In Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dark, dystopian tale (premiering Wednesday), the actress co-stars as Commander Waterford’s (Joseph Fiennes) uncomfortably complicit wife Serena, a character Strahovski concedes is essentially “one of the bad guys.” And given the series’ eerily prescient theme of female oppression, the gig required the Chuck alum to take a massive acting leap.
“It’s difficult because I have to kind of separate myself from whatever my thoughts and feelings are and delve into playing this villain,” she shares with TVLine. “It really feels heavy… and difficult to watch at times because of everything that’s going on in the world.”
It helps that Serena is in many ways a victim herself, which is why Strahovski is quick to put air quotes around the word villain. “I would call her that for the sake of some kind of a general label, but [she’s] much more than that, obviously,” she notes, adding that even though her character “is at the top of the female food chain,” she’s still a woman and, therefore, “You don’t know what the consequences are going to be.”
It’s the reason Serena is reticent to bond with her handmaiden Offred (Elisabeth Moss). “How do you connect with people in the very extreme tight fundamentalist boundaries that you’re tied within?” Strahovski muses. “Almost anything is a wrong move, and you’re punished for that.”