Ann Dowd (Aunt Lydia) was in the midst of filming Good Behavior (2016) in Wilmington, NC, when she received a call from her agent about the script. After one read, she accepted right away. She can be seen in the current box office supernatural-horror hit, Hereditary
In an April 2018 interview with Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams, Amanda Brugel (Rita) said that as the self-described "lone Canadian in the cast," The Handmaid's Tale changed her life long before she won a role in the show. She was assigned Margaret Atwood's novel as a 15-year-old high school student and subsequently wrote some short stories based on it. Later she wrote her university application thesis on the novel and received a full scholarship on that basis. Brugel said that the main focus of that university application essay was Rita, the character she now plays on the show.
Margaret Atwood, the source novel's author, makes a cameo as an aunt in Episode 1. She is the one who slaps Offred when she is reluctant to join in the group shaming circle.
Margaret Atwood has said that pretty much everything that happens in the novel has happened somewhere in history: The Bible, the Iranian revolution of 1978-79, the backlash against 1980s feminism, etc.
There were no black characters in the original source novel, because Gilead (the repressive theocratic regime that had taken over the US government by the time the book starts) had classified all black people as Children of Ham. This is a reference to the belief held by some fundamentalist Christian denominations that black people are descended from Noah's son Ham and are therefore subject to a "curse" leveled at Ham by Noah. In the novel, black people are forcibly resettled in the upper Midwest (Chapter 14). The producers of this show made a conscious choice to deviate from that aspect of the book so that there would be a chance to include black characters (and actors) in the show, including the casting of Samira Wiley as Offred's friend and fellow handmaid Moira. In a January 2017 interview with "TVLine", executive producer Bruce Miller explained that the producers engaged in a "huge discussion with Margaret Atwood, and in some ways it is 'TV vs. book' thing," arguing that in a TV show it would be harder than in a book to explain the persistent absence of black characters. He continued, "What's the difference between making a TV show about racists and making a racist TV show? Why would we be covering [the story of handmaid Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss], rather than telling the story of the people of color who got sent off to Nebraska?" He also justified it by reporting that the "evangelical movement has gotten a lot more integrated [since the book's publication, and] I made the decision that fertility trumped everything." The source novel also included a brief explanation for the absence of Jewish characters in the story: the Gileadean government gave them the options of either converting to Christianity or emigrating to Israel - though the ones who chose emigration were really loaded onto ships that were then dumped into the ocean.
Margaret Atwood has said that she was greatly inspired by George Orwell's classic dystopian novel, "1984".
In the novel, Offred's Commander and Serena Joy are much older than they are portrayed in the series. They are described as wrinkled with gray hair; Serena Joy relies on a cane to walk.
In the original novel by Margaret Atwood, the main character is known only by her patronymic, Offred (or "of Fred," since she "belongs" to a Commander named Fred). Her real name is never revealed, though many readers interpret her name to be June, based on various subtle hints in the text. In a 2017 article for the "New York Times Book Review", author Margaret Atwood says about the interpretation, "That was not my original thought, but it fits, so readers are welcome to it if they wish." In the 1990 film adaptation of the novel, The Handmaid's Tale (1990), the filmmakers chose Kate as her pre-Gileadean name, and state it clearly.
Original author Margaret Atwood was quite involved in the script adaptation of her 1985 novel insofar as the update of the vernacular over the intervening 32 years. According to producer Bruce Miller, she had to ask the scriptwriters to explain the meaning of the term "carpet munchers."
First show produced by subscription streaming site "Hulu" to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series (Sept. 17, 2017 / Microsoft Theater).
In a "New York Times" essay published in March 2017, as well as in the new introduction to a 2017 edition of her novel "The Handmaid's Tale," Margaret Atwood said that when she started writing the book, her title for it was "Offred." This is the name given to the main character by the repressive regime that is enslaving her. In addition to its primary meaning (that she is the property of a commander named Fred), Atwood also explained that she intended for the name to also remind the reader of the word "offered," meaning, "denoting a religious offering or a victim offered for sacrifice."
The popularity of this series prompted a surge of renewed interest in Atwood's book, which had never been out of print since its publication in 1985. The film adaptation, The Handmaid's Tale (1990), on the other hand, had become almost entirely forgotten and so difficult to find that the demand for it on Amazon and eBay had risen to such an extent that some consumers had reportedly paid upward of $100 for an original copy.
In an essay that was published in the "New York Times" in March 2017 and also as the new introduction to a 2017 edition of her novel "The Handmaid's Tale", Margaret Atwood explained that the inspiration for the handmaids' uniforms and especially their face-hiding headdresses "came not only from mid-Victorian costume and from nuns, but from the Old Dutch Cleanser package of the 1940s, which showed a woman with her face hidden, and which frightened me as a child."
Most of the source novel was set in and around Cambridge, MA. In October 2016 some of this series' exterior scenes were shot in another Cambridge: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Margaret Atwood was born in Ontario.
Elisabeth Moss starred as Peggy Olsen in the critically acclaimed series Mad Men (2007). Alexis Bledel was also on the series during Season 5.
The repressive theocratic regime that has taken over the U.S. in this show and in its source novel is called "The Republic of Gilead." Gilead is mentioned repeatedly in the Bible, first in Genesis 31:23, both as a geographic location and the source of a figurative or literal balm (curative or healing substance). There is a spiritual called "There Is a Balm in Gilead" that is in the hymnals of many Christian denominations, and in the book "The Handmaid's Tale," Offred remembers the hymn. She even makes a joke to herself about it, thinking, "there is a bomb in Gilead."
In the source novel, no last name is provided to the reader for the character of Nick. In this television adaptation, his name is "Nick Blaine." This means that his name is one letter away from the name of the anti-heroic (and ultimately heroic) main character in the classic movie Casablanca (1942), Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart). Rick initially claims that he is politically neutral and would "stick his neck out for no one," but he eventually sides with the Resistance to help both an anti-fascist cause and a woman he cares about.
When Offred and the Commander play Scrabble for the first time, the first two tiles they turn over are the letters "M" and "A,". They are the initials of the author of the show's source novel, "The Handmaid's Tale"--Margaret Atwood.
Saturday Night Live: Chris Pine/LCD Soundsystem (2017) (TV Episode) -
Spoofed in Handmaid's tale prerecorded sketch
Eretz Nehederet: Episode #15.1 (2017) (TV Episode) -
The cleaners at Netanyahu's house
Saturday Night Live: Amy Schumer/Kacey Musgraves (2018) (TV Episode) -
Spoofed as 'Handmaids in the City'.
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PARENTS GUIDE FOR THE HANDMAID'S TALE (2017)
Australia:MA15+ Brazil:16 Canada:14A (Manitoba/Ontario, DVD rating) Canada:13+ (Quebec) Denmark:15 Finland:K-16 France:12 Germany:16 Italy:VM18 Netherlands:16 New Zealand:R16 Norway:15 Russia:18+ Sweden:15 United Kingdom:15 United States:TV-MA
Sex & Nudity:
Episode 1: a man (fully clothed) is seen thrusting in a woman (also fully clothed) while another woman is there. (No nudity)
A woman is standing at a window we see her behind, although it is very dark and barely visible.
A man is about to have sex with a woman but it is implied that he cannot get an erection and keeps trying (no actual nudity). He then leaves the room and the other woman walks behinds him. She starts kissing his man parts (no genitals shown); she then wants to give him a blowjob but he asks her to stop.
The series involves multiple sex scenes involving a woman lying down on a bed being held by her mistress while a man thrusts into her. Such scenes involve no nudity
A woman wakes up to find out that her genitals have been removed (no actual nudity)
Violence & Gore:
Handmaids consistently beaten, raped and shot
Homosexuals hanged in public
Meeting of Commanders bombed
One handmaid has her eye plucked out for resisting and backtalk
Use of the F bomb
D word for male genitals
C word for female genitals
Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking
Several characters seen smoking
Drinking during the forbidden nightclub scene
Frightening & Intense Scenes:
See above for Violence & Gore
THE HANDMAID'S TALE (2017 AWARDS
GOLDEN GLOBES, USA 2018
Winner - Best Television Series - Drama
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama - Elisabeth Moss
Nominee - Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television - Ann Dowd
PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS 2017
Winner - Primetime Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series - Elisabeth Moss For playing: "Offred".
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Ann Dowd For playing: "Aunt Lydia".
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series - Reed Morano For episode: "Offred".
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series - Bruce Miller For episode: "Offred".
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series - Alexis Bledel For playing: "Ofglen". For episode: "Late".
Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More) - Julie Berghoff (production designer),
Evan Webber (art director), Sophie Neudorfer (set decorator)
For episode: "Offred (Pilot)" Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour) - Colin Watkinson (director of photography)
For "Offred" (pilot) Outstanding Drama Series - Bruce Miller (executive producer), Warren Littlefield (executive producer), Daniel Wilson (executive producer),
Fran Sears (executive producer), Ilene Chaiken (executive producer), Sheila Hockin (co-executive producer), Eric Tuchman (co-executive producer), Frank Siracusa (co-executive producer), John Weber (co-executive producer), Kira Snyder (supervising producer), Elisabeth Moss (producer), Joseph Boccia (produced by), Leila Gerstein (consulting producer)
Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Samira Wiley For playing: "Moira".
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series - Kate Dennis For episode: "The Bridge".
Outstanding Period/Fantasy Costumes for a Series, Limited Series or Movie - Ane Crabtree (costume designer), Sheena Wichary (costume supervisor) For episode "Offred (Pilot)"
Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series - Sharon Bialy (casting director), Sherry Thomas (casting director), Russell Scott (casting director), Robin D. Cook (location casting director)
SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS 2018
Nominee - Actor Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series - Elisabeth Moss
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series - Madeline Brewer, Amanda Brugel, Ann Dowd, O-T Fagbenle, Joseph Fiennes, Tattiawna Jones, Max Minghella, Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley
academy of science fiction, fantasy & horror films, usa 2018
Saturn Award Best New Media Television Series
AFI AWARDS, USA 2018
AFI Award TV Program of the Year - THE HANDMAID'S TALE imagines a dystopian world too timely to dismiss as fiction. Margaret Atwood's seminal novel planted the seeds for Bruce Miller's haunting cautionary tale, and the rich, red flowers that bloom are poisoned with power dynamics all too real in our world today. What resonates with a booming echo in this waking nightmare is the indomitable will of the women who resist - a heroism embodied in a towering performance by Elisabeth Moss.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION (AAFCA) 2017
AAFCA Award Top 10 TV Shows - 6th place
AMERICAN CINEMA EDITORS, USA 2018
Eddie Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television - Julian Clarke, Wendy Hallam Martin for Episode: "The Handmaid's Tale: Offred (2017)"
ART DIRECTORS GUILD 2018
Excellence in Production Design Award One Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Television Series - Julie Berghoff (production designer), Nicolas Lepage (art director), Evan Webber (art director), Henry Fong (illustrator), Sean Scoffield (graphic designer), Theresa Shain (graphic artist), Christina Kuhnigk (set decorator),
Episodes: "The Handmaid's Tale: Offred (2017)", "The Handmaid's Tale: Birth Day (2017)", and "The Handmaid's Tale: Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum (2017)"
Excellence in Production Design Award One Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Television Series - Andrew M. Stearn (production designer), Evan Webber (art director), J. Ryan Halpenny (set designer), Sean Scoffield (graphic designer), Mauro Iacobelli (scenic artist), Christina Kuhnigk (set decorator),
Episode: "The Handmaid's Tale: The Bridge (2017)"
BROADCAST FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2018
Critics Choice Award Best Actress in a Drama Series - Elisabeth Moss
Best Drama Series
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Ann Dowd
CANADIAN CINEMA EDITORS AWARDS 2018
Canadian Cinema Editors Award Best Editing in 1 Hour Scripted - Wendy Hallam Martin For episode "Late"
Canadian Cinema Editors Award Best Editing in 1 Hour Scripted - Christopher Donaldson For episode "Birth Day"
CINEMA AUDIO SOCIETY, USA 2018
C.A.S. Award Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series One Hour - John J. Thomson (producton mixer), Lou Solakofski (re-recording mixer), Joe Morrow (re-recording mixer), Don White (foley mixer)
Episode: "The Handmaid's Tale: Offred (2017)"
COSTUME DESIGNERS GUILD AWARDS 2018
CDG Award Outstanding Contemporary Television Series - Ane Crabtree
DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA, USA 2018
DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series - Reed Morano For episode "Offred"
EMPIRE AWARDS, UK 2018
Empire Award Best TV Series
Best Actress in a TV Series - Elisabeth Moss
ENVIRONMENTAL MEDIA AWARDS, USA 2017
EMA Award Television Episodic Drama For the episode "A Woman's Place"
GAY AND LESBIAN ENTERTAINMENT CRITICS ASSOCIATION (GALECA) 2018
Dorian Award TV Drama of the Year
TV Performance of the Year - Actress - Elisabeth Moss
GLAAD MEDIA AWARDS 2018
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Drama Series
GOLD DERBY AWARDS 2017
Gold Derby TV Award Drama Lead Actress - Elisabeth Moss
Drama Guest Actress - Alexis Bledel
Gold Derby TV Award Drama Series
GOLDEN TRAILER AWARDS 2017
Golden Trailer Best Drama/Action TV Series Poster - Hulu P+A
HOLLYWOOD MAKEUP ARTIST AND HAIR STYLIST GUILD AWARDS 2018
Artisan Best Contemporary Makeup - Television and New Media Series -Burton J. LeBlanc, Talia Reingold, Erika Caceres
IGN SUMMER MOVIE AWARDS 2017
IGN Award Best TV Series
Best New TV Series
Best TV Drama Series
Best Dramatic TV Performance - Elisabeth Moss
IMAGE AWARDS 2018
Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Samira Wiley
LOCATION MANAGERS GUILD INTERNATIONAL AWARDS (LMGI) 2018
Outstanding Achievement Award Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary Television Series - John Musikka, Geoffrey Smither
MOTION PICTURE SOUND EDITORS, USA 2018
Golden Reel Award Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Music Score and Musical for Episodic Short Form Broadcast Media - Yuri Gorbachow (supervising music editor), Lise Beauchesne (music editor)
Episode: "The Handmaid's Tale: Offred (2017)"
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Dialogue and ADR for Episodic Short Form Broadcast Media - David McCallum (supervising sound editor, supervising dialogue editor), Jane Tattersall (supervising sound editor), Dale Sheldrake (supervising adr editor), Brent Pickett (dialogue editor)
Episode: "The Handmaid's Tale: Offred (2017)"
ONLINE FILM & TELEVISION ASSOCIATION 2017
OFTA Television Award Best Drama Series
Best Actress in a Drama Series - Elisabeth Moss
Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series - Alexis Bledel
Best Ensemble in a Drama Series
Best Direction in a Drama Series
Best Writing in a Drama Series
Best Editing in a Series
OFTA Television Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Ann Dowd
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Samira Wiley
Best Cinematography in a Series
Best Production Design in a Series
Best Costume Design in a Series
Best Makeup/Hairstyling in a Series
Best Sound in a Series
Best Visual Effects in a Series
PGA AWARDS 2018
PGA Award Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama -Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Ilene Chaiken, Sheila Hockin, Eric Tuchman, Frank Siracusa, John Weber, Joseph Boccia, Elisabeth Moss, Kira Snyder, Leila Gerstein, Margaret Atwood (producing team), Dorothy Fortenberry (producing team), Wendy Straker Hauser (producing team), Melissa Girotti (producing team), Eleanor Mendes (producing team), Corrie Gudgeon (producing team), Kathryn Blythe (producing team)
SATELLITE AWARDS 2017
Satellite Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television - Ann Dowd
Best Actress in a Series, Drama/Genre - Elisabeth Moss
Satellite Award Best Television Series, Drama
TELEVISION CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2017
TCA Award Outstanding Achievement in Drama Program of the Year
TCA Award Individual Achievement in Drama - Elisabeth Moss
Outstanding New Program
USC SCRIPTER AWARD 2018
USC Scripter Award Television - Bruce Miller (screenwriter), Margaret Atwood (author) for the episode "The Handmaid's Tale: Offred (2017)," based from the novel by Margaret Atwood.
WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, USA 2018
WGA Award (TV) Dramatic Series -Ilene Chaiken, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Leila Gerstein, John Herrera, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder, Wendy Straker Hauser, Eric Tuchman, Lynn Renee Maxcy, New Series -Ilene Chaiken, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Leila Gerstein, John Herrera, Bruce Miller, Lynn Renee Maxcy, Kira Snyder, Wendy Straker Hauser, Eric Tuchman
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