Margaret Atwood’s beloved 1985 feminist dystopic novel The Handmaid’s Tale is not only becoming a series, but a series that stars the seemingly always-excellent Elisabeth Moss, of feminist crime drama Top of the Lake and the maybe not-quite-as-feminist-but-particularly-with-her-character-Peggy-pretty-feminist drama, Mad Men. With this and a whole new season of Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake incoming, post-Mad Men TV will, it seems, still be Elisabeth Moss’s playground, and what a great prospect that is.
The adaptation will be made by MGM TV and will air on Hulu, where it received a straight-to-series order. It hails from The 100 writer/producer (who also wrote the pilot of Jenji Kohan’s upcoming Salem Witch drama, The Devil You Know) Bruce Miller (he’s executive producing, writing and is the creator) along with Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears and Warren Littlefield. And, whatever this means, Margaret Atwood herself will serve as a consulting producer. Atwood said in a press release:
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. The Handmaid’s Tale is more relevant now than when it was written, and I am sure the series will be watched with great interest. I have read the first two scripts and they are excellent; I can hardly wait to see the finished episodes.
Moss will star as Offred, the central character and first person narrator in the novel, which is set in a male run Christian theocracy (imagine that) called the Republic of Gilead, wrought by a group who discarded the U.S. Constitution (after staging a terrorist attack by “Islamic extremists” that killed the most important government officials) and taking over the country; they keep women as “handmaids,” and Offred is assigned as one such handmaid to an official referred to as The Commander, along with his wife, to bear The Commander’s children (his wife, like many in this future, is infertile).
The series will air in 2017.