American Horror Story‘s Joseph Fiennes has been cast as the male lead opposite Elisabeth Moss in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the upcoming straight-to-series drama based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel. Production on the 10-episode project from MGM TV is slated to start in the fall in Toronto ahead of a 2017 premiere.
Fiennes will play Commander Fred Waterford, founding father of Gilead and powerful, high-ranking official. Commander Waterford rules the household where Offred (Moss) is a handmaid.
The series tells the story of life in the dystopia of 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 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 repopulate 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 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 for the series. Reed Morano is set to direct the first three episodes.