Let’s talk about Reed Morano. I don’t know if this series could have been what it was without her contributions directing the first couple episodes. Can you talk about what she brought and will she return for next season?
We’re trying to work it into her schedule. You know,we looked at a lot of directors. We looked at directors with far more directing experience and far more credentials to take on the pilot cause now it’s a series. Reed, of course, is an award-winning [cinematographer], but, but it’s fair to say she’s new as a director. We embraced her indie film “Meadowlands,” but that was a small indie film. Very, very different from what we were doing. And yet, powerful and emotionally satisfying, albeit very different from “The Handmaid’s Tale.” But we engaged with Reed and found that she understood the material. She did a very extensive look book — over 60 pages. She even gave us thoughts for soundtrack, and she’s just a badass warrior. And we thought that she was right for this project and our partners were really good. At first, they said, “Reed who?” And then they said, “Wait, she doesn’t have any Oscars”? Because doesn’t everybody who does television now have an Oscar? And yet, to their extreme credit, they signed off. And then I waited a week and I said, “Yeah, I’m kind of looking at the schedule, and I think I’m going to hire her for three hours instead of one hour.” And, appropriately, everyone said, “You know, if you’re wrong, the show can’t recover. That’s it. It’s over if this is the wrong decision.” And I said, “That’s absolutely correct. We will not recover if it’s the wrong decision. However, if it’s the right decision, we think we will have locked ourselves in for how to discover and launch and make this a show.” And again, to our partner’s credit, they embraced it; they jumped off the ledge with us, and Reed [was] everything that we hoped she’d be: a warrior. And she understood the essence of the story. I think if we just use the word hot — her career is hot right now. She’s exploded. But it’s very important for her to come back. She’s got a movie coming up and we’re trying to make sure that we get Reed at least at the end of the season when she’s done with her film.
Is the plan to shoot in the fall and winter again?
Yeah, it will be fall and winter. We start shooting in Toronto [in] early September. We’re very much attached to that look and feel of season one. Season two will be thirteen hours, so we’ll go from the top of September into through February.
You may or may not like this description, but, as someone who has had a legendary career in television, how do you feel about the current state of Peak TV? Do you feel it’s about to slow down? Has it flat-lined yet? Is this where the number of of scripted series in production will be for a while?
Yeah, good question. I think it’s incredible and remarkable and it’s an honor to be a part of it. I’m very proud of my past. When I was running NBC entertainment, in that “Must-See TV” era, we had 168 Emmy awards. And I think that product holds up quite well. However, what plays out on television today is beyond that television. The complex narratives, the complex character exploration is even greater. And so, I think the bar keeps going up each and every year in this age of choice for viewers. So, we need to respond to that. And we can’t acquiesce in it. We can’t sit back and feel good about ourselves. We have to continue to do better. I think that we will be in a 400+ scripted series for a while. I don’t see that going backwards. There may not be all of the scripted platforms, you know, like WGN. I don’t know if they’ll all survive. But I think we’re going to still have a plethora of scripted choices, where, if we want to make a mark, if we want to break through, we have to do something pretty extraordinary. So that’s a wonderful challenge, and it’s an honor to be a part of it. But you don’t sit back and, in any way, accept what you did last year and [think] that that’s acceptable for this year.
All 10 episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale” are now available on Hulu.