Margaret Atwood is one of the most celebrated Canadian authors of all time. Her hit books have included The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood. She currently serves as a consulting producer on Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, which was filmed in Toronto. This is what she thinks of the series.
The Handmaid’s Tale stars Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss and Gilmore Girls‘ Alexis Bledel. In the fictional Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian theocracy that has overthrown the United States government, women are brainwashed into being wives, slaves, and breeders of a new and pure generation. In this dystopian society, living conditions are below standard and everyone is fearful of the new police force. The first episode of the 10-episode series will be released on Hulu on April 26, 2017.
Atwood participated in a Reddit AMA in early March, where she was open and honest about her favorite movies, authors, and what she thought of this series. First, she states she had no involvement in the casting but is very happy with the cast, who all gave it “every ounce of energy.” She admits she’s only seen three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale so far, but she rates them a 10 out of 10. “The upcoming Hulu TV series is even more up-to-date and chilling than the book.” She said by the third episode, which goes further back than she ever did in her novel, she was a “puddle of goo on the floor.”
She mentions “up-to-date” because she believes that, although she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale back in 1985, it’s even more relevant to the current state of American politics, especially women’s health. Elisabeth Moss said in an interview, “We never wanted the show to be this relevant.” Atwood agrees: “We are now in what is being called the 3rd wave: seeing a lot of pushback against women, and also a lot of women pushing back in turn.” She’s shocked that women’s health has to be defended in the United States and urges people to “be informed, be aware.”
The Handmaid’s Tale has been adapted for screen previously in the 1990 movie starring the late Natasha Richardson. Since Atwood began writing her novel in West Berlin and the film was set in West and East Berlin as the Wall was being dismantled, she said the story was “framed in people’s minds in a different way,” compared to the series. She said the Hulu adaptation is a different proposition as it could “build out and deep dive” because it has more time.
Atwood revealed she does have a cameo role in the series, but has declined to mention who she will portray.