Samira Wiley is Gilead-bound. Together with Elizabeth Moss, the cherished star from Orange Is the New Black will join the cast of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, adapted from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel by the same name.
The Hollywood Reporter released the news today that Wiley would play a key role in the 10-episode drama.
Due out in 2017, you still have plenty of time to read the book, which I highly recommend, but here’s the narrative’s basic premise: After environmental disasters of near-apocalyptic proportions, a brutal, totalitarian society called Gilead replaces what once was the United States. Women are denied rights of personhood and self-sovereignty, and plummeting birthrates have lead to the rigorous management of reproduction. Offred (Elizabeth Moss), the protagonist, is among the dwindling number of fertile women in this new antiseptic world. Assigned as a sexual servant to the household of a high-ranking government official, her duty is to bear a child for a couple who can no longer do so. Her worth begins and ends with the ability to carry a pregnancy to term. But Offred’s paramount concern is to locate her birth daughter, stolen from her during the rise of the totalitarian regime.
Wiley portrays Offred’s best friend from college (called Moira in the book) who later trains as a handmaiden with her. It is Offred’s memories of Moira that safeguard her connection to the past, and, often, her sanity.
Atwood herself is involved as a consulting producer, and if you’re not already aware, she is, in addition to being a literary force and fervent environmental activist, an exemplary Twitter citizen. We will require a Samira/Margaret selfie post haste!