Interview with Alexis Bledel, who plays Ofglen in The Handmaid's Tale
Q: What is the basic premise of The Handmaid’s Tale and how does your character fit into the story?
A: The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in the near future, a dystopian future, and is based on the book by Margaret Atwood. It takes place in what was formerly part of the United States at a period of time when society has been taken over by a totalitarian theocracy. It’s about the women who live in subjugation. The fertile women are assigned to different men and are forced to follow all sorts of rules. The story is told from the point of view Offred and when we pick up the story, she is new to Gilead and having to adjust to the rules. My character is Ofglen and has been in Gilead for a period of time. They befriend one another.
Q: How would you describe the tone and feel of the show?
A: The show is really beautifully shot and the tone is appropriately dark and mysterious at the beginning. As you get to know this world and suspend your disbelief as a viewer you start to understand the humor in the show. It is a wonderful balance of darkness and humor.
Q: Where is Ofglen when we first see her in the story?
A: When we first meet Ofglen she is waiting for Offred outside of her home and they are allowed to go on these walks together to the market, the wall and those are about the only places they are allowed to go together. The women aren’t really allowed to connect to anyone, so when they meet up they keep their heads down and limit their conversations. Ofglen is pious and very serious and as far as the audience can tell she is very connected to what she is supposed to be doing in Gilead. It seems like she is really following the rules.
Q: What were the biggest challenges Ofglen faces?
A: There are a lot of challenges Ofglen faces as a Handmaid. She has to live her life for the Commander of her home, Glen and it is really a bleak life. She has no rights and her main job is to keep him and the rest of the people in his house happy. She isn’t allowed any freedoms. Ofglen is a little different than the other Handmaids because she has a really rebellious spirit and she has the hope that she could escape. At times escape seems realistic, like she is going to pull it off and at other times you wonder what she is thinking with this hope. The consequences of escape are massive, she would pay with her life. In the face of that, she is not afraid.
Q: What attracted you to the role?
A: This is the most intense and dramatic material I have ever gotten to work on and that was very appealing. The character is very complexed, which gave me a lot to do. It is a terrific supporting role that has so much substance to it that the role really attracted me in every way.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced as an actor in bringing this character to life?
A: Imaging this worked that she live in is very far removed from the world that I live in so I had to build this world in my mind so that I can draw from it what I need to. It was a challenge to build the world and find the focus to bring myself to that place and stay in that mind set.
Q: What are you most excited for audiences to discover?
A: I love it when the story flashbacks to the women’s lives before Gilead because you get to see who they really are. Under the rules of Gilead you don’t get to see them for who they really are and it is interesting to explore their stories. I think it will be interesting for people to see how the women change under these circumstances and what the challenges bring out in each of the women.
The Handmaid's Tale on Channel 4 at 9pm on May 28th.
May 17, 2017 5:20pm by Channel 4