You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’s’ Reed Morano on ‘Widening the Pool’ of Female Directors

“The Handmaid’s Tale” Emmy sweep is one of the greater success stories of this year’s nominations — and so is Reed Morano, who directed the first three episodes of Hulu’s breakout hit. Morano, a relatively new director with 50 cinematography credits to her name, generated early industry buzz for her work on the dystopian drama, and now has cemented herself as a first-time Emmy nominee with not just one, but two noms for her work behind the camera.  

You are nominated for directing “The Handmaid’s Tale” and for cinematography on HBO’s “Divorce.” What does the awards recognition mean to you?

I can’t really put into words what it feels like because it’s a rarity when people come out of the gate and everything happens all at once for them — those are special, amazing Hollywood stories. I’ve just been working at this for so long, and I have shot a lot of TV shows so it’s kind of ironic for “Divorce” to get the nomination, which I had no idea it was being submitted, so it was just a very welcome surprise. You’re always like, “Ah, I hope one day that that happens,” but you never really know if it’s going to. I feel really, really lucky.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” was nominated for 13 Emmys. How does that help the show?

I think it legitimizes the show, but also, if people aren’t already watching it, they’ll watch it now. I wasn’t really looking at it this way, but there was a lot of pressure for this show. Everybody was saying this was the show that would make or break Hulu, and to have it do what everybody needed it to do is super gratifying because this was my first time directing a pilot and the first three episodes of anything.

What is the message you hope viewers take away from “The Handmaid’s Tale?”

In America we tend to be very sheltered, and I’m speaking from personal experience because I feel sheltered. When we’re exposed to the ways of life in other places where they don’t have the same freedoms we have — for example, Muslim countries — that is everything that’s happening in “Handmaid’s Tale.” When I first started making the show my hope was that this might open up people’s eyes to what life is like for other people and how good we have it. I think we can’t forget that while we’re relating this show to our current political situation within the United States, it’s just generally a really not great state of affairs in the world right now politically — not just our own.

There are three female directors nominated in your category. Is that a sign of progress for the industry?

I feel like directing is more about who the individual is rather than if they’re a man or a woman. It’s kind of hard to generalize and group all of us female filmmakers into one group like we’re all going provide you with the same thing, because we’re not. We’re all individuals. There’s a lot of pressure being put on the gender aspect, but I think that’s because of how things started out in Hollywood, because it was always a male-dominated industry. So, it takes a lot longer for everyone to get on board with the fact that hiring a woman is not going to handicap you necessarily. You just need to hire the right person, whether they’re a man or a woman. It’s about widening the pool.

Why do you think it’s taking the industry so long to widen that pool?

I think there’s a tendency of thinking you’re safer in the hands of a man when you’re making such a huge product, but it really has nothing to do with gender. It has to do about an individual person’s creativity and ability to collaborate and ability to run a crew and communicate with everyone. I think it’s a common misconception that because you’re a woman, you can’t command a set and have people respect you and for some reason, Hollywood is really far behind every other industry. It’s getting better, it’s just slow. I can’t stress enough that there is an attitude too that women can’t do action movies or superhero films or whatever. I think if they do them, you might actually get something that isn’t a cookie-cutter product like every other thing we’ve ever seen for the past however many years. You might get something new and fresh.


More TV

  • Osmosis

    Netflix Feeds Fantasy-Hungry YAs in France

    LILLE, France —  The series the audience was about to see on Sunday night at Lille’s central UGC Cine-Cité multiplex wasn’t even playing in Series Mania’s main International Competition. But in many ways, Netflix’s” “Osmosis” was certainly among the most-anticipated of shows at this year’s festival. The excitement before the screening was palpable, and pointed [...]

  • Series Mania: Q & A with

    Series Mania: ‘Hierro’ as ‘Southern Noir’ and an Industry Groundbreaker

    LILLE, France —  Banijay Rights-sold “Hierro” begins with sea, land, air and fire: Shots of the stunning volcanic isle of El Hierro, the most westerly point of Spain’s Canary Islands, with its black basalt rock, brown iron-rich gravel, white waves pummeling the coast, trees trunks twisted by wind and lava, a juniper bent double by [...]

  • Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy

    Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy for Endemol Shine (EXCLUSIVE)

    Acclaimed Indian director Shekhar Kapur is to direct a TV series for Endemol Shine based on historical novels by Amitav Ghosh, known as the “Ibis Trilogy.” The deal was announced at Series Mania in Lille. The books “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire,” are set in mid-19th century Asia. They interweave [...]

  • ‘Lambs Of God’ To World Premiere

    Lingo Pictures, Endemol Shine’s ‘Lambs of God’ Set for Series Mania World Premiere

    LILLE, France — Lingo Pictures Productions and Endemol Shine’s new Australian limited series “Lambs of God,” based on the Australian novel of the same name by Marele Day, world premieres on Wednesday, March 27 in the main International Competition at this year’s Series Mania festival. The series follows three devout nuns, the last sisters of [...]

  • Bruno DEBRANDT (Florent) et Julie GAYET

    Federation Acquires Intl. Sales Rights on Series Mania French Competition Player ‘Torn’

    LILLE, France — Leading French independent production-finance-distribution sales company Federation Entertainment has secured international sales rights on upcoming French psychological thriller “Torn.” The series was created and written by director Lionel Bailliu (“Innocente”)and Yann Le Gal (“Léo Mattéï, Brigade des Mineurs”) and world premieres in the official French competition on March 25 at France’s Series [...]

  • About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands

    About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands as APC Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    As it celebrates its fifth anniversary, the rising Paris-based TV production and distribution company About Premium Content is rebranding as APC Studios to reflect the expanded scope of its activities. APC Studios, which launched as a sales company in 2014, is now a producer, financier and distributor of upscale projects ranging from scripted to factual [...]

  • Win Rosenfeld, Jordan Peele and Simon

    'Star Trek: Discovery,' 'Twilight Zone' Bring Energy, Emotion to PaleyFest

    Both the CBS All Access shows “Star Trek: Discovery” and the upcoming “Twilight Zone” reboot held PaleyFest panels on Sunday, with both sets of cast and creators bringing energy, humor, and emotion to the stage. Both panels were moderated by Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway. First up was “Discovery,” where series star Doug [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content