Fiennes will play Commander Fred Waterford, a founding father of the totalitarian society of Gilead. A powerful, high-ranking official, Commander Waterford rules the household where Offred (Moss) is a handmaid. This marks a returned to scripted television following his role in the second season of “American Horror Story” in 2013.
The show is based on the bestselling novel by Margaret Atwood, set against the backdrop of a dystopian society in what was formerly part of the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalism that treats women as property of the state. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world. In this terrifying society where one wrong word could end her life, Offred navigates between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – all with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” hails from MGM Television and is created, executive produced and written by Bruce Miller, with Warren Littlefield, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, and Ilene Chaiken serving as executive producers. Atwood is a consulting producer for the series. Reed Morano will direct and executive produce the first three episodes. The cast also includes “Orange Is the New Black” alumna Samira Wiley; “The Leftovers” star Ann Dowd; “The Mindy Project’s” Max Minghella and “Hemlock Grove’s” Madeline Brewer.
The series is scheduled to begin production in Toronto this fall for a 10-episode order, slated to premiere in 2017.
Fiennes is repped by WME, The Artists Partnership and Anonymous Content.