I just started watching The Handmaid’s Tale (late to the party, I know) and each episode I find myself simultaneously yelling at the screen over the horrors these poor women are put through, and giving the evil eye to Joseph Fiennes’ truly devious character, Fred Waterford. This comes as no surprise to Fiennes, according to a recent interview.
Speaking to The Guardian about his character, Fiennes said, “really, Fred is pathetic. His voicelessness: that, for me, describes the man. There are brutal acts he didn’t command to happen, but he didn’t stand up.”
During the interview, the 49-year-old actor also equated the storyline of Handmaid’s Tale to the Trump administration. “So you look at those Republican leaders who are not standing up, and they are all Fred,” he said.
In fact, Fiennes is so aware of the hatred Fred attracts, he’s certain it will have an impact on the roles he lands after the show finishes. “I’ll only get misogynist roles for ages. I’m waiting for someone to slap or punch me in the street. I’m waiting for someone to be really disturbed by Fred because I’m really disturbed by him.”
Mission, accomplished. I’m only halfway through Season Two of The Handmaid’s Tale and it’s safe to say: I’m disturbed.
Later in the interview, Fiennes speaks about the lasting impact of The Handmaid’s Tale. “…What I think about is those young folks dressing up as handmaids in Alabama, silenting protesting [against abortion legislation]; you feel as if you’re in something very important and very pertinent to people.”
“So it’s great. At least I’ve done my bit for society, I’ve illustrated the patheticness of misogyny,” he said.
You got that right, Joseph. The Handmaid’s Tale is no doubt brutal and triggering to watch, but it opens up a very important conversation about misogyny and the oppression of women that is still experienced by many today.