But it turns out that's not the case. Speaking with Wealth Simple, the woman whose novel is the basis for the provocative and frightening dystopian series revealed that she got no money at all for the rights to the book, and only a relatively small fee as an executive consultant on the show.
Why is that the case? Well, as Atwood explained, she doesn't actually own the film/TV rights to the book, which was first adapted as a movie 28 years ago:
"The Handmaid’s Tale television series was not my deal. I sold the rights to MGM in 1990 to make a movie -- so when the TV rights were sold to Hulu, the money went to MGM. We did not have a negotiating position. I did get brought on as an executive consultant, but that wasn’t a lot of money. People think it’s been all Hollywood glamour since the TV show happened, but that’s not happening to me. But book sales have been brisk, so there’s that."
If more people end up discovering Atwood's original book -- as well as her other works -- that's at least a silver lining (indeed, more of her books are being adapted as we speak). The Handmaid's Tale, with its grim portrayal of a future American theocracy in which fertile women are used as breeders for the nation's elite ruling class, couldn't have come to Hulu at a more relevant time, as women's rights and the #MeToo movement took center stage in the past year while the show's first season played out.
Now with a second season in production -- and Atwood again involved -- the author says she almost wishes her book wasn't so prescient:
"I’m glad people are talking about The Handmaid’s Tale again. Every election, there’s a surge in book sales. But I would like to live in a society where people are not saying, 'Oh my god, this is where this is going to happen.' I would prefer this not to be happening. It’s like that sign that someone was holding up during the Women’s March: 'I can’t believe I’m still holding up this f**king sign.'"
Hopefully, Atwood at least got a raise for Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale, which premieres Apr. 25 on Hulu.