The Second Act of Alexis Bledel: How “The Handmaid’s Tale” Changed Everything

Alexis was interviewed by E! News about her career so far and how “The Handmaid’s Tale” was a game changer.

Alexis Bledel got her start in Hollywood with parts in dramedies like Gilmore Girls and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but dramatic roles were what she was really after. Now, that dramatic work has arrived and her first Emmy followed soon after.

As Rory Gilmore, Bledel became a household name in The WB/The CW’s Gilmore Girls. Rory, a brainy teen from the small town of Stars Hollow, had a close friendship with her mother, Lorelai, played by Lauren Graham, that audiences everywhere coveted. It was Bledel’s first major role and one she said helped shape her as an actor.

“Well, it was a really particular kind of training. I mean, it really helped me learn how to memorize dialogue quickly and really comprehensively, which is great for auditioning and any work I get after. It also really prepared me for putting in the hours, I guess. Yeah, it gave me sort of endurance, so I feel like I can hop into TV work more confidently than when I started,” Bledel said with a laugh.

Bledel bounced around between genres with every project during her seven seasons on Gilmore Girls and after, picking up skills wherever she landed. There was the youth-oriented Tuck Everlasting, Sin City, where she played a hooker, the series finale of ER, a guest arc on Mad Men and a Fox sitcom that never saw the light of day.

In 2016, Bledel returned to Stars Hollow in the Netflix revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. It was a brief return home to familiarity for Bledel and audiences, before introducing the world to a role—and performance—that was the antithesis of Rory Gilmore. Her work in The Handmaid’s Tale shocked audiences and garnered critical acclaim.

“I never have had a sense or been able to predict what kind of thing is coming up for me. It always just kind of pops up—I always wanted to do dramatic work, but I didn’t know that [I could], I guess, delve into roles like this one,” Bledel told E! News in a phone interview. “It’s been really fulfilling in a way I didn’t know this job could be. It’s really been incredible.”

This is the second act of Alexis Bledel.
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Alexis on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Alexis was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last week to promote “The Handmaid’s Tale”. She also talked about “Gilmore Girls” and told Jimmy that she and her Sisterhood co-stars just pitched “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 3”

Alexis Bledel Goes Inside “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” Disturbing LGBTQ Treatment

The following interview contains spoiler from the first episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Alexis and her co-star Samira Wiley sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss the LGBTQ Treatment in the first episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale”

[This story contains spoilers from the first three episodes of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, “Offred,” “Birth Day” and “Late.”]

Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which launched its first three episodes Wednesday, delivered one of the most stunning commentaries about LGBTQ rights on the small screen.

The series takes place in Gilead, a futuristic but simplified world in which fertility issues abound and women’s rights are a thing of the past. In order to keep the population up, totalitarian government officials send young and fertile women — the “handmaids” — to affluent families, where they are forced to help couples procreate via sexual servitude.

What’s more, being gay in the new world is not something that’s at all accepted, given the prioritization on repopulating the world. It’s a charge that’s actually punishable by death, as characters played by stars Samira Wiley (Orange Is the New Black) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) learned by the end of the first three episodes.

Elisabeth Moss’ Offred is told that her gay best friend Moira (Wiley) has been killed — though viewers never see that to be true. Meanwhle, Bledel’s Ofglen — Offred’s shopping partner and secret resistance member — is captured alongside her girlfriend. Both tried for being “gender traitors,” Ofglen is sentenced to rehabilitation — a harrowing surgery in which her clitoris is removed — after watching as her lover is hanged to death. (Ofglen’s life is only saved since she is still fertile.)

Overall, the portrayal of gay characters in the Hulu drama mirrors how some parts of the world treat LGBTQ individuals. (Gay men in Chechnya, for example, are currently being tortured and killed merely because of their sexuality.)

Below, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Wiley and Bledel to delve into the horrifying scenes of author Margaret Atwood’s book come to life, the way LGBTQ characters are portrayed in the series, feminism and what’s next.
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“The Handmaid’s Tale”: Alexis Teases Her Most Challenging Role Yet

Alexis sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about her role in “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Alexis Bledel may be synonymous with Gilmore Girls favorite Rory Gilmore, but 17 years after her acting debut the actress is tackling one of her most challenging roles yet with Hulu’s highly anticipated take on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

On the streaming service’s drama, Bledel takes on the role of Ofglen, a prominent member of the resistance in the fictional world of Gilead. Her character in the novel (and on the series) plays a big role in getting Offred (Elisabeth Moss) to pass on information to the rebellion at the center of the drama.

Picked up straight to series, the 10-episode drama stars Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss and is based on the book by award-winning Canadian author Atwood. The series takes place in Gilead, a futuristic but simplified world in which fertility issues abound and women’s rights are a thing of the past. In order to keep the population up, government officials in a totalitarian society send young and fertile women — the “handmaids” — to affluent families, where they are forced to help couples procreate via sexual servitude.

But while Bledel’s Ofglen is a fringe character in the book, showrunner Bruce Miller has fleshed her out into a more complex, surprising role in the Hulu offering in a way that may surprise die-hard Gilmore Girls fans.
“I was trying to give her an interesting backstory about how she got caught and all these other things; it was a decision based on what I thought she’d be like,” Miller tells THR. “She’s such a fascinating character because from the outside it looks like she’s almost a committed bubblehead. A ‘pious shit.’ But she spends the whole first episode trying to figure out if Offred is someone she can trust. On one hand she seems like a pious little shit; on the other she’s a recruiter for the resistance. I was trying to fill her out just in all sorts of ways.”

Ahead of the April 26 premiere, THR caught up with Bledel to discuss growing up from Gilmore Girls and Ofglen’s significance.

What was it about Ofglen that made you sign on?

She’s such a rich character so it’s a real opportunity for me to dig in a bit deeper. It’s endlessly interesting to play a character who had this former life and a family and an identity that was stripped from her and now she’s essentially enslaved and oppressed and fearing for her life. If she takes a misstep or says the wrong thing in front of the wrong person…there’s an underlying tension in all of the scenes.
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Alexis & Lauren Graham on more episodes

During Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys Panel Alexis and “Gilmore Girls” co-star Lauren Graham discussed the possibility of more episodes of the revival.

Gilmore Girls stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel joined Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys panel Sunday morning to discuss their time on the Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life and whether they’d be game to continue the series.

“Now it has become a dialogue with the fans of the show; if it all existed in a vacuum I would play that character until my dying day,” Graham told the audience, adding that they both hadn’t been approached by anyone about doing a second season of the revival. “I love her writing; from the moment I read the pilot, I felt so connected to Amy Sherman-Palladino’s voice as a writer. It was so invigorating and fulfilling to do that work. In terms of an actor, I would never tire of that. Now it has become, ‘What can we do that is satisfying, and worth continuing, and gratifying to the people who care so much about it.’ I don’t know if there is a need to do more. I would never want it to feel like we overstayed our welcome. … There’s probably a way to keep these characters alive but I don’t know if that’s the best thing for them.”

As for Bledel, moderator Michael Ausiello from TVLine asked if she’s dying to do a birth scene. “So much talking,” Graham chimed in. “Most talkative birth scene ever,” added Bledel. “I think for me it comes down to what story we’re telling. I’m just interested in telling a story that is dynamic and that I sort of relate to and can hook into. And if that happens … I don’t know. It’s such an unknown, I don’t think we anticipated that this would happen.”
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