Margaret Atwood Ponders a Drake Cameo on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’


Ultra-famous, global zeitgeist-making Canadian artists Margaret Atwood and Drake have never met, as Atwood told Juno Diaz in an interview in the Boston Review. But that doesn’t mean they never will, particularly if Margaret Atwood gets her (newly declared) way.

In the interview, Diaz said that Atwood and Drake are Canada’s two “global superstars” (though one may feel it necessary to grudgingly throw the Bieb in there, too), and asked if she’d ever crossed paths with the only former Degrassi cast-member to duet with Rihanna and…have the most charted songs on the Billboard Hot 100 of any solo artist in history. Atwood responds, “I haven’t met Drake, but I have of course met people who have met Drake. But you have to realize how o-l-d I am. I’m not likely to go to the same parties. Or many parties at all, to be frank.”

Perhaps as a means of strategically sidestepping a question about whether she’s listened to his music, she suggests, “Wouldn’t it be fun for him to have a cameo in season two of The Handmaid’s Tale?…I’ll drop that notion into the ear of Bruce Miller, the showrunner, and see what he can do with that, because of course the show is filmed in Toronto. Maybe Drake could help smuggle someone?” Then, at the end of the interview, she emphasizes once again, “You’ve given me a new idea. Drake in The Handmaid’s Tale!”

Was this the display of a new character being conceived in real-time, or just banter? Probably the latter, but only time plus Drake and Margaret Atwood will tell. If she keeps doing interviews while the second season’s being conceived, perhaps we’ll end up with roles for the Bieb, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ryan Gosling, and Alanis Morissette as well. Though, right, presumably the point of this series is to create a horrific portrait of an oppressive misogynist theocratic regime and the people operating within it and those trying to break it.

The rest of the interview, speaking of which, is well worth a read, and covers everything from Atwood’s assertion that she never put anything into her novel that people haven’t already done, to a great question from Diaz about the series’ muting of the racialized totalitarian horrors mentioned in the book, to a question about what dogma would be at the core of an American totalitarianism. Indeed, the interviews surrounding this series often come with a sense of immense contemporary unease — interspersed occasionally with some light Drake banter.