In season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) caused a lot of heartache and experienced plenty herself — especially in the season finale. But as starJoseph Fiennes revealed recently, Serena narrowly escaped another terrible event: The writers originally wanted Fiennes’ Commander Waterford to rape his wife during their visit to Canada, but Fiennes refused to film the scene. In an interview with EW’s Chasing Emmy podcast, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama nominee Strahovski says she agreed with her costar’s decision to push back on the proposed scene.
“Joe and I talk a lot about our dynamic as the Commander and Serena. There’s a lot of thought that gets put into everything,” she says. “I know he felt strongly to not do that. We didn’t want to also take away from the rape that would then happen with Offred. It seemed like it was going to be a bit too much if he had forced Serena to have sex with him in the hotel in Canada.”
Strahovski says she too struggled with certain scenes this season — though surprisingly it was the ones where Serena tried to be nice that were tougher to get right. “Scenes where she was making sort of softer, more human decisions, like allowing Janine to go and see the baby at the hospital, [were] tricky because ordinarily Serena would just shut that down immediately,” says the actress. “So it was those kinds of moments that felt a little trickier than others.”
To hear more from Strahovski — including her hopes for Serena in season 3 and what fans say to her on the street (“a lot of swear words come into play”) — listen to the full interview (which begins 21 minutes in) below. And for more Emmy news and interviews, be sure to subscribe to EW’s Chasing Emmy podcast here.