O-T Fagbenle Interview: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
“Where the hell are these guys going to go?,” was the first question actor O-T Fagbenle had before receiving his first script for the anticipated second season of Hulu’s Emmy-winning hit “The Handmaid’s Tale.” “I know we have these crazy talented writers like Bruce Miller, so I had my faith,” Fagbenle adds in our exclusive webcam interview (watch the video above), adding that he has been “really pleased with the way it has turned out.”
In Season 2 of the intense dystopian drama, Fagbenle’s character Luke is in Canada as a refugee alongside friend Moira (Samira Wiley), having escaped the authoritarian Gilead regime. They have left behind his wife June (Elisabeth Moss) and daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake).
For Fagbenle, there was a clear distinction in how he portrayed Luke this season compared with last season. “There was this event, this line in his life that created a before and after, and that was obviously when he lost his family and was made an immigrant, a refugee to Canada,” the actor explains. “So this really examines what that does to the psyche. How deflating that can be. How numbing that can be, to have the things that you love the most taken away from you. In season one you get to see Luke in a lot of flashback, and he hasn’t had any of these experiences, he’s never been through a trauma. He’s like most of us.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is very much a show told from a woman’s perspective, as the show centers on the oppressed handmaid June (known as “Offred” in Gilead). And yet, the show also paints a fascinating picture of the men in this world, who have either escaped the regime or who are either complicit in it or leading it. Fagbenle agrees that there is so much more to the men of this show that mere heroes or villains, and offers up his view on his own character and how he fits in to the male privilege that the show so effectively portrays. “I sometimes think about what Luke didn’t do, and what he could’ve done,” the actor declares. “I didn’t see Luke at that march, you know, where was Luke during that march? What kind of activism was Luke involved in before it was too late? It’s all well and good that one isn’t an offensive man, but to be a contributory man is an indictment in itself … I don’t know that any of the men get off scot free in this.”