'Too close of a reflection:' Handmaid's Tale season 2 embodies #MeToo

When The Handmaid's Tale returns, the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series will explore both the support and admonishment of women using their voices, not unlike what's happened as the #MeToo has evolved, according to the cast.

Cast members Yvonne Strahovski, Amanda Brugel, Madeline Brewer speak out at PaleyFest

Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale, based on Margaret Atwood's book and starring Elisabeth Moss, begins Apr. 25. (Hulu)

The first season of The Handmaid's Tale was a startling reflection of America's political climate and swept both the Emmys and Golden Globe Awards.

Season two will once again hold a mirror up to today's society; this time by portraying both the support of and eventual reproach against women using their voices.

"I think it's unfortunately too close of a reflection of what's going on in real life," actor Amanda Brugel, who plays Rita, told CBC News at the PaleyFest television festival in Los Angeles Sunday.

"This season, we really see women speaking their minds for the first time — they haven't been allowed. Then we see the repercussions of that, not unlike what we've seen in the #MeToo movement."

Canadian Amanda Brugel attends 2018 PaleyFest Los Angeles to promote The Handmaid's Tale in Hollywood Sunday. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Brugel, who is Canadian, said season two follows a similar arc to how #MeToo has evolved: people start out accepting, but that doesn't last.

"You really see what women can do when they come together, but also how they can be punished for coming together and how much society wants to keep us apart, from using our voices as a collective."

The Handmaid's Tale — starring Elisabeth Moss and originally based on Margaret Atwood's novel — depicts a bleak future in which women's rights have been stripped from them. Those who are fertile are forced to bear children for powerful men and their wives, one of whom is played by actor Yvonne Strahovski.

"With the Time's Up movement, it very much feels like a sisterhood has been formed," said Strahovski. 

"It's definitely incredible to be part of something where art is imitating life so powerfully and with such meaning."

Yvonne Strahovski says season two of the series reflects the current Time's Up movement, making it 'incredible' to be part of a project where 'art is imitating life.' (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Resistance — harshly punished by those in power — is also a consistent thread throughout the series. Though Atwood remains a consultant for the show, the second season goes beyond the events of her dystopian novel.

"Margaret sees everything and she actively consults," said executive producer Warren Littlefield, adding that show creator Bruce Miller "bows to Margaret a lot, because who wouldn't?"

The second season of The Handmaid's Tale premieres Apr. 25.

'Representative stories of very real things:' How The Handmaid’s Tale’s season 2 is staying timely

5 years ago
Duration 1:40
The Handmaid’s Tale actors Madeline Brewer, Yvonne Strahovski, Amanda Brugel and O.T. Fagbenle talk to CBC’s Zulekha Nathoo about how the award-winning series continues to address the current climate.


Zulekha Nathoo

Digital/Broadcast reporter, L.A.

Zulekha Nathoo is a breaking news and entertainment reporter based in Los Angeles. From the Oscars to the Grammys, she's interviewed some of the biggest names in showbiz including Celine Dion and Denzel Washington. She also works on-air covering news events and spent more than a decade at CBC stations across Canada, including Toronto and Calgary. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram: @zulekhanathoo.