Mad Men alum Elisabeth Moss is about to make Peggy Olson very proud. Moss will star in the upcoming adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu.
Margaret Atwood’s feminist novel, published in 1985, tells the story of Gilead, a totalitarian society that overthrows the democracy of the United States and takes away women’s rights in pursuance of restoring order. Offred, the protagonist of the book who tells the story from her point of view, is a handmaid -- a woman who was used only to reproduce, since Gilead’s dictatorship is suffering from declining births. The book -- and, we certainly hope that the show, as well -- centers on many important themes such as gender and class, and it is an empowering tale of the strength of a woman and women in general.
Elisabeth Moss will play Offred and will, surely, be magnificent at portraying her struggles as she tries to find the daughter that was taken away from her. The seven-time Emmy-nominated actress and Golden Globe winner has plenty of experience portraying tough women who defy odds, such as Mad Men’s Peggy Olson and Top of the Lake’s Robin Griffin.
The adaptation, ordered straight to series by Hulu, has Atwood as a consulting producer. Daniel Wilson, Frans Sears, Warren Littlefield and Bruce Miller are executive producing the 10-episode series. Miller (The 100) is also writing the script, originally penned by Empire showrunner, Ilene Chaiken.
Margaret Atwood has said that she read the first two scripts and found them to be “excellent,” adding, “I am thrilled that MGM and Hulu are developing The Handmaid’s Tale as a series, and extra thrilled that the very talented Elisabeth Moss will be playing the central character.”
Craig Erwich, Hulu’s senior VP and head of content stated, “Hulu has established itself as a home for blockbuster television events and what better way to expand our originals offering than with a series based on this acclaimed, bestselling novel. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was seen as ahead of its time and we look forward to bringing it to life on our platform.”
MGM's Mark Burnett, president of television and digital, and Steve Stark, president of television development and production, also gave their take on the news, affirming, “The Handmaid’s Tale is a project that we have been committed to bringing to life as its story remains as powerful today as it did when Margaret first published her novel. The Handmaid’s Tale has won multiple awards, inspiring a film, a graphic novel, an opera, a ballet and finally, for the first time, a compellingly immersive drama series that has found the perfect home at Hulu and its star in Elisabeth Moss.”
Hulu is still behind streaming-giant Netflix regarding original content, but it is slowly becoming more ambitious. Last year, we saw Hulu premiering the James Franco-helmed 11.22.1963 and the cult thriller The Path, starring Aaron Paul, Hugh Dancy and Michelle Monaghan. The streaming service is also developing three new shows -- besides The Handmaid’s Tale -- including Chance, starring Hugh Laurie, and Shut Eye, with Jeffrey Donovan and Kadee Strickland.
The Handmaid’s Tale will premiere in 2017.