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The incredible cast for The Handmaid’s Tale just got bigger

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Our television schedules are just getting better and better, aren’t they?

We already know that Netflix is adapting Anne of Green Gables into a TV series, that there will be another series of Making a Murderer, and that there’s officially just too much good telly to get stuck into nowadays.

And now it’s come to our attention that an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is in the works.

Often referred to as one of the best sci-fi feminist novels of all time, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in Gilead, a terrifying society formerly known as the United States of America.

The totalitarian state, following a series of environmental disasters and plunging birth rates, has annexed women as property of the state – and forced them into sexual servitude in a bid to repopulate a devastated world.

Elisabeth Moss (who played Peggy Olson on Mad Men) is set to take the lead as Offred, one of Gilead’s few remaining fertile women. As a result of her reproductive status, she finds herself forced into the role of a ‘Handmaid’, where her goal is simple; to produce a baby for The Commander (Joseph Fiennes), or be sent to work – and die – in the radioactive colonies.

Samira Wiley will play Moira, Offred’s best friend and fellow Handmaid-in-training

Samira Wiley will play Moira, Offred’s best friend and fellow Handmaid-in-training

Orange is the New Black’s Samira Wiley will play Moira, Offred’s best friend and fellow Handmaid-in-training – a tenacious and rebellious lesbian who refuses to kowtow to the new regime.

Serena Joy – one of the state’s more privileged ‘Wives’ - will be brought to life by Dexter’s Yvonne Strahovski.

As those who have read the book will know, Joy is a complex character; the former televangelist actually fought for the oppressive and sexist state of Gilead – and now, in a twisted sort of poetic justice, finds herself trapped at home, where she has to endure humiliating sexual rituals with her husband and his Handmaid.  

Yvonne Strahovski will play Serena Joy

Yvonne Strahovski will play Serena Joy

It was recently confirmed that British actor O-T Fagbenle will play Luke, whom fans of the book will know as Offred’s (Moss) husband from the world before Gilead, after divorcing his first wife to marry her.

However, under new laws, all divorces were retroactively nullified, resulting in Offred being considered an adulteress and the couple’s young daughter, Hannah, a bastard.

Considering that Luke is set to be involved in several emotionally-charged scenes, it’s good to know that as talented an actor as Fagbenle will be taking on the role; he was last seen starring in the titular role of The Interceptor for the BBC and can currently be seen on Harlan Coban’s The Five for Sky TV. 

Final episode of #TheInterceptor tomorrow night!

A photo posted by O-T Fagbenle (@otfagbenle) on

Max Minghella (The Social Network) and Ann Dowd (The Leftovers) are also set to take on leading roles in this tale of gender relations and the patriarchy.

Craig Erwich, the Head of Content at Hulu, said: “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.”

Atwood herself added: “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.  

The Handmaid's Tale is more relevant now than when it was written, and I am sure the series will be watched with great interest.  I have read the first two scripts and they are excellent; I can hardly wait to see the finished episodes.”

The 10-part series, created and written by Bruce Miller, begins filming in Toronto this autumn and is expected to premiere in 2017 on Hulu.

And, with Atwood on board as a consulting producer, it seems safe to say that her masterpiece is in very good hands.

Read the full casting report on Deadline now.

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