“The Handmaid’s Tale” executive producer Warren Littlefield thinks America is turning into Gilead, the show’s fictional totalitarian and oppressive republic.
“We’re on a very, very slippery slope toward Gilead,” Littlefield told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter on Sunday. Ann Dowd, who plays Aunt Lydia, agreed. Her character is one of the biggest supporters of the fascist regime in the show, which is based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name.
“We’re a heck of a lot closer than we were in Season 1, which is terrible,” Dowd added. “It was scary in Season 1, and it got more and more serious as we were shooting the pilot that ‘this is happening.’”
The first season of the Hulu show was filmed during the 2016 US presidential election. Today, Dowd pointed to the anti-abortion laws that are being passed in several states like Georgia and Louisiana.
“When I saw what was going on in Georgia, I thought, ‘This can’t be real,’” she said. “It stunned me.”
Littlefield added that “The Handmaid’s Tale” isn’t planned to shoot in any of those states, but even if it were, he said, “I would not go near there.”
Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama and Ohio are among the 12 states that provide the best tax incentives to film and TV productions that shoot in the state, according to Film Production Capital, a Louisiana-based brokerage and consulting film that specializes in state tax incentives for film, TV and animation projects. In the last three months, all four states have passed some form of anti-abortion law. Right-to-choose activists are concerned that a conservative wave sweeping through state legislatures could influence a more right-wing Supreme Court to reconsider the four-decade-old Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
Earlier this month, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law to outlaw abortion in Georgia after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, roughly six weeks into pregnancy. The law is expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, though legal challenges are expected that could postpone or overturn the legislation.
Major media companies across Hollywood have pushed back against the anti-abortion “heartbeat bill” passed in Georgia and other states, saying they will monitor the situation and reconsider filming in the state in the future should the law go into effect. The legislation threatens the recent growth of film and TV production in Georgia, which made $2.7 billion from Hollywood productions shooting in the state, according to the governors office.
Disney, AMC, Netflix, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, Viacom, CBS and Showtime, Sony, MGM and STX Entertainment all announced this week they would reconsider future production if the law went into effect. Several companies also said they would consider boycotting other states where similar legislation has been adopted.
Several other prominent producers, like Reed Morano and Judd Apatow, have said they would boycott filming in Georgia in response to the law. Producers David Simon, Christine Vachon, Mark Duplass, Nina Jacobson and Neal Dodson have already boycotted shooting in the state altogether.
Also earlier this month, it was announced that the feature “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” starring the “Bridesmaids” team of Kirsten Wiig and Annie Mumolo, had pulled out of filming in the state in response to the bill.
Watch Littlefield and Dowd’s interview below:
“When I saw what’s going on in Georgia, I literally thought ‘this can’t be real.’ It stunned me…This cannot be America,” actress Ann Dowd, who plays Aunt Lydia on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” tells @brianstelter about parallels between the show and real life. https://t.co/MFRHyn9cCt pic.twitter.com/PZ5hFzKFjR
— CNN (@CNN) June 2, 2019