Thursday, April 27, 2017

Big Little Lies: Which Audrey Hepburn look would you choose?


Over on the Big Little Lies Facebook group—don't you love these groups where you can join in on a real active convo about your favorite book or movie?—one of the members, Jodie Shaffer French shared some pictures of the actors rocking their Audrey Hepburn looks from the Big Little Lies finale.

I know that for a lot of you Big Little Lies is in the rear view mirror but it looks like they’re doing a second season—Bonnie is rumored to have a more extensive part—so I know some of you are still interested. 

Anyway, I stole Jodie’s idea and found the images over on Vulture.com. I love the idea that the actor is portraying a character portraying an actor portraying a character! 


 Reese as Madeleine as Audrey as Holly Go Lightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Nicole as Celeste as Audrey as Holly Go Lightly


Shailene Woodley as Jane as Audrey as Holly Go Lightly 



Laura Dern as Renata as Audrey as Eliza in My Fair Lady


 Zoe Kravitz as Bonnie as Audrey as Eliza 

If you were going to a costume party and Audrey Hepburn was the costume muse, which role would you choose? Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady and Holly Go Lightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s are about as iconic as you can get, but what about ...

 Sabrina 

Jo in Funny Face?



 Princess Ann in Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck, yes, that might be the one for me! How about the rest of you, which Audrey Hepburn character would you love to dress up like?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Handmaid's Tale starring Elizabeth Moss: My take on the Hulu series Ep 1-3

Sleep has been tough lately, I’m so excited about our upcoming trip to Europe, my head so full of plans and anticipation I toss and turn the whole night through. So when I woke up at 5am this morning, I decided to I might as well get up and watch a little morning Joe with a cup of joe. Until I remembered The Handmaid’s Tale was ready to stream on Hulu. 

I was thrilled to find Hulu had released the first three episodes and, yep, I watched all three of them.

No spoilers.

The show begins in the past with Offred, her husband and their daughter, running, trying to get away. It’s terrifying; a dramatic depiction that gave vivid life to a scene that author Margaret Atwood only alludes to in her taut and restrained dystopian novel. 


Another unwanted wall

That’s how the series goes. Everything Atwood wrote about this future world where toxic chemicals are so rampant that many women have lost their ability to bear children, the women who are fruitful, forced to bear the babies of their superiors, is all there. But there is so much more. The horrifying possibilities that may have crossed your mind—and more—when you read Atwood’s novel, are fully developed in the series. 


Yvonne Strahovsky is Serena Joy

Written by Bruce Miller based on Atwood’s book, the show goes back and forth between Gilead (the former US) with the dictatorship in full reign, and ‘‘the time before’’  back when women were still free individuals. What’s terrifying is seeing how the changes to the society came slowly into place. So slowly that when a right is taken away, it’s hard for the citizens to believe it is really happening. But it is.

Samira Wiley is Moira

It would be hard for any left leaning liberal like myself not to see parallels between the series and the current political climate where our right wing government seems intent on denying us rights — women’s rights, LBGTQ rights, voting rights, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and the intention to turn back Roe VS Wade. The little by little erosion of those rights is not an irrational fear, women in Texas are already living in a state where the government consistently seeks ways to make abortion difficult if not impossible. If abortion laws are returned to the states, Texas lawmakers will get their way and ban abortion altogether. Women in Texas who have abortions are already forced to participate in funerals for the fetus, and Arkansas, Louisiana, and Indiana, have similar “funeral for fetuses” laws in the works. THAT’S why The Handmaid’s Tale feels so frightening. 


Finding the entertainment in the horror is possible because we see the possibility of a world like the one the book and the series paints but we don’t really believe it could happen. One thing I know, we have to make sure it doesn’t. We have to RESIST.

As far as pure entertainment goes, the first three episodes have me hooked. Director Reed Morano—a woman, by the way, cast the show perfectly, and brings the world I pictured while reading the book to life clearly. Elizabeth Moss plays Offred, her determination to be brave and bold buffered by her survival instincts. Samira Wiley is Moira, Offred’s friend from before, a woman who felt free to speak her mind, loudly and fearlessly, chastened by the new order where free speech will get you nothing but punishment from the aunts. 



Ann Dowd is Aunt Lydia

Aunt Lydia the overseer who seems to enjoy doling out the cruelty, is played with a frightening zeal by Ann Dowd while Alexis Bledel is the gay Ofglen who comes to trust and befriend Moss. According to Aunt Lydia ‘gay’ is not a word anyone is allowed to use, she calls Ofglen a Gender Traitor. I don’t remember the derisive label from Margaret Atwood’s book, it may be one of the many additions by the series creators; it’s certainly a fitting one for the world of Gilead.

Alexis Bledel is Ofglen

Like I said, I’m hooked. But my husband and I will be away from our tv when the next episode airs a week from now and traveling in Europe for the rest of the month.  I guess I’ll have something to look forward to when we come home! In the meantime, let me know what you think of the show in the comments section. With Big Little Lies a memory and Feud: Bette and Joan now in the rearview mirror, is The Handmaid’s Tale your new must-see TV?


PS I know. I didn’t mention the men. Joseph Fiennes is the commander, Max Minghella is his driver Nick with O-T Fagbenle as Luke, Offred’s husband. More, another time.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Cousin Rachel: Rachel Weisz VS Olivia de Havilland—Trailer VS Trailer


Let’s play trailer VS trailer. 

We talked about the upcoming remake of My Cousin Rachel back in 2016. The original starred Olivia de Havilland, who Feud watchers got to know a little better over the last couple of months as a friend to Bette Davis, played by Catherine Zeta Jones. Don't forget you can catch up and watch the awesome Feud: Bette and Joan series on FX on Demand.

The remake starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin is set for release in select theaters on June 9th. Have you watched the trailer? Rachel Weisz, looking gorgeous, has Sam Claflin wrapped around her fingers. Seduction, entrapment. I love seeing films that show women in a dark light, as powerful and dangerous as any male villain.

Watch the trailer. Based on the classic novel by Daphne DuMaurier it’s a real killer.




Now let’s watch the original. Don’t you love the melodramatic vibe? Richard Burton was a newbie with an intensity that’s quite different from Sam Claflin’s style. But it’s the women we’re watching today. A warning to the men out there, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. What do you think? 


Monday, April 24, 2017

Feud: Bette & Joan: The finale is not for sissies

Quoting Bette Davis “Old age ain’t no place for sissies” Antonia Blythe writing in Deadline notes the age factor is especially true for women in Hollywood. 

I’m a self-described crier but last night’s Feud: Bette and Joan finale really got my waterworks running. It’s hard, no matter what your line of work or life experience, not to empathize with the two legendary stars aging before our eyes. As an older woman, that’s especially true. Blythe describes the series as following ‘‘the two Hollywood legends as they ‘age out’ of their acting careers and battle each other for supremacy.’’


Women, especially women of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s generation have always had a hard time in Hollywood, where looks were everything. When Joan Crawford’s dentist warns her that the bone loss caused by her missing back teeth is wreaking havoc with her health (Joan Crawford reportedly really did have a dental procedure called the buckle, in which the back teeth are removed to make the cheekbones more prominent) and that at her age she should be more concerned with her health than her looks, Crawford replies “I’ll stop worrying about how I look when they dip me in formaldehyde.” 


I get it Joan. Nobody wants to see an old woman’s wrinkles, sagging skin and jowls. As a boomer who turns the momentous 64 this year, I’m guilty of that same kind of thinking, avoiding cameras when possible. But wait, that kind of nonsense is over, isn’t it? Aren’t we all evolved and operating on a higher plane? Doesn’t a woman’s inner beauty count more than surface looks? Don’t her accomplishments, her experience, her wisdom outweigh all those superficial concerns? According to the producers, not so much. All you have to do is see how Hillary Clinton was tarred and feathered, her age, her looks, her potential health issues all fodder for critics in the last election.
“We shot the first four episodes thinking that Hillary Clinton was going to win, so those first four episodes were, ‘Haven’t we come so far!’ Then half-way through the shooting, the other scenario happened. It was a bracing slap of, ‘You know what? Nothing has really changed.’ It’s so hard to bring about that change that we all feel is necessary with how women are treated in our society. We worked harder at those things because it’s such a large story even today.”
I feel you Bette and Joan! And I’m so grateful that Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon leaned into playing the iconic stars, and telling their story.


“She was a great mystery,” Lange said about Crawfor. “I think part of is that she created Joan Crawford, and this was a character that she played, that was created as a collaboration between her and MGM, and she embraced it. She played it for the next 50 years. But what fascinated me about her wasn’t playing the role of Joan Crawford, as much as what was underneath. What was always just underneath the skin and behind the eyes, and that was Lucille LeSueur, who was this poor, abandoned, unloved, abused, poverty-stricken kid from San Antonio.”


“So many drag queens had already done it so much better, so I was up against that,” Susan Sarandon said of Bette Davis. “Of course I really admire her as an actor and she had been kind of chasing me for years in one form or another to do her, and I never found the right thing. This seemed to be the scariest right thing.”

I started watching Feud because I thought it would be great fun to see these two rivals come up against each other in the the making of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane — based on a book. I was expecting a hilarious cat fight—which we got to a degree in the earlier episodes—I wasn’t expecting to be so deeply moved by their plight. A battle for relevance beyond their surface shimmer, a fight to be recognized as the living breathing, intelligent, complicated, nuanced individuals they are beneath the makeup and mascara. A war women everywhere still wage.

Maybe you missed Feud: Bette and Joan? No worry, you can catch all the episodes at FX on demand. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Before Matt Damon was The Talented Mr. Ripley, there was Alain Delon


My husband and I are headed to Europe in just over a week. After a week in London, we're heading to Paris, Venice, Rome, the Italian coast and the south of France. Many of the locations visited by The Talented Mr. Ripley in Patricia Highsmith's book. Seems like a perfect time for a Plein Soleil redux.

Sparked by the news that there's another Patricia Highsmith book-to-movie in the works, a remake of Strangers on a Train, I decided to watch The Talented Mr. Ripley again. That's when I discovered that long before Matt Damon was the talented Tom Ripley in 1999, Alain Delon played Tom Ripley in the first adaptation of Highsmith's novel, the sexy French thriller Plein Soleil in 1960. It was Delon's breakout role, the part that made the impossibly gorgeous Frenchman a star. Plein Soleil (Full Sun or Blazing Sun) was released with English subtitles as Purple Noon. 

I decided to watch both films back to back; a delicious treat! Rather than talk about how the two versions differ — which they do in ways both small and large — may I just say Vive la Différence! and suggest you watch René Clément's Plein Soleil/Purple Noon for yourself. It's available on Amazon, GooglePlay and HuluPlus. Be warned: you may never look at The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Damon, the sexy and charismatic Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Philip Seymour Hoffman in quite the same way again. Matt Damon will always be magnifique but Alain Delon is, how do you say? — Ooh la la!  I've got trailers below.

















Dreaming of France? See what other Francophiles are posting at An Accidental Blog

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Michael Caine walked ‘straight into stardom' in 1965’s The Ipcress File


Since I'm hitting London in a week or so, today's post is a repeat featuring one of my favorite Brits. Let me know if you find the film streaming anywhere; I can't find it on any of the streaming service.

Everything old is new again

Robert Redford’s A Walk in the Woods did well at the box office. Richard Gere is getting some well deserved attention from Time Out of Mind. Lately I feel like I’m writing about actors who had their heyday in my own youth and are still ticking along. Michael Caine is back with another film. It’s called Youth and it looks like it’s about anything but. Youth—which isn’t based on a book and therefore ineligible for me to write about in this space as determined by the rules and regulations set forth when this book-to-movie blog was created (oops, that was me!)—looks, well, awesome!

But let’s not talk about that. I don’t want to have to fire myself from this non-paying position. Who else is going to work for free? (I also accept your comments; so please leave one.) On the other hand, don’t tell anyone but I might embed the trailer at the bottom of this post. Shhh.


“He walks straight into stardom as Harry Palmer” 

Caine, at 82, has worked for well over half a century in film—he got his start on British television in the early 1960’s—before breaking out in the movies. He made a bit of a name for himself in Zulu in 1964 and by 1966, with the release of Alfie, Michael Caine was a star. In between came The Ipcress File in 1965, in which Caine played a British sergeant with a bit of a criminal past forced to play spy. His mission, should he accept it, is to rescue a top British scientist. 

The movie won BAFTA’s Best Film as well as awards for its art direction and cinematography and is considered one of the best espionage films ever made. Based on the book by Len Deighton, The Ipcress File is today’s Saturday Matinee.

Known for its odd angles, cool sixties vibe, snappy dialogue, The Ipcress File is available to watch right now online at filmon.com and streamlord.com; it looks like you’ll have to order the disc from Amazon. Double check Netflix; it’s formerly been available but isn’t at the time of this writing.




Vintage ‘The Ipcress File’ Trailer

Oh, and here’s that top-secret trailer for Youth costarring Harvey Keitel. 
Remember, mum’s the word.

UPDATE: When I tweeted this post out, I got a very cool tweet in response from @EdwardHMO a media executive, Len Deighton authority and the designer of a truly nifty MovieGraphic for BFI :
 


Friday, April 21, 2017

I Love Dick: A tool of the Matriarchal Revolution


Ladies, we are having a moment. After years of living with faux equality—we thought that just because we could have sex with the same freedom men did, meant that we were judged equally, that we were paid equally—we seem to have woken up, and we’ve woken up with a passion. Thanks to computer hacks where we learned that even highly paid female stars are not paid as much as men, thanks to the pussy grabbing behavior of dinosaurs, epitomized by men like Cosby and Trump and O’Reilly, who believe powerful men can get away with anything, we’ve seen the light. We’re not going to let the guys continue with their bad boy behavior because we’re afraid of the repercussions. We’re taking our lives back into our own hands. In short, feminism is back in fashion. 

Hence, we have feminist programs like The Handmaid’s Tale coming to Amazon April 26th. Female empowered dramas like Big Little Lies on HBO that held the country hostage every Sunday night. The still running FuedBetty and Joan on FX, that reveals Hollywood’s obsession with age and beauty, an obsession that continues to drive the way we as women perceive ourselves.



Next up: I Love Dick. The new series is coming to Amazon via Transparent creator Jill Soloway who calls it “a tool of the Matriarchal Revolution.” 
I Love Dick is about the feminist movement, and it’s about the female gaze, and it’s about toppling the patriarchy, and saying ‘suck it’ to all men who would ask women not to have their loudest voice.’’
“Some people think of this book as the invention of the female gaze in literature,” Soloway said of feminist author Chris Kraus’ novel, on which the show is based.

About the series

In the show, Kathryn Hahn stars as a version of Kraus, a New York filmmaker who travels to Marfa, Texas with her academic husband (Griffin Dunne) for an artist’s residency, then finds herself sucked right into world of local art instructor, the charismatic cowboy Dick (Kevin Bacon).


About the book

When Chris Kraus, a 39 year old experimental filmmaker, falls in love with Dick __, a cultural critic, she writes him 200 letters. But because she is married and embarrassed and afraid to lose her husband, she invites him to collaborate. And her husband, the theorist and critic Sylvere Lotringer, complies. Strategically confessional, I Love Dick is a real-life chronicle of Kraus' desperate attempt to get adolescent romance right for the first time.
Want to watch the trailer? Of course you do!



Thursday, April 20, 2017

New trailer for 'The Beguiled' starring Nicole Kidman: We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!

Yesterday Focus Features released a brand new trailer for The Beguiled starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst. We played trailer VS trailer a few weeks back, comparing the trailer for this 2017 remake VS the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. 

But this newest trailer comes with a whole new intensity. If you liked the way the women came together in a big way in Big Little Lies,  you’ll love how the women work as a unit in this film. Because ladies, we are invincible, especially when we fight as a unit. The film seems perfectly timed to open in a period where women are mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore, especially when it comes to bad boy behavior. Yes, I’m talking to you Bill O’Reilly. I wonder how big the movie’s hashtag #VengefulBitches will trend? There’s already talk of t-shirts!

Like the 1971 version, The Beguiled is based on the book, The Painted Devil, by Thomas Cullinan. This time around, it’s directed by a woman, the acclaimed Sofia Coppola, best known for helming Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides. Watch for it to open on June 23. 


About the movie

“The Beguiled is an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola. The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.’ ~ Focus Features


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wakefield Starring Bryan Cranston: Read the Short Story | Watch the Trailer



It looks like Bryan Cranston has another hit on his hands. My husband, who had the pleasure of working with Cranston on Drive, said ‘‘He knocks it out of the park every time he turns around.’’ 

He does. The actor known for Breaking Bad has come a long long way from Malcolm in the Middle.

In Wakefield, Cranston plays Howard Wakefield, a lawyer who suffers a nervous breakdown and goes into hiding in his attic, leaving his wife (Jennifer Garner) and two daughters without any clue where he is or what’s happened. 
The film is based on E.L. Doctorow’s short story of the same name, which appeared in the January 14th, 2008 edition of the New Yorker. 

For my fellow supporters of women in film Wakefield is written and directed by Robin Swicord, the director of The Jane Austen Book Club and co-writer of the Academy Award winning film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.


The cast also includes Jason O’Mara and Beverly D’Angelo. Wakefield had its debut last year at Telluride before screening at TIFF. Now, we’re getting it here in the US on May 19th.


 

Wakefield by E. L. Doctorow

People will say that I left my wife and I suppose, as a factual matter, I did, but where was the intentionality? I had no thought of deserting her. It was a series of odd circumstances that put me in the garage attic with all the junk furniture and the raccoon droppings—which is how I began to leave her, all unknowing, of course—whereas I could have walked in the door as I had done every evening after work in the fourteen years and two children of our marriage. Diana would think of her last sight of me, that same morning, when she pulled up to the station and slammed on the brakes, and I got out of the car and, before closing the door, leaned in with a cryptic smile to say goodbye—she would think that I had left her from that moment. In fact, I was ready to let bygones be bygones and, in another fact, I came home the very same evening with every expectation of entering the house that I, we, had bought for the raising of our children. And, to be absolutely honest, I remember I was feeling that kind of blood stir you get in anticipation of sex, because marital arguments had that effect on me. 




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

9 Reasons Why We'll All Be Watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu

Image Credit: The Folio Society

Do you follow Margaret Atwood on twitter? Along with Joyce Carol Oates and Erica Jong she’s one of the prominent literary feminists who we loved and read as younger women and who are still writing and full engaged with the world and interacting with that world via twitter.

Today Atwood responded to a teacher who asked if the acclaimed Canadian author had seen the upcoming adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, and if so what she thought of it. 

That seems in line with the general buzz that this is going to be must watch TV. 

It’s not the first time Atwood’s dystopian novel has been adapted for the screen, of course. The Handmaid’s Tale was made into a feature length film in 1990 with Natasha Richardson as Offred (Elizabeth Moss in this iteration), and per the novel, a fifty year old Faye Dunaway as Serena Joy and a sixty-ish Robert Duvall as the Commander. The current version takes the characters to a younger place than the book does with Yvonne Strahovski in her mid 30's and Joseph Fiennes (mid 40's) playing those roles. I’m curious about the changes in those ages, wondering how it affects Offred’s character as well as our response. 




In the 1990's film, Nick was played by Aidan Quinn while the new version features Max Minghella (The Mindy Project) as Nick with Alexis Bledel as Moira, Elizabeth McGovern in the movie. The acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter wrote the script.To tell you the truth, looking at the imdb, the director of that 1990 version is the only name I’m not familiar with; German director Volker Schlöndorff. I’d love to watch it before taking in the series, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately I can’t even find a trailer and the film is so hard to find, copies go for over $100 on eBay!

Ah well, I'll content myself with the book. I’m about 1/2 way through.

Esquire ran a piece by Emma Dibdin about the upcoming Hulu series based Atwood’s book, and I’ve nabbed it for you, copied and pasted it here in its entirety:




Why The Handmaid's Tale Is Destined to Be 2017's Dystopian Hit


Escapism only gets you so far. In times like this, with the country on the precipice of a new era nobody understands, sometimes the only option is to dive headlong into that sense of mounting dread about the future. Hulu's beautiful, brutal new drama The Handmaid's Tale is here to help.

Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale took place in a dystopian near-future–now roughly our present day—in which a sharp decline in birth and fertility rates have decimated society. Following the assassination of the President and much of Congress, the United States has become the Republic of Gilead, a theocratic military dictatorship in which women's rights have been abolished, and women of childbearing age are forced into reproductive servants called "Handmaids".

At the TCA Press Tour over the weekend, showrunner Bruce Miller joined stars Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Samira Wiley, Yvonne Strahovski, Ann Dowd, Alexis Bledel, and O-T Fagbenle to discuss the show. Here are the nine key things to know.

1. The parallels to Trump's America are glaring and deliberate.

Though Miller noted that Atwood's book is perennially timely, "none of us could ignore what was happening" throughout production. "I worked [on the show] the day after the election," recalled Moss, who plays the show's quietly rebellious protagonist Offred, a woman forced into sexual slavery in the household of a military commander, played by Joseph Fiennes. "Joseph had a line from the book where he says 'Better never means better for everyone... It always means worse, for some.'"

"I just got chills talking about it," Moss said. "It was very difficult to stand there and have him say that to me and play my reaction to that, which is obviously horror, and not feel something more than I think I would have felt otherwise. We are fascinated and horrified by the parallels."

2. It's a parable about male privilege.

The power dynamics in Gilead are an exaggerated, but knowing take on real-life gender inequality, Fiennes said. "The lack of distribution of power, the fact that there is not a level playing field among the sexes today–it's prescient, and I hope it doesn't remain prescient. Though [my character] the commander is vastly different from me, the male psyche is something that I reflect upon a lot. What it is to be a privileged, white, middle-class guy from London, what are those privileges that have been instilled in me, my conditioning and how that affects other people. There are so many takeaways politically, but also domestically."


3. There will be changes from Atwood's book.

Though the series is overall a loyal adaptation, and everyone involved professed their Atwood fandom, a few key changes have been made. Significantly, the character of Serena Joy—the Commander's wife—is much younger than in the book, played by Dexter's Yvonne Strahovski. The fact that Serena is infertile, but still of childbearing age, changes the fraught dynamic between her and Offred, explained Miller. "It bumped me that Serena Joy was beyond childbearing years, because it felt like they weren't in direct competition, that Offred wasn't taking a role that Serena Joy wanted for herself. I thought it was a more interesting dynamic for the long term, as opposed to in the novel–a dynamic that could play out over time."



4. The cinematography is both stunning and specific.

The show's director Reed Morano has a background in cinematography, which is made very clear by the pilot's visceral deployment of primary colors. "In Margaret Atwood's novel, it's a world of color segregation, and we wanted to stay true to that. We shot the show in Alexa, so I knew that there were certain shades of blue and red that just don't work in digital color, and others that complement each other to make an image more rich, and more painterly, and almost echo a different time."

"So the color for the handmaids is red, and the wives all wear kind of a peacock blue, and that choice was very purposeful because those two colors are basically the predominant colors in technicolor. We wanted to make a show that feels like you haven't seen it before, and really play with composition and graphic colors and try to make it a visual feast."


5. The Republic of Gilead parallels Puritanism.

The biblical fundamentalism that underlies Gilead, and the specific parallels to life in Puritan times, was a defining idea for the writers. "In the first episodes, they're tearing down churches that are anything besides their sect," Miller said. "You know, this country gets a reputation for being a place where people came from religious freedom. The Puritans who came liked their religious freedom, but not anybody else's. So, certainly, there were no other churches besides the Puritan church. We're harkening back to that origin story that Margaret used for the book."

6. The Handmaid's Tale is to Elisabeth Moss as Mr Robot is to Rami Malek.

In the sense that the show takes place entirely through her POV, relies heavily on voiceover to set its psychological tone, and is filmed in extremely intimate close-ups, every micro-movement of Moss's face magnified tenfold. "I've never worked with so much voiceover, but it's such an essential part of the adaptation of the book," Moss said, "because the book is a voiceover, it's first-person telling a story in a very nonlinear way. I feel like that voiceover is my connection to the viewer to be able to hold their hand a little bit and walk them through this world. And there's also so many beautiful bits of writing from Margaret Atwood that we've been able to then use because of the voiceover."

"Lizzie has such an expressive acting style," Miller added, which has allowed close-ups to take the place of voiceover in many instances. "She has a main circuit cable connecting her heart to her face that she can't turn off even if she would like to, and so, because of that, we've had to use less voiceover because you know what she's thinking, you know what she's feeling."


7. The subject matter struck close to home for everyone involved.

Between Mad Men's Peggy Olson and Top of the Lake's Robin Griffin, Moss has had a spectacular few years of playing compelling, unique characters on the small screen. But Offred was different. "I would never be a copywriter in the 1950s, I would never be a detective in Australia—but if Gilead happened now, I would be a handmaid," she said. "That was something I latched onto from the beginning and found very affecting." Through flashbacks, we see Offred's life as an ordinary young woman in contemporary America, smoking pot with her college BFF Moira (Samira Wiley), unaware of what's coming.

"I feel like it's our responsibility as artists to reflect the time that we are living in," Wiley said. "The show reflects the social climate that we are living in, and for me personally, the issues are specifically women and their bodies and who has control of that. Do we have control of it? Does someone else have control of it?"

8. Ann Dowd plays a formidable, but complex, female villain.

Though Gilead and the forces behind that regime are the show's true "villain", the closest thing it has to an antagonist early on is Dowd's fearsome schoolmistress Aunt Lydia. Lydia is in charge of the ominous "Red Center", a re-education facility where women are sent to train as Handmaids. "At the core of her choices, she loves these girls deeply and wants them to succeed in this new world, and she is keenly aware that if she doesn't get them to get the drill immediately, they are not going to make it," Dowd explained. "The reason behind her actions is a deep concern and devotion to [women's] success in this life."


9. It's a feminist survival story.

Bleak as the first episode is, it ends on a defiantly hopeful note as Offred quietly states her intention to survive, and to see her estranged daughter again. "One of the things I found most interesting about Offred is what she does to gain power," said Moss, noting that one of the major ways in which Offred gains agency is through her gender and sexuality. "What she does to gain power and to survive is to lean into being a woman, and her sexuality, and she starts to use it to hopefully get out and hopefully find her daughter. And there are times when that's taken away from her, and then it's taken back. She will never ultimately be in power.

"I love the story of a survivor, and I love that through the principle of surviving, she becomes hugely inspirational. I love that even if you are the lowest of the low, that you may be able to eke out some power. I love that she finds power in her position of nothingness."


The Handmaid’s Tale is coming to Hulu on April 26th. I’ll be watching, will you?




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