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August 15, 2018

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Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera. In this week’s episode, Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks with “The Handmaid’s Tale” star Yvonne Strahovski.

The conversation with the actress, who received a 2018 supporting actress Emmy nomination for her work as Serena Joy in the sci-fi drama’s sophomore season, spanned topics ranging from the age-old Serena as victim-versus-villain debate, as well as Strahovski’s speculations into her character’s Season 3 arc.

The second season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” pushed Serena to the edge emotionally and physically, with Strahovski and Elisabeth Moss as Offred/June facing off in no shortage of intense scenes. With Season 2 having officially left Margaret Atwood’s source material behind, Strahovski was pleased at the writers’ decision to complicate her character beyond the bitter wife.

I’m so grateful that they really took a deep dive with Serena Joy this season and fleshed her out even more, in a way where I was given an opportunity to really access her vulnerability and get real raw — raw in all the crevices with her — and break down that iciness that was first established in Season 1,” Strahovski says. “It’s been such a tumultuous but rewarding ride.

The series’ sophomore scripts also forced Strahovski to participate in several disturbing scenes, whether Serena was enduring a finger amputation and belt buckle beating at the hands of her husband, or perpetrating an organized rape of Offred. Her problematic journey sparked debate among viewers as to whether Serena should ultimately be viewed as a villain or a victim.

She’s clearly a villain for so many reasons, but she’s also human, and that was the first thing that stuck out to me way back when I read the pilot,” Strahovski says. “There was distrust there to begin with, and there’s another woman moving in to reproduce with my husband. I mean, those were the basics. Those were the raw elements that made me think, that would drive anyone crazy on an emotional level. The misery and the anger that that would provoke is very powerful, so to me, she was always very human.”

Eventually, Strahovski believes all of Serena’s harrowing experiences throughout the second season informed her shocking — and potentially redeeming — decision to release her kidnapped child to June, her biological mother.

To really see that moment in the end after all the impactful things that happened to Serena this season, like Eden’s execution, losing her finger, and the beating, as well,” Strahovski says. “There were so many pivotal moments that, I think, contribute to her making that decision in the very end.

The Season 2 finale left Serena in a precarious position going into Season 3, living in a household with an abusive husband and without a child, and Strahovski isn’t convinced their marriage can recover from the blows it took in the last few episodes.

I don’t know if that relationship is redeemable,” Strahovski says. “It would be interesting if it was, but in the same way, I didn’t know if Serena was redeemable after something like the rape scene.

Also up in the air is the reunion of Serena and Offred, who is set to return to the Waterford household sans-child — a situation Strahovski doubts Serena will take in stride.

I can’t imagine that going down very well,” Strahovski says. “I don’t think Serena’s gonna be like, ‘Great! Well done.’ Who else does she trust with that baby? There’s no one else who is going to protect that baby in the way that she knows Offred would.

Source: variety.com

July 17, 2018


FLAGSTAFF, AZ – Actress Yvonne Strahovski (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) joined a Sierra Club Outing to Grand Canyon region this weekend with her husband, actor Tim Loden, to experience the wonder of Arizona’s immense national park and to see first-hand the need to permanently protect it.

I want my child to be able to explore the wonders of Grand Canyon without the threat of toxic uranium pollution nearby,” said Strahovski, who is currently pregnant with her first child. “Being out in the wild had a profound impact on my upbringing and helped form who I am today. These majestic places should be protected and accessible to everyone.

An avid outdoorswoman, Strahovski is a Sierra Club Ambassador who grew up in Australia spending considerable time in the wild climbing, canyoning, and caving. Two years ago, she vowed to reconnect with nature and has been traveling extensively throughout the U.S. exploring our national parks and public lands, which she often documents on her personal Instagram account.

Right now, attempts are underway to allow dangerous uranium and other mining on the public lands surrounding Grand Canyon. There are temporary protections in place that need to be made permanent in order to protect surrounding communities and waterways from radioactive contamination. Our public lands should be protected for public enjoyment and recreation, not sold off to the dirty energy industry.

Grand Canyon is the crown jewel of America’s national park system. It is vital to the economy, supports jobs and provides an outdoor experience and connection to nature unlike any other. To learn more about the Sierra Club and its work to protect Grand Canyon and other national parks and monuments, please visit SierraClub.org/OurWildAmerica.

Source: sierraclub.org

July 12, 2018

AUSTRALIAN actress Yvonne Strahovski’s scene-stealing turn in The Handmaid’s Tale has earned her an Emmy nomination, but plenty of her fellow Aussies missed out.

AUSTRALIAN actor Yvonne Strahovski has scored an Emmy nomination for her role scene-stealing — and occasionally psychotic — role in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Strahovski’s performance as the cunning and manipulative Serena has earned rave reviews from critics and fans alike, with US TV bible TV Guide declaring the Sydney native’s performance was “the only reason to watch season two”.

The news was not so good for Nicole Kidman at the Emmy nomination ceremony in Los Angeles overnight. She was snubbed for her performance in Top of the Lake: China Girl, as was Naomi Watts for roles in Twin Peaks and the Netflix series Gypsy.

Top of the Lake: China Girl, shot in Sydney, also missed out in other categories, including best limited TV series.

Other Australians who missed out on nominations included Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development), Hugo Weaving (Patrick Melrose), Elizabeth Debicki (The Tale) and Jim Jefferies (The Jim Jefferies Show).

Strahovski’s Handmaid’s Tale co-star Elisabeth Moss missed out on a nomination for Top of the Lake: China Girl but scored a nod for best actress in a drama series for her role as the imprisoned June, with Strahovski’s nomination coming in the supporting actress category.

Strahovski will compete for the Emmy against two The Handmaid’s Tale co-stars, Alexis Bledel and Ann Dowd, as well as Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Thandie Newton (Westworld) and Vanessa Kirby (The Crown).

The Handmaid’s Tale was one of the big winners with 20 nominations overall. Game Of Thrones was the dominant series.

Source: news.com.au

July 12, 2018

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the Season 2 finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Word.”)

Serena Joy may want her baby back.

On Wednesday’s Season 2 finale of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Yvonne Strahovski’s character made the last-minute decision to let Offred/June (Elisabeth Moss) take their infant daughter, Holly/Nicole, away from Gilead with the help of a whole bunch of Marthas.

While Serena does not yet know that June actually gave the child to Emily (Alexis Bledel) to take to safety — and that she stayed behind in hopes of saving her other daughter Hannah from the dystopian regime — she does know that she may not be comfortable with the choice she made so quickly to let June’s biological baby go.

At least that’s what creator/showrunner Bruce Miller says Commander Fred Waterford’s (Joseph Fiennes) wife is thinking as they prepare for Season 3.

I think that Serena is a complicated character. But she, in her own mind, doesn’t have evil motives,” Miller told reporters Monday during a conference call regarding the sophomore season’s closing episode “And here she’s been kind of left with this one thing that she’s allowed to want, which is a child. I mean everything else has been taken away with her. The desire to run a country, the desire to kind of serve God in the way that she wants to.

So I think that now that’s been, that she’s made the choice of that actually means that she’s going to not be with the child — that she genuinely loves the child, it can’t grow up in Gilead, she has a choice to make — is she gonna find something else to focus on? Is she going to stay bereft, and empty, and live in Gilead? Or is she gonna find a way to get her daughter back? Is she gonna change her mind about her daughter and try to get her hands on that child again, all those things are possible.

To Serena’s credit, earlier in the episode, she came before her husband and the other commanders to try and make a case for gender equality in Gilead as she started to realize that her daughter would never really be safe in an extremist patriarchal society. But that didn’t go as planned. (See: her chopped off pinky finger.)

So I think that going forward with Serena, you wanna follow that incredibly, intelligent woman with a force of personality and tunnel vision that is unrivaled,” Miller said. “What is she gonna bring that force to bear on next and I don’t know. I mean, I know because I’m working on it. But I’m not sure whether she’d be so quick to let go of the idea of a child just because she made a decision in a moment.

Miller says that he’s “in awe of what Yvonne’s been able to do this season.”

And what Lizzy and Yvonne have been able to build together in terms of the arc of a character who really can be despicable and completely unredeemable in one moment and then you feel sorry for her and the next moment, which is just an astonishing slight of hand that Yvonne works very, very hard to make seem easy,” he added. “She’s spectacular.

Source: thewrap.com