Elisabeth Moss chilled us to the bone with her portrayal of conflicted Handmaid Offred in the Margaret Atwood adaptation The Handmaid’s Tale, and the result has been an impressive 13 Emmy nominations for the series on which she is a producer, including one for Best Actress in a Drama Series. In celebration, Moss hopped on the phone with EW to talk about the awards, Team Nick or Luke, and what to expect from the second season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You are no stranger to the Emmys — you’ve been nominated seven times before (including six for Mad Men) — but as a producer on this series, does it feel different?
ELISABETH MOSS: One hundred percent. It’s been a much more personal experience — it’s been a year and a half of working on it. I’m still working on it! I just sent [executive producer] Bruce Miller an email about something for season 2. When you’re on the inside of something, you can’t help but feel differently. I feel so proud of each and every one of those nominations as if they were my own.
You started filming the series before last fall’s election — and yet it’s incredible how resonant it feels considering current events.
I think we’re constantly surprised — I think surprised is a nice word for how a lot of us feel as citizens of America. We wanted to make something that reflects us back upon ourselves. If that parallel is useful to people, if it can provide strength or illumination or a conversation, then that’s a gift. That’s not always something you get with your art; sometimes it’s just entertainment, which is totally awesome. It’s kind of nice when you can do something you feel passionate and personal about.
It must be great to hear people’s reaction now that they’ve seen the whole first season.
Having the outside perspective is really moving and gratifying and also really fun. It’s really fun for me to hear people’s questions and thoughts and to hear if they are Team Nick or Team Luke and I eat it all up. I love that stuff. It’s very fun for me because it feels personal and I have my own opinions about things, too. I feel like a fan as well. I’m asked a lot which team I’m on but I never say.
What can you tell us about season 2?
Well, I’ve read the outline for the first episode, and it is f—ing ridiculous. [Laughs] It’s insane! I can say this: There is literally no way that anyone can guess what happens. You can try, but you won’t do it. It’s incredible. We’re really looking to blow people away, and we have every intention to break [the story] open and go even further in all directions. We have no intention of doing anything else than being even more balls to the wall than we were in season 1.
Season 1 of The Handmaid’s Tale is available for streaming on Hulu. The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live nationwide on CBS.