Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is bleaker than ever.
“Watching it as a cast member is even more devastating,” Amanda Brugel (who plays domestic servant Rita) confirmed at The Wing‘s screening of the Season 2 premiere on Wednesday in NYC. “I’ve fallen in love with Yvonne [Strahovski], who plays Serena Joy, so I know when she’s having a particularly hard or really difficult scene.”
The show is set in a dystopian world where women are stripped of their rights and relegated to being breeding vessels, and its female characters are regularly raped and threatened with hanging or stoning should they step out of line. But the cast has managed to find ways to lighten the mood after intense scenes.
“We’ve gotten into the habit of watching ‘The Bachelor,’” Brugel said. “And dancing! We really like Taylor Swift.”
Added Madeline Brewer (Janine/Ofwarren), “In between takes, we’re online shopping on our phones. It’s a lot more fun than you’d expect.”
On-set pranks abound as well. “I’ll go out of my way to play practical jokes on Lizzie [Moss, aka June Osborne/Offred] — like, I’ll dress up in different costumes and make sure it’s [during her take], so we get her reaction on camera.”
Brewer’s character, whose right eye is removed as punishment on the show, also finds herself a frequent target: “Nina Kiri, who plays Alma, has a lot of fun with me because I’m blind on one side. She’ll come up and start breathing on me, just to f–k with me.”
On a more serious note, both cast members pointed out how perfectly the return of “The Handmaid’s Tale” dovetails with the growing #MeToo movement. “It’s crazy how every time a new season comes out, it aligns with whatever’s in the headlines,” Brugel noted. “Without giving too much away, the whole theme of this season is resistance, and the #MeToo movement is resistance.”
“The #MeToo movement is incredibly relevant to me and to Janine,” Brewer added. “As we know, Janine has been sexually assaulted, and then she continues to be raped monthly. In exploring her story and then having other women tell me their stories, I felt like I was doing almost an injustice to Janine by not discussing my own #MeToo [experience]. She gave me the confidence to confront and tell my own story … of an experience I hadn’t thought about in a long time.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is now streaming on Hulu.
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