“The oxygen is fast running out for Fred,” admits Joseph Fiennes about his character Fred Waterford on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and how a once powerful former Gilead commander now languishes as a political prisoner in Canada facing war crimes charges.” He’s got nowhere to hide and run. What we see in Fred is a man who will try to rationalize himself, but he is deeply cognizant and will have to look himself in the mirror and his actions. Will it change him, I don’t know. But it is certainly a new perspective for Fred this season,” he says. Watch our exclusive video interview with the Emmy nominated actor above.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” premiered its anticipated fourth season on Hulu late last month after nearly 20 months off the air, as production on the fourth season was shut down for months due tot he pandemic. Based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, it is set in the terrifyingly austere authoritarian theocracy of Gilead, which rises to prominence in a near-future dystopia after a bloody coup staged by violent religious fanatics usurps the present-day United States. It stars Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss as June, one of thousands of enslaved handmaids routinely raped and abused in order to bear children for the barren ruling class.
This season opens with June as a fugitive on the run from a regime intent on silencing her for good, leading a group of handmaids intent on meting out justice and revenge against the evil regime. Meanwhile, former handmaids Moira (Samira Wiley) and Emily (Alexis Bledel), and June’s estranged husband Luke (O-T Fagbenle) deal with the fallout across the border in Canada as they tend the girls that June helped smuggle to safety last season. Waterford (Fiennes) and his complicit wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) also remain in captivity to face justice as war criminals after fleeing the brutal regime last season. As the fourth season unfolds, it is clear that “The Handmaid’s Tale” remains unrelentingly dark and confronting, but that it also promises a number of anticipated pay-off moments that have building over the past three seasons.
“Season 4 is about freedom, in many ways,” Fiennes says about this season and what audiences can expect, “freedom, escape and reconciliation,” he adds. “It’s the big escape. It’s the fight back and the bite back, if you like,” he says with a knowing smile.
“The paradox is, in seeking freedom, especially when you’ve been traumatized and brutalized by the regime, you obviously carry those scars with you, Fiennes adds. “So, you might find a physical place free of Gilead, but the mental space will continue to haunt you. I love that paradox. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.”
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