Atwood pleased with 'The Handmaid's Tale' adaptation: 'It's just excellent'

28 April, 2017, 00:49 | Author: Lorraine Moran
  • The West Wing- Martin Sheen Elisabeth Moss

But on TV, the material takes on "a new urgency", with the series moving with a "sinister haste" through its unsettling chapters and quickly escalating into "a vivid nightmare" of the horrors of dictatorship.

JEFFREY BROWN: It's been adapted for opera, ballet, and the 1990 film starring Robert Duvall and Natasha Richardson, and now this Hulu series starring Elisabeth Moss, who read the book as a teenager, playing Offred, a handmaid just assigned to a new household. 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.

However, for the "Handmaid's Tale" premiere, Hulu will release the first three episodes of the series.

There are tons of fantastic - and very hard - moments sprinkled throughout these first three hours.

Dystopia: The drama is set in the fictional Republic of Gilead, which used to be the US, in the not too far off future. Pollution and disease has rendered most women infertile and a theocratic military dictatorship has taken control of the country, renaming it the Republic of Gilead. It's antiabortion rhetoric run amok, a society built on the idea that women are not in charge of their own body; their bodies are merely the vessels through which others might be born.

Exploring themes powerful themes like gender inequality and the objectification of women, The Handmaid's Tale quickly gathered a cult following, Atwood becoming a powerful name in feminist circles.

It's the fact the forced sexual ownership of women the show portrays is actually happening in the real world that adds the real terror to "The Handmaid's Tale", and makes it even more relevant.

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But while The Handmaid's Tale does aim to show viewers that a world like Gilead isn't necessarily inevitable, neither does the show dance around how easily our society could devolve into the misogynistic near-future of Atwood's work. Offred lived a normal life that anyone in the 21st century can recognize.

That challenge took on an extra layer, because Offred can't show her inner life to the people around her.

"If you're not sleeping a lot because you're working your [butt] off and you get dark circles and bags under your eyes-the more you have, the better", she told the site of the sleep deprivation effects during filming.

Her task is to bear children for the Commander and his wife Serena Joy, played by Yvonne Strahovski.

In addition to being drawn to the part because of her family's love of the story, Brewer was eager to work with "an unbelievable cast and just a very talented group of people attached to it at every level". It's as though she goes from having an outward, physical defense mechanism, to an internal one as the story progresses. Not wordfolk. They wanted to be inclusive: that is everyone's caught up in it.

Changes: Like all adaptations, changes were made. The Hulu writers also decided not to ship off all the non-white characters to the Midwest. Post television critic Hank Stuever declared the show "must-see TV in any context, including one with a woman as president. Why would we be covering [the story of Offred], rather than telling the story of the people of color who got sent off to Nebraska?" showrunner Bruce Miller asked TVLine in January.

Pitman's Madeline Brewer (center of circle) in Hulu's upcoming series, 'The Handmaid's Tale, ' premiering April 26.


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