‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Director Talks About the Show's Dark Sense of Humor

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 - 8:46PM
The Handmaids Tale
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 - 8:46PM
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Director Talks About the Show's Dark Sense of Humor
Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale has been a hot topic of discussion since its premiere on Hulu two weeks ago. Many have praised the show for its superb acting and timeliness. 

If you need a refresher, The Handmaid's Tale takes place in the dystopian society of Gilead (formerly the United States) where the constitution is suspended and fertile women are forced to live with top political figures in order to "bless" them with children. The main character, Offred, played by Elizabeth Moss of Mad Men and Top of the Lake, dreams of an escape from the oppressive society with occasional flashbacks to the days when she had autonomy.

via GIPHY

 

Executive Producer and Cinematographer Reed Morano directed the first three episodes which were released all at once on April 26, and it's her vision that paved the way for the rest of the season. She recently spoke to Collider about the critical decisions she made to depict the story that's on everyone's minds in the currently political climate.

Although the subject matter can be quite serious and dreary, it was important to everyone from Morano and Moss to the novel's writer (and show producer) Margaret Atwood that the show have its lighter, relatable moments. Morano explains:

Opening quote
"Margaret has a sense of humor and I know Bruce and all of us, and Hulu and Warren and myself and Lizzy, we all wanted to retain that sense of cheekiness that the narrator has a little bit. Not cheekiness. Sort of just like irreverence of certain things. And also, now when you take a woman, nowadays, in the present day, and if it were to god forbid happen to them, they would be reacting like they do. Not like being prim and proper about it. You know? In your head, you feel like, "What the fuck is this?"
Closing quote


That irreverence seems to carry over between both the totalitarian future of the story, and the flashbacks to Offred's normal life in American society. Those two sides to the story were an important focus to Morano, specifically portraying the setting before and after the government was overthrown was crucial for setting the scene:

Opening quote
"[Gilead] is described as being so unsettling. And there is something unsettling about strictly symmetrical things, to me. Or one that's slightly off, because we kind of did both. Then the flashbacks, I felt like, I don't like to do really gimmicky things with flashbacks, but not change the color or anything, but it was like what do the flashbacks mean, emotionally, to the character?

And I just said, 'Well, it's like their memory, their fleeting memory. So, how do we visualize the fleeting memory?' And it felt like way to do that would be to shoot them, kind of, with not standard coverage, not picking up everybody's line. Like, almost a verite kind of impression of the camera."
Closing quote


To quote Morano on the matter, "What the fuck is this?" is a pretty on point reaction for most of what happens on the show. Those who tuned in last week to see what happened to Ofglen (Alexis Bledel) know exactly what that feels like.

The first five episodes of The Handmaid's Tale are available to stream now on Hulu.

via GIPHY


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