Elisabeth Moss to star in TV adaptation of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Elisabeth Moss, photographed at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, will star in Hulu's adaptation of "The Handmaid's Tale" in 2017.

Elisabeth Moss, photographed at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, will star in Hulu’s adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale” in 2017.

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Elisabeth Moss is leaving the swinging 1960s behind as she moves on from the world of “Mad Men” into the not-so-distant future where women are even more oppressed than they were at Sterling Cooper.

Hulu announced Friday a straight-to-series order for an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Set in Gilead, a totalitarian theocracy existing in what was once the United States, Atwood’s story digs into the ways in which women have been stripped of their agency. It’s a searing examination of a woman’s role in society and the ways women’s bodies and minds are commodified by a government gone wrong.

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Moss will play Offred, one of the few fertile women left in the state and now the property of a high-ranking official whose only chance of survival is bound up in her ability to produce a healthy child and who remains haunted by the life she led before the uprising.


Deadline reports that the original adaptation of the script was done by Ilene Chaiken, show runner of “Empire.” With Chaiken indisposed, Bruce Miller (“The 100”) is taking on the series as creator, writer and executive producer. Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears and Warren Littlefield will also serve as executive producers, with Atwood serving as a consulting producer.

“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,” Atwood said in a statement released by Hulu, asserting that the story is even more relevant now than it was when it was published in 1985.

“I have read the first two scripts and they are excellent; I can hardly wait to see the finished episodes,” the Atwood added.

It seems the adaptation of the series couldn’t be better timed, given the growing movement to legislate reproductive rights. At this point, it’s hard to say whether it’s possible for the show to be more disturbing than reality.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is scheduled to air on Hulu in 2017.

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