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Thursday, May 11, 2017
The Handmaid’s Tale Panel at the 92nd St Y – by Andrea Goldstein
The Handmaid’s Tale Panel at the 92d St Y – by Andrea Goldstein
“The Handmaid’s Tale” has been creating a lot of buzz since its
premiere in April.The 11 part series
has been bringing fans of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel to Hulu in
droves to see each episode as it drops every Wednesday.
The series is up to episode 5, which was screened at the 92nd
Street Y with a follow up panel discussion with stars Elisabeth Moss (Offred),
Alexis Bledel (Ofglen), and the director
of the first three episodes, Reed Morano.Morano, who started her film career as a Director of Photography on
several independent films is now getting recognized for her directing.Tatiana Siegel of the Hollywood Reporter moderated the panel.
Following the screening of the thrilling 5th
episode entitled “Faithful,” the panel spent nearly an hour discussing the
origin of the series, and shared some behind the scenes insights on what it was
like to work on groundbreaking television.
Morano told the story of how she had heard that Hulu was
developing “The Handmaid’s Tale” and being a fan of the novel, she lobbied hard
to get the directing job.She sent a 75
page lookbook, along with a music playlist to the executives, to show her
vision for the series.She was up
against several prominent male directors but eventually was chosen, possibly
due a good word from Moss, who had worked with her previously.
Moss, known for her breakout role as Peggy on “Mad Men,” was
very animated during the panel, often swearing and laughing.She clearly enjoyed playing Offred and loved the
challenging role, which required many close-ups.She said that while working on the show, she
would go home and try to get as much sleep b/c the days were long and
exhausting.All three ladies admitted to
indulging in the occasional cocktail to relieve the stress.
Bledel, in contrast to Moss, was more reserved but very
thoughtful in her answers to the questions. Primarily known for playing Rory on
“Gilmore Girls,” Ofglen was a departure for her, but she said that she gravitates
toward independent and rebellious characters, which is now in her wheelhouse.
When asked about the current political climate and the timeliness
of the series, the panel said this could be relevant in any period, but especially
now.They also warned it was a “cautionary
tale” and that people need to be aware that these changes don’t happen
overnight but over time.
The panel also paid tribute to author Margaret Atwood,
calling her a “genius” and said she acted as a consultant on the series, who
rarely pushed back on scripts. Morano told a humorous story that Atwood didn’t
understand the term “carpet muncher.” Morano said that a script assistant needed to
call her and explain the slang term for lesbian.
The series was recently renewed for another season, and the
panel was asked about where the story could go, since the first season follows
the novel.Moss said there is much story
left to tell between the end of the novel and the epilogue and they will be
sure to be working with Atwood on what that could be.
The evening was interesting, entertaining and a thought
provoking look at female driven stories created by this talented group of
Andrea Goldstein is a
professional with a passion
for all things '80s
@nydigitalmarket on Twitter