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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Joseph Fiennes Reveals a Scene He Refused to Film

Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a series that definitely does not shy away from filming difficult and morally questionable content. The series is one of the most compelling television narratives on air today, and at the same time, it’s perhaps one of the most difficult to watch purely for some of the content involved with the dystopian world of Gilead.

At the center of some of those tough to watch scenes is Joseph Fiennes’ character Commander Fred Waterford. Known as the founding father of Gilead, Commander Waterford is often shown as stern, powerful and sometimes downright evil. Even with that being the case, at times Fiennes still sticks up for the integrity of his character. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, he revealed that there was one scene in particular which he refused to film as he felt it was not true to the nature of his character.

The scene Fiennes described would have taken place during the Commander and Serena’s (played by Yvonne Strahovski) diplomatic trip to Canada. Originally written in the script was a somewhat violent interaction between Fred and Serena, and Fiennes was not onboard with the content. He told EW:

[row]“I guess in many ways, as abhorrent and nasty and evil as Fred is, I have to defend parts of him. In episode 9, we had a moment where Fred was going to rape — after meeting Luke — rape Serena in a hotel room straight after, and it just didn’t track for me. I had to go out on a limb and refuse to do it because I felt that even though Fred is who he is, he’s human. And I think that he would be reeling from the interaction with Luke and that suddenly the reality comes face to face with him and he would be digesting that and trying to understand it, and he wouldn’t necessarily be switched on by being in Canada in a new hotel and trying to heavily persuade his wife to do something that she wouldn’t want to do.”[/row]

It’s interesting to hear how much thought and perception Fiennes brings to the character he plays. In this case, he has carefully deciphered what Fred would and wouldn’t do and then he has to plead his case to the creative minds in charge. Fiennes continued explaining he stood up for what he believed his character would do with, “long emails and defending and pushing, and feeling that Yvonne had tracked Serena so beautifully that her disenfranchisement with the regime and Fred was so beautifully charted it didn’t need a heavy scene to kind of suddenly push her over the edge.”

Ultimately, Fiennes won the battle and the scene was not included in the show’s second season, though he says he does appreciate the darker material, the show is really about battling for a balance. He said. “It’s really about battling for human nuance within a very dark character.”

You can check out the full interview with Joseph Fiennes below. The Handmaid’s Tale seasons one and two are currently streaming on Hulu. The show was also recently renewed for a third season as well.

Do you watch The Handmaid’s Tale? What do you think of the series? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.