Joseph Fiennes doesn’t have many kind words for his “Handmaid’s Tale” character.
In an interview with TheWrap, Fiennes compared The Commander’s relationship with Offred to that of a “cat with a ball of string,” calling their dynamic “perverse and horrific.”
“He’s a complex character, that’s what I loved about him,” the actor said the man to whom Elisabeth Moss’ handmaid Offred is assigned. “Their relationship is complex. She’s navigating her survival with him … he needs the contact. He has no contact with his wife. She’s barren, possibly. And they have no sex, as sex is outlawed unless you’re procreating.”
“He uses his power to exact what he wants,” Fiennes said. “He’s like a cat with a ball of string. Whenever she emerges and shows her intellect, he shuts her down. It’s a very perverse and horrific relationship, but to begin with, it’s seemingly nice.”
An adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale” follows Offred (Moss), a servant in the household of a high-ranking official in a totalitarian society called Gilead. Being one of the few remaining fertile women in Gilead, she is forced into sexual servitude to bear the child of Fiennes’ character and his wife, played by Yvonne Strahovski.
“I was told that we should never talk about sex, politics or religion, which means you can’t really talk about the show. But I’m going to break those rules because this is a show worth talking about,” Fiennes said.
“It is a horrific show. It’s prescient and timely,” he continued. “A lot of the events that were written in Margaret Atwood’s great feminist piece of literature, and in Hulu’s great rendition of that piece of literature, have happened in our time and age. So it’s not so far fetched, and I think that’s why it’s so difficult to stomach.”
And Fiennes promised that there’s only more to come: “It gets worse,” he said. “In the best possible way.”
“Handmaid’s Tale” airs Wednesdays on Hulu.