the Republic of Gilead feel less like a this-could-never-happen story, to something more akin to an episode ofÂ Black Mirror.For Elizabeth Moss, who plays the titular characterâ€”a handmaid named Offred (whose original name was June in the world before this totalitarian society took hold)â€”was happy to discover that re-reading the book years after her initial read, she “was still incredibly taken and interested in the story.””I selfishly said yes because I couldn’t stand the thought of someone else doing it”Â explained Moss.
For O.T. Fagbenle, who plays June/Offred (Elisabeth Moss)’s pre-Handmaid husband, Luke,Â “the central themesâ€”the distribution of power & gender & who controls reproductionâ€”were most important” to dissect. It was a notion that was echoed by The Commander, a man in a high position of power within the regime, something he found incredible powerful. “I love that [Offred] finds power in a position of nothingness,” explainedÂ Fiennes.Freedom and power and the things people do to control them are tantamount to the story of “a society that’s based in a perverted reading of the Old Testament” explainedÂ Miller. But before you pick up your pitchforks, these are not thinly-veiled stand-ins for Christians. In fact, the writing staff has beenÂ using the Puritans as a model because “they like their religious freedom, but no one else’s.”Still, it begs the question: how many seasons could a story like this go on for? According to Bruce Miller: “C’mon: 200. Forever. I think there’s an incredible amount in the book” to explore. Given the state of the world, something about that statement feels right.Are you looking forward toÂ The Handmaid’s Tale? Let us know your thoughts in the comments as we wait impatiently for its April 26th, 2017 premiere.
Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor of Nerdist, creator/co-host of Fangirling, and a regular user of famed website, Twitter dot com, covering this yearâ€™s Television Critics AssociationÂ 2017 Winter Tour.