Yvonne Strahovski (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’): ‘I don’t feel sorry for Serena Joy’
“I don’t feel sorry for her,” admits Yvonne Strahovski about the divisive character she plays on Hulu’s Emmy award winning hit “The Handmaid’s Tale.” “If I remove myself from being so attached to the insides of Serena Joy as the person who plays her,” Strahovski says, “I think she has it coming and it’s exactly where she should be actually.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, and stars Elisabeth Moss as June, one of thousands of enslaved handmaids. They are forced to give birth for the barren ruling class in a near-future dystopia where the authoritarian theocracy of Gilead has usurped and replaced America as we know it. Strahovski plays Serena Joy, the wife of Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and high-ranking members of the elite, and for want of a better term, the villains of the show.
The series’ intense third season follows June and her resistance against the Gilead regime, including her clandestine efforts to transport children to freedom across the border. The Waterfords, after a season-long quest to retrieve their “daughter” Nichole, travel north and Commander Waterford is captured to face justice in Canada as a war criminal. While Serena is temporarily reunited with Nichole, she too pays the ultimate price when she is arrested as a co-conspirator.
Apart from the electric season finale, another highlight was mid-way through the season during the fifth episode “Unknown Caller,” where Serena is whisked away to Canada to reunite with baby Nichole in an arranged meeting with Luke (O.T. Fagbenle), who has custody after June smuggled of the child across the border. It was confronting to watch the nuances of this very complicated woman who is longing to be with her child but is still the villain.
“There’s just so much to power through in that episode,” Strahovski explains. “It’s such a tainted experience for her and I loved playing with that duality of having to still be the manipulative Serena whilst automatically losing herself in the emotional side of that reunion,” she says. “From the get-go we were zoned in on one another and it’s very strong because there are two very clear opposing forces at work here in this scene with Luke and his animosity towards Serena,” the actress reveals. “That scene was very clear to me. I knew exactly how I wanted to do it.”
Watch EW’s Chuck cast reunion, including a table read of fan-favorite episode
Press pause on your Jeffster mixtape, order a Subway sandwich from Postmates, and get ready to see your favorite Nerd Herd together again at a virtual Buy More.
Entertainment Weekly is kicking off its EW Reunions: #UnitedAtHome series by bringing together the cast and creators of NBC’s beloved spy comedy Chuck.
The show’s stars Zachary Levi (Chuck Bartowski), Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah Walker), Adam Baldwin (Colonel John Casey), Joshua Gomez (Morgan Grimes), Sarah Lancaster (Ellie Bartowski), Ryan McPartlin (Captain Awesome), Vik Sahay (Lester Patel), Scott Krinsky (Jeff Barnes), and Mark Christopher Lawrence (Big Mike), gathered on Zoom, along with co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak to reminisce about their time on the series.
They also performed a table read of the script for “Chuck Versus the Beard,” episode 9 from the show’s third season. The episode was hand-picked by fans on social media after a call-out by EW and Levi himself to help us decide which script to revisit.
Also joining in the fun were three special guests: Brandon Routh, Cedric Yarbrough, and Diedrich Bader, who all appeared on the fan-favorite episode, which originally aired March 8, 2010. And lucky Chuck superfan Kyle Fox also got the chance to read some lines with the cast.
For those who don’t have an intercept trapped in your brain to help recall the details of the episode, “Chuck Versus the Beard” was the first one that Levi got to direct, and more importantly the episode where Chuck finally comes clean to his best friend Morgan about being a spy.
During the virtual reunion, Fedak notes that Chuck’s confession to Morgan “was one of those things where we built so much of the season to this moment, and it was such a huge thing, that it still was amazing.” Levi adds that “in a Zach/Josh relationship I was so f—ing happy that all of the sudden we could now collaborate in the spy world and get to do more fun stuff together, and as a character, as Chuck, I didn’t have to keep lying to my friend all the time.”
With everyone in good spirits running back the episode, the cast also opens the door on the possibility of reuniting for a Chuck Versus the Movie, with Levi joking “I’m just trying to get 90 minutes worth of content from [co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak].”
The EW Reunions: #UnitedAtHome series benefits organizations helping our community in the fight against COVID-19. Each cast works with EW to choose a charity to support. The Chuck reunion is supporting Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund where the show’s fans have already raised more than $31,000 to help local food banks during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chuck Cast Is Reuniting for a Virtual Table Read of an Episode Chosen by Fans
The cast of the popular TV show, which aired its final episode in 2012, is reuniting for a virtual table read of an episode chosen by the fans.
Zachary Levi, who played Chuck in the TV series, posted a video to his Instagram page Tuesday explaining that fans can vote through Entertainment Weekly, and the cast will record the table read on Zoom in one week once the episode is chosen. The final recording will then be aired the following Friday.
The table read is part of Entertainment Weekly‘s EW Reunions: #UnitedAtHome series, which will put on TV reunions aimed at bringing entertainment to those isolated at home as well as benefiting Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
Participating cast members include Levi and Yvonne Strahovski, along with Adam Baldwin, Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Ryan McPartlin, Vik Sahay, Scott Krinsky, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Mekenna Melvin and maybe even more, depending on which episode is chosen.
“You get to vote on an episode for myself and the rest of our cast and our incredible creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz to do a table read of on Wednesday,” Levi said. “We’re going to do all kinds of other fun bells and whistles to it, and then on Friday it will be released to the world for your entertainment consumption during this crazy quarantine time.”
Strahovski also posted a video on her Instagram, noting that the cast “wanted to pay it forward” by raising money for Feeding America to help those who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
“If you are able to donate please do,” the Handmaid’s Tale actress said. “If you are unable to donate that is OK as well. Obviously this is an incredibly difficult time for so many people and many people are experiencing unimaginable loss and I wanted to acknowledge in this video and also thank everybody who is working hard out there on the front lines to get us through this crazy period of time in history.”
“We are very excited to come together and do this read through and hopefully bring some cheer back into the world and do something for people in need,” Strahovski added.
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