Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel confirmed to star in The Handmaid’s Tale

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Kayleigh Dray
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Ever since we learned that Margaret Atwood’s iconic dystopian novel was being adapted into a star-studded TV show, we’ve been counting down the days to its launch on 26 April 2017.

Now we’ve cause to be even more excited, as Alexis Bledel – aka Gilmore Girls’ Rory – is confirmed to be taking on a very important role in the feminist drama.

And it’s a thousand miles away from Stars Hollow.

Often referred to as one of the best sci-fi 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.

So where does Bledel fit in?

The talented actor, whose casting has been kept under wraps until now, will play the enigmatic Ofglen, a fellow handmaid with a very big secret.

Initially, hers and Offred’s relationship is one of mistrust; when they go out in public, the handmaids are paired off so they can keep an eye on each other. and report back on any undesirable behaviour. 

While Bledel’s character initially seems an untrustworthy and pious rule-follower, it’s not long before she develops a complex relationship with Offred – and begins to open her fellow Handmaid’s eyes to the world around them.

It’s a fitting role for Bledel, whose alter-ego Rory was a compulsive reader and a huge fan of feminist literature; however, of all 339 books mentioned by her in the Gilmore Girls (including Dick King Smith’s Babe and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway), Atwood’s novel is not one of them.

Perhaps Bledel’s first role after the A Year In The Life revival is a subconscious effort to rectify that oversight.

Whatever her reasons for joining the show, we couldn’t be more excited to hear that Bledel will be lending her talents to The Handmaid’s Tale – and she will be in very good company, too.

As we’ve waxed lyrical about in the past, the cast for the show looks phenomenal; as well as Moss, Fiennes, and Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale also boasts the talents of Orange is the New Black’s Samira Wiley, who is set to play a rebellious and tenacious lesbian named Moira. Serena Joy – one of the state’s more privileged ‘Wives’ - will be brought to life by Dexter’s Yvonne Strahovski, while British actor O-T Fagbenle will play Luke, Offred’s (Moss) husband from the world before Gilead.

And 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.

Speaking about the 10-part series, which is expected to air on Hulu in 2017, Atwood said: “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.”

Fans of the author will be pleased to know that she is also on board as a consulting producer, so it’s safe to say that the adaptation is in very good hands indeed.

The Handmaid's Tale begins on Hulu from April 26, 2017.

Images: Take Five / Hulu / Twitter