'Handmaid's Tale' star Elisabeth Moss and show's creators talk about turning Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel into a look at our post-Trump world. - From Rolling Stone
From the moment it was published 35 years ago, The Handmaid's Tale has been eerily prescient – because, according to its Canadian author, the horrific details of her work of "speculative fiction" have not been invented wholesale so much as plucked from history, particularly the Salem witch trials of the 17th century.
I always thought, as a story, it lent itself more to a TV series than to a novel, only because it was so rich and delicious that it begged to be explored further." (Miller is already working on ideas for a second season.) Moss is quick to point out that "the election that was happening and the show were separate issues, as they usually are," but the toxicity surrounding the presidential primaries proved to be illuminating for the writers' room.
The story was updated to fit the times – Uber and salted-caramel ice are among the deprivations in Gilead – but the most crucial difference is the inclusion of people of color, who had been systematically banished from society in the book.
"The forces that led to the alt-right – forces that were in the book already, rolling back women's sovereignty over their bodies – were there before the election," says Miller.
A lot of the storytelling in the episodes is trying to tell a memory of the things we took for granted." Miller says that while he didn't deliberately add anything to the script after the election, "it might have unconsciously influenced some revisions." Then again, terrorism giving rise to nationalist tendencies across the globe, travel bans that target Muslims, threats to defund Planned Parenthood, sanctioned fear of transgender people, a vice president who can't dine with a woman he isn't married to – the germ of all of these reactionary ideas were already there.