Under His Eye. One of the best new shows of 2017, Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale is set to return for a 13-episode second season next week. Based on author Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel of the same name, the dystopian TV series deeply resonated with viewers and received both critical and fan acclaim.
Ahead of Season 2, executive producer Warren Littlefield sat down with SYFY WIRE's Tara Bennett to talk about what's coming up in the new season for the excellent award-winning series. When asked what was the conversation like when planning how much to depart from the book, and how much to fold in what hasn’t been used yet, Littlefield said that Atwood's narrative always informs them but that they're also "going beyond it."
"One of the goals for Season 2 was to expand the world. Our lens in creating Gilead in Year One was very tightly controlled in an effort to have the audience believe it's real. So, as producers, we just want to make every single frame reinforce the reality of that world," Littlefield told us. Then he went on to explain what we can expect for Year Two.
"Margaret never went in the book to the colonies but the colonies loomed large in her novel. So we felt 'let’s go there,'" Littlefield explained. "It's appropriate that we expand our world, we're gonna open it up, and we're also going to not only see that world where women are sentenced to and what they have to endure, but we're also going to get a better understanding of how did Gilead come to be. What were the events that led up to the world that we're portraying now? Because it's really an alternative now. We're able with our historical multiple storylines… we go back and forth in time. Let's go to an airport. Let's go to places where you feel the change happening. And I think that's chilling and powerful."
Littlefield added that they will always use flashbacks because it informs so much of the story and the characters and revealed that since the success of the show, they've been getting calls from agents representing clients that really want to be part of The Handmaid's Tale. Which is a pretty nifty place to be for them. Littlefield also revealed which episode he's looking forward for us to see the most, and opened up about Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei guest-starring on the show.
"There was a wonderful role, Mrs. O'Connor, in the second hour of the season and we talked about it and said: 'Who would be at the absolute top of our list?' Marisa Tomei," said Littlefield. "And Marisa Tomei said 'It would be an honor to be a part of your show.' I spent a lot of time working with her during that shoot and all she cared about was delivering for The Handmaid's Tale. She stressed over it and she was intimidated by us and we were like, 'You're Marisa Tomei!' But what a great creative relationship it was. It's a powerful episode."
The Handmaid's Tale stars Elisabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, Samira Wiley, Yvonne Strahovski, Joseph Fiennes, Max Minghella, Ann Dowd, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle and Amanda Brugel. The series will premiere on April 25 on Hulu. Check out our exclusive video interview for more.
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.