Adapted from Margaret Atwood’s bestselling novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in the dystopian Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly part of the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted religious fundamentalism that treats women as property of the state. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Moss) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to re-populate a devastated world. In this terrifying society where one wrong word could end her life, Offred navigates between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – all with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her. The Handmaid’s Tale is scheduled to go into production in Toronto this fall with premiere slated for 2017.
Minghella will play Nick, a Guardian in Gilead, the totalitarian theocracy that has taken over America. Living in Commander Waterford’s house, working as his driver, he makes a connection with Offred (Moss), although she’s unsure whether he’s an Eye, working for the secret police. Dowd is Aunt Lydia, head of the Red Center, where she indoctrinates handmaids into the Gilead system. She trains them, by any means necessary, for their role as ritualized sexual servants in the homes of “Commanders,” the elite of Gilead.
The 10-episode series is created, executive produced and written by Bruce Miller, with Warren Littlefield, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, and Ilene Chaiken serving as executive producers. Atwood is a consulting producer.
Minghella’s screenwriting debut, The 9th Life of Louis Drax starring Jamie Dornan and Aaron Paul will be released by Miramax in the fall. His acting credits include The Ides of March, The Internship and The Social Network. Minghella is repped by CAA, Anonymous Content and Jackoway Tyerman. Dowd most recently appeared in feature Captain Fantastic and will next be seen in Hedgehog and Oppenheimer Strategies.