‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Ann Dowd Channeled Aunt Lydia While Threatening Someone in a Supermarket

Ann Dowd is the perfect actor to play Aunt Lydia, and fans are more excited than ever to see what she brings to the character in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4. Dowd’s talked plenty about what she brings to her character in the past. And she once explained her inner Aunt Lydia came out after someone harassed her son in a grocery store. Here’s what happened.

What is Aunt Lydia’s back story? Ann Dowd brings a lot to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Ann Dowd, a member of 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4 cast, playing Aunt Lydia. Aunt Lydia is looking up as someone speaks to her
Ann Dowd, a member of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ cast, playing Aunt Lydia in season 3 | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

We’re hoping to learn even more about Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, but the past few seasons revealed a lot about who she was prior to her involvement with Gilead. In Gilead, Lydia serves as a guide for the handmaids. And she’s not scared of reprimanding them using violent means when they step out of line. While she certainly cares for the women, she believes in Gilead more — and she’ll stop at nothing when it comes to protecting the potential for more children.

Prior to Gilead, Aunt Lydia was a divorced teacher with no kids of her own, Vulture notes. In The Handmaid’s Tale, we see her getting close with one of her students and the student’s struggling mother. Ultimately, after a humiliating experience trying to get romantic with a man (and after seeking advice from the student’s mom), Lydia turns on the mother and student.

“What I was looking for in her past was, What does feeling humiliated do to her?” showrunner Bruce Miller explained. “These are core things that don’t really have anything to do with Gilead. In some ways, what I wanted to show is that Lydia is just as unforgiving to herself as she is to everybody else. That doesn’t make her a good person. But it certainly is interesting.”

Ann Dowd once channeled Aunt Lydia when threatening someone

Ann Dowd from 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4 arriving at a Hulu event for the show
Ann Dowd from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Dowd is likely nothing like Aunt Lydia in real life, but she did note a time when she channeled her character from The Handmaid’s Tale into her real life.

According to Good Morning America, Dowd shared a time when she was in a supermarket with her oldest son, who is on the autism spectrum. A woman told her son, “He needs to go to the nuthouse.” Dowd noted, “The switch went off.”

“I was very calm, and she was older,” Dowd added. “She had long, white, straggly hair. And I stood in front of her, and I knew that I had lost it and I had become very still. … I said, ‘I’m going to take your hair. I’m going to wrap it around your neck. And I’m going to pull.'”

From there, the other woman backed down. “She stepped back … I said, ‘That’s my son. Don’t ever do that again. Ever,'” Dowd added. “And she said, ‘Oh. Well, I mean–,’ And I said, ‘No, no. You should be frightened of me. Because I will find you.'”

When is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4 release date?

RELATED: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4: Does June Leave Luke? Trailer Indicates Marital Issues

So, when can fans see Dowd reprise her role as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4? The new season airs on Hulu on April 28, 2021.

As for what fans can expect from Dowd’s character, she hinted that there might be some punishment in store for Lydia. June Osborne escapes Gilead with a few other handmaids, and Lydia could receive the brunt of the blame.

“The Commanders cannot wait to place blame on anyone but themselves, and Lydia of course is front and center to receive that blame,” Dowd told This Morning. “And I’m sure she blames herself. How could she have missed this? She had all the signs, ‘The girls were acting strangely, I knew that June was up to something, and yet I did not act.’ So yes, I think she’s got a lot to prove.”

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