Elisabeth Moss has been cast in the lead role of a 10-episode adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece The Handmaid’s Tale, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Moss will play Offred, the handmaid of the title, one of a class of women forced to bear children for the ruling elite of a grim fundamentalist dictatorship known as the Republic of Gilead. The show, to be written by Bruce Miller, was ordered straight to series by Hulu, which continues to expand its original programming. The Handmaid’s Tale is the first collaboration between Hulu and MGM Television; Miller, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, and Warren Littlefield will executive produce, while Atwood herself will serve as a consulting producer.
Atwood’s novel, first published in 1985, was already adapted for film in 1990 by Harold Pinter and Volker Schlöndorff, in a production that starred Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway, and Robert Duvall. It’s also been made into a radio drama, a play, an opera, a ballet, and a one-woman stage show. Something about a story in which Christian fundamentalists use the threat of Islamic terrorism to consolidate power and control women’s bodies seems to resonate, for some reason. The show is scheduled to debut in 2017; the Republic of Gilead itself has no firm release date.