As in the dystopian fictional world of The Handmaid’s Tale, in real life, one of the biggest hurdles in the upcoming fourth season of the Hulu drama was entering Canada.
However, for the series starring Elisabeth Moss, this barricade was linked more to the coronavirus pandemic than to escaping a totalitarian theocracy.
“Honestly, the biggest change is that it has been difficult to get our actors to shoot in Canada,” Servant showrunner Bruce Miller admitted on today’s virtual TCA panel for the show.
The series based on Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed 1985 novel has been filmed in and around Toronto since its first season.
Forced to close like almost every other production in the world due to the growing Covid-19 crisis last year, when the Handmaid’s Tale picked up speed last fall, the fact that he was filming north of the border became a deciding factor in some ways.
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Trying to contain the pandemic, Canada closed its doors to the United States early on, as the case increased in the land of the free, home of the brave. Even though Canadian citizens and essential workers, as professionals in the entertainment industry were designated, were allowed to travel to the Great White North, provinces like Ontario until recently had a mandatory quarantine of 14 days.
“So we had to prevent people from participating in the episodes just because they didn’t have enough time in their schedules,” Miller added of the consequences of this policy on Servant production. “I mean, people are very nice to come fly for a day’s work in Canada from anywhere. So many of our cast like Clea DuVall, these people who work really hard on other shows. So that was the biggest change.
Of course, even if the flight to Canada of despotic Gilead plays a big role in the world of Servant, travel wasn’t the only area where coronavirus impacted the show
“Certainly a ton of things had to be changed on the show,” Miller noted. “Only the practical realities of producing and doing the show on the pitch were very, very difficult, but the people in front of the camera, for the most part, we tried…. To protect this space. “
“We reduced the number of people in stages and places, like where we decided to shoot was a really big question because sometimes we couldn’t get things done,” said the showrunner and executive producer then. as his fellow EP Moss and Warren Littlefield looked on and nodded. “Sometimes we had five people in front of the camera, sometimes we could have 20 people in front of the camera. So we were constantly making adjustments to the script and the story all season. “
With Moss also behind the camera for the first time directing three episodes, the fourth 10-episode season of The Handmaid’s Tale debuts with a trio of episodes April 28 on the Disney-controlled streamer. Having just finished today, Moss directed Episode 3, which Miller wrote, as well as Episodes Eight and Nine.
Still drawing elements of Atwood’s book and having the rights to its sequel published in 2019 Wills, The Handmaid’s Tale was renewed by Hulu for a fifth season in December. However, today Miller made it clear that he has no plans to end the Emmy-winning show.
“As long as Lizzie does this with me, I’ll continue,” Miller joked at Moss and Littlefield’s laughter. “There is a lot of life in this story. I am certainly fascinated by what is happening in the Testaments and if it is part of our future it is a bigger question.
The Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Bradley Whitford, Ann Dowd and Max Minghella co-starring Handmaid’s is produced by Moss, Miller, Littlefield, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Eric Tuchman, John Weber, Frank Siracusa, Sheila Hockin, Kira Snyder and Yahlin Chang.