Cherry Jones is paying a visit to Gilead.
The actress has signed on to play June/Offred's (Elisabeth Moss) mother in the upcoming season of The Handmaid's Tale, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The Tony winning actress will first appear as Holly in episode 3 of the critically acclaimed Hulu drama.
Holly as “an outspoken feminist and a judgmental but loving mother to June.” There’s no word yet if she’ll be seen in flashbacks or the show’s terrifying dystopian present-day.
“She’s a terrific literary character who’s now going to come to life for the first time and so it was important to me who that was,” Moss said to The Hollywood Reporter. “I was obsessed with it for weeks and bothering everybody about it — way before anybody cared to talk about it. Cherry was my fantasy choice. I sent her the script, she wrote me a lovely email back and she said yes almost immediately.”
According to THR, in Margaret Atwood’s novel on which the series is based, Offred often reflects on her mother’s feminist causes and how, in the past, she found them to be extreme — an opinion that slowly shifts as the world of Gilead takes shape. In that version of the story, Holly’s precise present-day fate remains unclear to Offred, but she surfaces during a Handmaid’s training video shown to the girls at the center, hinting that she wound up in The Colonies where radiation probably killed her.
Plans to incorporate June’s mother into the story have been developing since the first season, but showrunner Bruce Miller was unable to find appropriate time to include a character with such a large impact.
“We've been thinking about her a lot. June's mother is a big character in the book and representative of an interesting kind of feminism that was seemingly more of that time,” Miller said to THR. “June's memories of her mother and her activism are very vibrant in the book, so we've been talking about her from day one of season one, and it just didn't seem like enough time to do her justice. In season two, we mention her a little bit, but we just don't want to short-shrift her story. It's a story we want to tell — she was one of the most memorable characters.”
The Handmaid's Tale is set to return with two episode made available on April 25, and the subsequent season two episodes being released Wednesdays on Hulu.