Elisabeth Moss knows a thing or two about playing a strong woman — and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ may be the most intense presentation of that we’ve ever seen. HollywoodLife.com caught up with the actress and her co-star, Yvonne Strahovski, to hear more about the horrifying world in the show.
“Apparently being a copywriter in New York City in the 60s wasn’t enough sexism for me. I was like, ‘Nope I’m going to join a totalitarian state,'” Elisabeth Moss, 34, told HollywoodLife.com and other reporters during the premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale at Tribeca Film Festival. Of course, she’s referencing the epic role of Peggy that she played in Mad Men.
This time around, she plays Offred, a woman forced into a totalitarian society as a handmaid to bear children for their masters. The show, based on Margaret Atwood‘s 1985 dystopian novel, takes a look at the dark, horrifying world — one that takes women’s rights away completely. Many have seen parallels in today’s world.
“Its scary, it’s unfortunate, it’s very surreal,” Elisabeth told us about the relation to rights being taken away from women today, adding that she was drawn to it because she loves playing a woman who is real. “It’s important for me to play women as they are. They’re all human beings and all human beings are different. Most humans are strong and vulnerable and complicated and have flaws. Sometimes, they’re heroic and sometimes they’re not. For me, it’s not important to play one thing. I like to do it all.”
Yvonne Strahovski actually plays Serena Joy Waterford, the wife of Commander Fred Waterford — who witnesses and partakes in the abuse of the other women.
“That was really really challenging,” she said about the role, especially the fact that she played a woman who didn’t support other women. “Serena is a woman who has put herself in a position of power, but I think she’s dealing with her own survival at the same time. When you’re given that type of brutal power, how far do you take that? And I think she takes that obviously pretty far as the season goes on. You have to ask yourself, in the real world, why are people doing what they’re doing?”
Yvonne, who rose to fame with roles in Chuck and Dexter, admitted that this one has been one of the most difficult. “There has been some great characters I’ve gotten to play. This is probably the hardest to relate to,” she added. “There’s not a lot that’s redeemable about her. It was a really interesting process to sit with her and try to figure out why she does what she does. That was tough.”
The first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale hit Hulu on April 26. Will you be watching?