Elisabeth Moss as June
What is The Handmaid’s Tale about?
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 some environmental disasters, fertility has dropped in women.
Only one in five babies are surviving, so this new regime has developed a way of procreating and continuing the race. The new ways that Gilead adopts are taken from scripture in the Bible.
Who do you play?
I play June, otherwise known as Offred. I play a woman who is fertile and any fertile woman is captured and enslaved and given to a couple who cannot have a baby. The husband has sex with the Handmaid in the hopes that they can get her pregnant. Then when she does get pregnant, they take the baby and she moves on.
What genre does it fall under?
The Handmaid’s Tale is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s very hard to put this show in a box.
What attracted you to this role?
I adored the showrunner Bruce Miller and wanted to be friends with him. Luckily the feeling was mutual!
What is June’s backstory?
June is the Handmaid to Joseph Fiennes’ character Commander Fred Waterford – that’s how she gets the name Offred, as women are subserviant to their masgters. She was captured about three years previously and, in that capture, her husband is taken away from her and her daughter is stolen.
She has no idea where they are or if they’re alive. She thinks her husband is dead. When we pick up her story, she’s not doing too well. She has had a lot of her fight and soul beaten out of her, both physically and emotionally.
Was she a challenging part to play?
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
The biggest creative challenge at the beginning was playing a character who is essentially forbidden from speaking and from showing her feelings. For me as an actor, that is a fantastic challenge.
The best TV for 2017 Tue, March 28, 2017
The Cuckoo's Calling, Ripper Street, Victoria and more. Here's the best TV coming your way in 2017.
BBC 1 of 22
Doctor Who – The 10th series of the sci-fi series will air on 15th April
Do we ever see the real June?
There are moments a little bit of that person comes back. She starts saying things she never would have said that could get her into massive trouble or even killed.
The series is based on Margaret Atwood’s novel – was she involved?
Yes! It’s 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 profound novel and she is one of our greatest writers.
Was it hard adapting to becoming a Handmaid?
I remember having dinner with Margaret Atwood and, after she left, my co-stars Samira Wiley and Alexis Bledel and I were standing outside and trying to figure out the mechanics of our characters. They were like, “So, how far down do you put your head and how do you look from the side?” We were practicing on the street until eleven at night!
Are you similar to June?
What attracted me so much to the series is how close June was to me. If Gilead happened now, I would be a Handmaid. That was something that really struck me.
What excites you most about the series?
I’m excited for people to discover how positive and inspiring the story actually is.
The Handmaid’s Tale, 9pm tonight, Channel 4