Hulu's new original series The Handmaid's Tale, adapted from Margaret Atwood's novel of the same name, is set in a dystopian future in which women are subjugated by men after the entire world order is remade to strip women of their rights. Elisabeth Moss plays Offred, a woman who seeks to regain her independence but must conform to the rigid rules placed upon her or face execution.
It makes sense then that Hulu would turn to the eye of a female director to accurately portray the feeling of being female in a world dominated by men. Reed Morano, whose credits include Vinyl and Beyoncé's Lemonade, directed the first three episodes of The Handmaid's Tale, but if you ask her, the approach she took had less to do with tapping into the female point of view and more with looking at Offred as a character.
"Direction's not necessarily about genders, as it is about sensitivity," Morano told TVGuide on the Tribeca Film Festival red carpet, where The Handmaid's Tale was being showcased. "I'm just looking for the way to elicit the most emotion from the audience, the most connection from the audience. The closer you can make the audience feel to the main character, the stakes will be higher and the more invested they will be."
"Reed was really beautiful," star Yvonne Strahovski said. "She just allowed us to really find the moment and the tone of the show, and the tone of that scene in particular." The scene in question is a brutal sexual assault, a task that's never easy for a director to bring to the screen.
"It's done brilliantly," added star Joseph Fiennes. "Again, it's the way Lizzie [Moss] navigates it and Reed's depiction of it, and we see it through her eyes. It's a testament to a survivor, how she survives that."
The Handmaid's Tale premieres Wednesday, April 26 on Hulu.