Alexis Bledel will not be returning to Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. She confirmed to Variety on May 27 that she decided to “step away” from her role of Emily/Ofglen, who she has played since the hit show’s first season. “After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid’s Tale at this time,” the 40-year-old actress said in a statement. “I am forever grateful to Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support.”
The Handmaid’s Tale was one of Alexis’ most notable television shows aside from Gilmore Girls, in which she starred opposite Lauren Graham, 55, between 2000 and 2007. During Alexis’ four seasons with Handmaid’s Tale, she won one Emmy and was nominated a total of four times. She is also known for 2002’s Tuck Everlasting and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants franchise.
In 2017, the mother of one revealed why she was attracted to the character of Emily in the show, which is an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s most popular novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. “The challenge of it was really appealing, because it is so different from the other work I’ve done,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. She then credited Samantha Morton’s character in Woody Allen’s The Sweet and Lowdown for being the inspiration behind her acting on the Hulu show. “She communicated so much emotionally without speaking, and it stayed with me even though I only saw the movie once. I knew how much was possible without words,” Alexis noted. Samantha played a mute woman in the 2000 film, and Alexis’ character in Handmaid’s Tale is also mute.
The Handmaid’s Tale is expected to see its fifth season debut later this year. The show also stars Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Max Minghella, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, Amanda Brugel, Bradley Whitford, Sam Jaeger, O-T Fagbenle, and Nini Kiri. The show is based in a futuristic dystopian society ruled by fundamentalists who see women as property and treat many as simply baby-rearing bodies. None of Alexis’ co-stars have commented on her exit from the series as of this writing.
It is not known how Alexis’ exit will be portrayed on the show. Her character’s current plotline at the end of the fourth season did not seem to set up a smooth exit.