A version of this story about Samira Wiley appeared in The Race Begins issue of TheWrap Emmy magazine.
Samira Wiley is in a very different place for Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” than she was during the Hulu series’ first go-round.
Wiley plays Moira, who was the best friend of June/ Offred (Elisabeth Moss) in the days before sections of the United States were turned into a repressive religious state known as Gilead. At the end of Season 1 of the Emmy-winning series adapted from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, Moira escapes to Canada.
“We think so much about making it out of a place like that that we can imagine that feeling of freedom,” Wiley told TheWrap. “And it’s this huge celebratory moment. But it is also a little sad, because you’re not with your family anymore. A lot of mixed feelings are going on in Canada. There is the feeling of freedom, but then also the feeling of deep loneliness.”
Wiley, who has also appeared on “Orange Is the New Black” and “Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television,” is spending more time with co-star O-T Fagbenle this season. He plays Luke, June’s pre-Gilead husband, which makes for a fun dynamic between two characters who are like oil and vinegar.
“The characters Moira and Luke have always had a love-hate relationship,” Wiley said. “They’re kind of like brother and sister, and that only gets highlighted more with them living together [in Season 2].
“Because of their love for June, and June’s absence, their love has to be sort of directed toward each other, so we see them become even closer,” she added, and then laughed. “Not in that kind of way, though!”
Just like many fans, Wiley was wondering how things would go for the series after Season 1, when it exhausted its source material and prepared to go into uncharted territory with a story that can take cues but not plot lines from Atwood’s book.
“I’m not a writer, and I have been reading the scripts and I have just been so amazed by what these writers have come up with, with no source material,” Wiley said. “It makes complete sense. So I think and I hope that we’re going to live up to people’s expectations.”
Watch the interview above.
Read more of TheWrap Emmy magazine’s The Race Begins issue here.