Samira Wiley has found her next full-time acting gig.
Picked up straight to series, the 10-episode drama is based on the book of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The drama stars Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss and 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 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.
Wiley will play Offred’s best friend from college, her fellow handmaid-in-training at the Red Center, and a connection to life before Gilead.
Bruce Miller (The 100) penned the script for the MGM TV entry and will executive produce alongside Daniel Wilson (feature film The Handmaid’s Tale), Fran Sears (The Sophisticated Gents) and Warren Littlefield (Fargo). Ilene Chaiken (Empire, The L Word) has also boarded the drama as an executive producer. 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 Hulu drama will premiere in 2017.
For Wiley, the role marks her first series regular gig since her multiple-season run as inmate and fan favorite Poussey Washington on Orange Is the New Black. (For those who haven’t finished season four of the Jenji Kohan drama, click here to find out what happened to Wiley’s beloved character.) Wiley will next be seen in a recurring role on FXX critical darling You’re the Worst. She most recently starred in the off-Broadway play Daphne’s Dive, directed by Thomas Kail (Hamilton). Her film roles include Rob the Mob, Being Flynn and The Sitter. On TV, she has had guest gigs on The Catch, Law & Order: SVU, Person of Interest and a recurring role on Unforgettable. The Juilliard graduate is repped by Innovative Artists.