The Handmaids Tale scene that Joseph Fiennes refused to do

The one scene that went too far

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale and deals with issues of sexual and physical assault.
Joseph Fiennes' Commander Fred Waterford is one of the most terrifying characters in The Handmaid's Tale.
He has beaten his wife and ordered for her dismemberment. He forced his handmaid in to an 'affair' scenario, further angering his wife, along with beating and raping her. Put simply, he is the worst.
Despite all this, the actor admits there was one potential scene that he stopped from moving forward, because it went 'too far.'
"I guess in many ways, as abhorrent and nasty and evil as Fred is, I have to defend parts of him," the actor tells Entertainment Weekly.
The actor tells the publication that, in episode nine of season two, his character was supposed to rape his wife Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) during their visit to Canada.
Joseph says he felt the intended rape scene would not add to the arc for any characters involved, and may face backlash for being gratuitous.
Joseph doesn't think Fred would hurt his wife in that way.
"We had a moment where Fred was going to rape Serena in a hotel room straight after [meeting Luke], and it just didn't track for me. I had to go out on a limb and refuse to do it because I felt that even though Fred is who he is, he's human.
"I think that he would be reeling from the interaction with Luke, and that suddenly the reality comes face to face with him and he would be digesting that and trying to understand it, and he wouldn't necessarily be switched on by being in Canada in a new hotel and trying to heavily persuade his wife to do something that she wouldn't want to do."
He says after sending "long emails and defending and pushing," he succeeded.
"Yvonne had tracked Serena so beautifully that her disenfranchisement with the regime and Fred was so beautifully charted it didn't need a heavy scene to kind of suddenly push her over the edge," he continues.
Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) and Fred (Joseph Fiennes).
Despite fighting hard to have that one scene removed, Joseph has watched on as his character Fred has done many awful things over the two seasons of The Handmaid's Tale. His character is a villain, after all.
The actor says he appreciates the role and working with the difficult scripts.
"It's really about battling for human nuance within a very dark character," he said.
Season one and two of The Handmaid's Tale are currently available to stream for free on SBS On Demand.

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