TIME

The Handmaid’s Tale, retold

Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel about a society with a plummeting birth rate, in 1984. In the book, a totalitarian American regime strips women of their rights and forces those who are fertile to become “handmaids” to bear children for wealthy men and their barren wives. Hulu is making the landmark work into a show starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss that will premiere on April 26. Here Atwood and Moss discuss the story’s newfound relevance.

TIME: Why this show now?

Elisabeth Moss: I get asked a lot whether the show is in response to the election, but we were filming beforehand.

Margaret Atwood: The control of women and babies has been a part of every repressive regime in history. This has been happening all along. I don’t take it lightly when a politician says something like a pregnancy can’t result from a rape because a woman’s body knows it and rejects it. There’s an undercurrent of this [type of thinking].

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