Elisabeth Moss on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and Doing Television When Actors Weren’t “Supposed” to Do Television

Actress Elizabeth moss

“I still get excited when I get offered stuff. Like, a part of me thinks, They think I can do it! That’s awesome!” – Elisabeth Moss

Actress Elisabeth Moss was already on two major television series, The West Wing and Mad Men, and with all the buzz over Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale it sounds like she now has a hat trick. While it’s now common to see major stars acting on television, Moss was a trailblazer in balancing a career in film with a career in television. In an interview with Vulture, Moss spoke about seeking out good writing, how she feels about being offered roles instead of being asked to audition, and why she sought a producer role on The Handmaid’s Tale.

When asked how she ended up accepting roles on The West Wing, Mad Men and The Handmaid’s Tale, Moss says she simply looks out for good writing regardless of the format. She says, “I think that enabled me to say yes to some television things perhaps before everyone was saying yes to television things. We were still in a world where, as an actor, you weren’t really supposed to do television. It was kind of like the lesser group of people. But because I never put those parameters on things, and I was just like, ‘This is an amazing script and an amazing project; of course I’m going to do this,’ it became part of one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.”

In terms of The Handmaid’s Tale, Moss found it even easier to accept because she didn’t have to audition. She reveals, “I auditioned for Mad Men, I auditioned for Top of the Lake, I obviously auditioned for West Wing, so I still get excited when I get offered stuff. Like, a part of me thinks, They think I can do it! That’s awesome! And that’s a part of me I have to squash, otherwise I would do everything just because people gave it to me.”

But there was one catch — Moss was not willing to sign another standard multiple-season contract without also being given the opportunity to produce. She admits, “I couldn’t sign on to something that was such a time commitment and not have a fucking creative say in it at this point in my career. I’ve been doing this for 28 years. I don’t know everything, but I kind of know something about how to do this.”

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