‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: How Elisabeth Moss Handles Portraying Trauma

Elisabeth Moss has played June on The Handmaid’s Tale since the show first started back in season 1. It’s safe to say the character she portrays has seen a terrible amount of trauma throughout the entirety of the show. Forced into sexual slavery, she endures more than anyone should ever have to endure. Moss plays the character with such elegance and grace and her ever expressive eyes only enhance her acting abilities.

Elisabeth Moss explains how she handles portraying trauma

Elisabeth Moss attends the premiere of 'The Kitchen'
Elisabeth Moss attends the premiere of Warner Bros Pictures’ ‘The Kitchen’ | David Livingston/Getty Images

The Emmy winner recently told Variety that she tries to vary the way she deals with trauma when portraying a character’s suffering. If not, it can be boring and not as much a challenge for her, which she enjoys.

“I just have to keep on trying to do new things, to not do the same thing. To not get the same trauma, the same challenge, the same darkness — that to me, is boring,” Moss said. “But if I can go to new places and find new ways for things to be dark, then that’s interesting to me.”

The showrunner said they don’t want ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to be too unbearable for fans

Showrunner Bruce Miller said it’s a challenge to make sure the content is watchable for the audience, while experiencing the heinous acts going on around and towards June. They don’t want it to be so unbearable that people will stop watching.

“June is in a terrible situation and she’s going through terrible things, and I don’t want it to be a hard watch for the audience,” Miller said. “But I do want them to experience the things that June experiences so they can understand her. My rule of thumb is I don’t show anything at all unless you have to see it to feel what June feels.”

Season 3 shows June fighting for freedom in new ways

The third season of The Handmaid’s Tale has shown a stronger, yet darker side to June. She is fighting for her freedom, and can no longer continue to abide by what is done to her. She is going to get the children of Gilead out and bring it all down around her. June has made hard choices this season, including killing a commander and choosing the cause over an innocent life.

Moss is thrilling as June in every way. Her eyes are so expressive, you can practically hear her screaming when she is sitting there silent as a mouse. She is taking her circumstances and turning them to her advantage through sheer will and determination.

The finale of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ will be explosive

The executive producer of the show, Warren Littlefield, spoke at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. He revealed that the show is headed for another shocking cliffhanger that will leave fans practically reeling.

“I hope you’ll feel shocked at what we accomplish and where we leave our key characters,” Littlefield said. “I think it’s quite a cliffhanger that we’ll leave you with. And I feel quite confident that if we had a 40 percent leap from Year 2 to Year 3, I’m looking forward to what that leap will be in Year 4.”

As is customary with The Handmaid’s Tale, fans will be left scrambling to figure out what to do with themselves when the season ends. At least fans know there will be a season 4 soon. June’s fight won’t be over anytime soon.