“Someone’s excited,” series star Elisabeth Moss noted when a corner of the TV-critic-filled ballroom erupted with the announcement.
“I was excited,” Miller added.
“Academy Award winner,” executive producer Warren Littlefield on stage, of Tomei’s resume.
Tomei also is among the women in Hollywood who have lent their names to the #MeToo movement, being among those going public with their Harvey Weinstein experiences.
TV critics clearly thought Tomei an instance of perfect casting for the dystopian Hulu series based on the 1985’s Margaret Atwood novel about the sexual farming of women and total removal of their autonomy in society. The series, often cited as only too relevant in the current political climate, has become the darling of Donald Trump protesters around the world. The TCA crowned it their Program of The Year, and also feted it for Outstanding Achievement in Drama at its awards ceremony last summer.
In a Q&A that was perhaps the biggest lovefest in TCA history (“Do you not know how good you are?” Moss got asked) the critics were happy to learn producers got a bigger budget for Season 2 as part of the “expansion of our world.”
And they lapped it up when Littlefield said, “We all want to say the reason we’ve had such success is because of you. You gave us a Klieg light and let the world know they ought to watch this thing, and we are grateful for that.”
But, having seen little of Season 2, critics worried it was going to veer from the source material. Moss acknowledged it’s actually going to be darker than Season 1. Littlefield said the budget was bigger for the new season to delve more into the United States’ second civil war that led to the split-off creation of totalitarian Gilead, in which women lack basic rights and Moss’s Offred character is pregnant with a child she will not be allowed to raise.
Miller assured them the season “lives in an Atwood world” and that the first season also “diverted quite a bit from the book, in ways people did not notice, which made me feel good it had a lot of ‘Atwood-ness’.”
Material from Atwood’s writing not used in Season 1 will show up in Season 2, Miller promised, adding, “she is the mother of the series… we are not exiting that world at all.”