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Tribeca Film Festival

The Handmaid's Tale: Author Margaret Atwood's slap-in-the-head cameo revealed

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Monica Schipper/WireImage

We don’t often think of authors as the violent type, but Margaret Atwood gets surprisingly physical in her brief cameo in Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. She slaps Offred (Elisabeth Moss) in the head in a scene where the lead is being indoctrinated as a Handmaid (a woman in the dystopian society of Gilead whose sole purpose is to reproduce).

During the show’s premiere event at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, the cast, along with showrunner Bruce Miller, director Reed Morano, and executive producer Warren Littlefield, gathered to share stories of filming. When the discussion turned to Atwood, Miller began by noting “she was very involved all the way through the writing process” and admitting it was his idea to have her play an Aunt (a high-ranking woman who presides over other women) when she visited the set.

But it was Morano’s decision to have her slap their star.

RELATED: Margaret Atwood connects The Handmaid’s Tale to current politics

“Actually, the Aunt [she was playing] was going to slap somebody else, and we were like, ‘No, she can slap Offred!'” Morano recalled. “She didn’t want to and then Lizzie was like, ‘No, really hit me.'”

“She didn’t want to but then she got really into it,” Moss laughed.

“She knocked her little bonnet off and it was all really, it was embarrassing,” Miller added.

The Handmaid’s Tale debuts on Hulu on April 26.