The Handmaid’s Tale: It’s Elisabeth Moss vs totalitarianism in this new AXN show
Elisabeth Moss is on a winning spree after she picked up the Best Actress award at the Golden Globes this year for the series The Handmaid’s Tale. Drawing inspiration from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel of the same name, it is set in a totalitarian period of the United States and portrays the journey of handmaids and their struggle. She believes that a deeper look into these political and social issues is what gained the series a huge success. Excerpts:
Tell us about your character and premise of the show?
The story takes place in an alternate world, called Gilead, where a fundamentalist regime has taken over. Gilead was once part of the United States. Due to environmental changes, and some environmental disasters, fertility has dropped exponentially in women. Only one in five babies are surviving, so this new regime has developed a way of procreating in hopes of continuing the race. The new ways that Gilead adopts are taken from some scripture in the Bible. I play June, otherwise known as Offred, and I am the Handmaid that the tale is about, captured and enslaved and basically given to a couple who cannot have a baby.
Can you tell me about the tone of the series and your approach?
The show is about morality, but it is also so political. Bruce Miller (creator) and I really wanted it to focus on the human aspect. Ultimately, it is the story of one woman who is in this world and in this situation. It was very important to us for the show to be relatable on a human level. We wanted it to be real and truthful.
What would you describe the genre as?
The Handmaid’s Tale is unlike anything I've ever seen. It's very hard to put this show in a box. It has darkness. complexities and horror about reality. It has moments that are so inspiring and positive as well emotionally.
What were the challenges you faced ?
The biggest creative challenge at the beginning was playing a character who is essentially forbidden from speaking and from showing her feelings. Another challenge was that I was playing a character from a very well-known novel.
Can you share a little bit about your relationship with Margaret ?
My relationship with her has been intimidating and trying to not sound like an idiot. It is a bizarre experience to be in the same room with somebody who wrote the character that you’re playing. The Handmaid’s Tale is a prolific novel and she is one of our greatest writers.
AXN premieres The Handmaid’s Tale on February 5. To be aired every Monday at 10 pm.