Elisabeth Moss on Depicting June’s Trauma in ‘Handmaid’s Tale’

Blessed be! The cast of Handmaid’s Tale is spilling the tea in a bonus episode of Next Question with Katie Couric. The dystopian Hulu drama just wrapped its dramatic, twist-heavy, and pandemic-filmed fourth season, so be forewarned, there are spoilers ahead!

The conversation begins in Gilead. Although, as of mid-season, Gilead is missing one of its prized handmaid, June Osborne, a.k.a. Offred/Ofjoseph (Elisabeth Moss). But June’s journey out of Gilead isn’t as freeing as you’d hope. She’s still trapped in her trauma, and that was extremely important to executive producer, director, and star Elisabeth Moss to showcase. 

“It was really important to us,” Elisabeth tells Katie. “It was really important to us to hold on to that [trauma] pretty tightly. And it was really, really important for me to be able to accurately portray what that experience would be like for her coming out of what she comes out of.” She elaborates, “That she’s not going to a perfect relationship with her husband, with her friends, with people who are trying to help her, it’s not going to be easy.” We see this in her determined struggle to reconnect with O.T. Fagbenle (Luke Bankole), Alexis Bledel (Dr. Emily Malek), and Samira Wiley (Moira Strand). “She’s never going to be the same. And, and that story was told beautifully in the writing as well.”

As an actress, Elisabeth was just as excited to reconnect with these actors as June was their characters. “For me personally, the back half of the season was so cool because I got to work with these actors. I got to work with Sam [Jaeger] (Mark Tuello). I got to reunite with Luke and have all of this incredible material that we had. I had scenes with Samira and Alexis and Amanda. And it was like, it was, it was like I had all this new material to play…I had all this new, this new stuff, all these new scenes and new relationships to explore. It was fantastic.” 

On this episode of Next Question With Katie Couric, Katie also hears from, in order of appearance, executive producer and showrunner Bruce Miller, Joseph Fiennes (Commander Fred Waterford), Yvonne Strahovski (Serena Joy Waterford), Madeline Brewer (Janine Lindo/Ofwarren/Ofhoward), Ann Dowd (Aunt Lydia Clements), Bradley Whitford (Commander Joseph Lawrence), McKenna Grace (Esther Keyes), Max Minghella (Commander Nick Blaine), and executive producer Warren Littlefield. And in a second conversation, Katie talks with the refugees in Canada including, again, Warren, Bruce, and Elizabeth, as well as O.T. Fagbenle (Luke), Alexis Bledel (Dr. Emily Malek), Samira Wiley (Moira Strand), Sam Jaeger (Mark), and Amanda Brugel (Rita Blue).

Listen to the episode now to hear what it was like to film this intimate season amid Covid-19, and what’s next for these characters. 

Handmaid’s Tale is available to stream on Hulu.