'The Handmaid's Tale' Star Elisabeth Moss Says Offred's Not Just a Victim
Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid's Tale in 1985 - over thirty years later, the sci-fi best-seller still manages to read like a cautionary tale. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, Top of the Lake) plays heroine Offred in front of the camera and the show's producer behind it. Being the face of the new Hulu show which starts today, she spoke with Collider about taking on the project and doing the book justice.
According to Moss, she sat on the fence for a while when first offered the role, taking a month to join because she wanted to make sure the show would do justice to the book. Specifically, she wanted Offred, whose name is indicative of which Commander she belongs to ("of Fred"), to be portrayed as a survivor and not just a victim:
The story of The Handmaid's Tale takes place in the near future in which a fundamentalist regime obliterates congress and takes control of the United States (renaming it "The Republic of Gilead"), and follows the plight of Offred, one of many women to be forced into sexual servitude for the new military Commanders. Separated from her family, information, and without any rights, she dreams of escaping and reuniting with her family.
Like most classic science fiction, it draws from present day issues and anxieties, and those issues happen to carry over unsettlingly well from the 1980s book into the new show. Moss addressed the show's timing and how many are comparing the infringement of women's rights today to those in the book:
As Americans, we feel like it's so much more relevant and present because there are certain things happening here that remind us of things in the book, but these things have been happening, all over the world, for a long, long time, with rights being infringed upon. It's important to remember that. We're not just telling an American story. We're telling a global story."
The first three episodes of The Handmaid's Tale premieres on Hulu April 26, 2017, with new episodes being released every Wednesday following.