Elisabeth Moss to Star in Hulu Straight-to-Series Drama 'Handmaid's Tale' (Exclusive)

The project, from MGM Television, is based on the book by Margaret Atwood.
George Pimentel/Getty Images for Sundance
Elisabeth Moss

Hulu is expanding its drama roster.

The streaming service has handed out a straight-to-series order for The Handmaid's Tale, starring Mad Men grad Elisabeth Moss, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The 10-episode project is set to debut in 2017 and is based on the book of the same name by Margaret Atwood.

Bruce Miller (The 100) penned the script and will executive produce alongside Daniel Wilson (feature film The Handmaid's Tale), Fran Sears (The Sophisticated Gents) and Warren Littlefield (Fargo). Atwood is on board as a consulting producer on the property, which was previously adapted as a feature film in 1990 starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall.

The drama tells the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly part of the U.S. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted religious fundamentalism that treats women as property of the state. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Moss) is a handmaid in the commander's household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world. She is forced to navigate between commanders, their cruel wives, domestic "Marthas" (servants) and her fellow handmaids — where anyone could be a spy for Gilead — all with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.  

"Hulu has established itself as a home for blockbuster television events, and what better way to expand our originals offering than with a series based on this acclaimed, best-selling novel,” said Hulu head of content Craig Erwich. “Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was seen as ahead of its time, and we look forward to bringing it to life on our platform.”

For Hulu, Handmaid's Tale marks its fourth ongoing scripted drama series, joining Jason Katims' The Path, a critical hit that is expected to score a second season; upcoming Hugh Laurie entry Chance; and Shut Eye.

For MGM, Handmaid's Tale marks the company's first collaboration with Hulu. It joins other scripted series including History's Vikings, FX's Fargo and MTV's Teen Wolf.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a project that we have been committed to bringing to life as its story remains as powerful today as it did when Margaret first published her novel,” said MGM's Mark Burnett, president of television and digital, and Steve Stark, president of television development and production. “The Handmaid’s Tale has won multiple awards inspiring a film, a graphic novel, an opera, a ballet and finally, for the first time, a compellingly immersive drama series that has found the perfect home at Hulu and its star in Elisabeth Moss.”

For Moss, Handmaid's Tale will be her latest TV foray following her Golden Globe-winning role in Sundance TV's Top of the Lake and Emmy-nominated turn in AMC's Mad Men. Season two of Top of the Lake is also expected to bow in 2017. The actress is repped by WME.

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