'The Handmaid's Tale' Executive Producers Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield Talk Soundtracking, Season 5's 'Battle for Feminist Rights' (Exclusive)

Season 5 of The Handmaid's Tale is in full swing on Hulu, and the new episodes have revealed how far June (Elisabeth Moss) will go to fight against the violent patriarchy of Gilead. Ahead of the new season, PopCulture.com spoke virtually with the show's executive producers Bruce Miller and Warren Littlefield to talk about the series, including how they approach soundtracking the episodes and how part of the show's core is a "battle for feminist rights."

When we asked Miller — who is also the creator of The Handmaid's Tale TV series — about the use of popular songs in the show, he clarified that they never wrote scenes with a specific song in mind. "We never put it in script. Only because you kind of don't... It's putting the cart before the horse," he explained. "You want the music. You want to wait till you see what it is before you know what music works. The music choices in the show are, very much, from June's point of view. It's always like... You know when you get a song in your head and you don't know why, it just pops? That's what June is like."

He later continued, "The moments are often so absurd that she gets some sort of absurd song in her head. We wait until posts, usually, so at the very end when we have a cut. We have this beautiful Sophie's choice between: do we let [series composer] Adam Taylor compose something, or do we use a song? So, that's always a problem, but I think that... Mostly the music supervisor, and me, and the people in post, and the director kind of present, choose, that kind of thing."

Miller then added, "In the end, music is so personal that I... a hundred percent... it's whether I like it or not personally. A lot of them though, lately there's a lot of songs I didn't know beforehand because I don't want it to be Bruce's greatest hits. There has to be a song and it is just taste, but it's got to be someone's taste, so it's just mine."

While the show's soundtrack is ever-evolving, one thing that remains the same is the main narrative goal, which Littlefield says is "first and foremost, present a compelling human drama." He continued, "As Bruce early on described it, 'a thriller,' right? Our goal is to bring audiences to it. What we found, once we started making it, is that the world that Margaret [Atwood, author of the original novel] put in her book 35 years ago, that world became more relevant than we ever anticipated. Today it's even more relevant, and there are echoes of that all the time."


He then asserted, "Let's be really clear, paramount to this is a battle for feminist rights, but as we must never forget that we're telling a narrative here that we want viewers to absolutely go for this ride. That ride is emotionally gut-wrenching and also fulfilling. I think that's what we've been able to straddle. That's why we're still here five years. I think we're in a really, really good place right now in the drama that we're presenting." The fifth episode of The Handmaid's Tale Season 5 premiered on Wednesday, only on Hulu.