The series, based on the 1985 bestselling novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, will debut its first season on Hulu in 2017. Moss (“Mad Men,” “Truth,” “Top of the Lake”) will play Offred, a one of the caste of Handmaids who are forced into sexual servitude by the male-dominated Gilead totalitarian regime as a last desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world.
The show will be created, executive produced and written by Bruce Miller (“The 100”) with Daniel Wilson (“The Handmaid’s Tale” movie), Fran Sears (“Sophisticated Gents”) and Warren Littlefield (“Fargo”) serving as executive producers.
“I am thrilled that MGM and Hulu are developing ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ as a series, and extra thrilled that the very talented Elisabeth Moss will be playing the central character,” said Atwood, who will serve as consulting producer for the series. She added that she’s read the first two scripts and found them “excellent.”
“Hulu has established itself as a home for blockbuster television events and what better way to expand our originals offering than with a series based on this acclaimed, bestselling novel,” said Craig Erwich, Hulu’s senior VP and head of content. “Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ was seen as ahead of its time and we look forward to bringing it to life on our platform.”
The “Handmaid’s Tale” series is produced by MGM Television and marks the first collaboration on an original series with Hulu. The series is slated to go into production later this year.
“‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a project that we have been committed to bringing to life as its story remains as powerful today as it did when Margaret first published her novel,” Mark Burnett, president of MGM’s Television and Digital Group, and Steve Stark, president of television development and production at MGM, said in a joint statement. “‘Handmaid’s Tale’ has won multiple awards inspiring a film, a graphic novel, an opera, a ballet and finally, for the first time, a compellingly immersive drama series that has found the perfect home at Hulu and its star in Elisabeth Moss.”
Hulu — facing fierce competition from subscription VOD rivals Netflix and Amazon — has cranked up its slate of high-profile original series over the past year.
Those include “The Path” from Universal Television and Jason Katims’ True Jack Productions starring Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan and Hugh Dancy; and “11.22.63,” a time-travel alternate history of the JFK assassination based on the Stephen King bestseller from exec producer J.J. Abrams and star James Franco. Other Hulu series are “Chance,” a drama starring Hugh Laurie from Fox 21 Television Studios based on the novel by Kem Nun, and “Shut Eye,” from creator-showrunner Les Bohem (“Extant,” “Taken”) from Tri-Star Television that is currently in production with stars Jeffrey Donovan and KaDee Strickland.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” 1990 movie adaptation starred Natasha Richardson along with Faye Dunaway and Aidan Quinn. The film from Cinecom/Bioskop was directed by Volker Schlondorff on a script by Harold Pinter.