If you thought this season of 'The Handmaid's Tale' was a brutal, bruising affair, it definitely had the same effect on the cast.
At a recent SAG-AFTRA event, Joseph Fiennes revealed that there was a scene in the ninth episode of this season that he point-blank refused to do. "I guess in many ways, as abhorrent and nasty and evil as Fred is, I have to defend parts of him," explained Fiennes. As he told, the scene involved him raping Serena - played by Yvonne Strahovski - shortly after meeting Luke, June / Offred's husband, in Canada. According to Fiennes, "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. And 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."
By all accounts, Fiennes had to really push for it to be removed, and wrote "long emails and defending and pushing, and feeling that 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."
In fairness, it makes sense as the season as a whole was ridiculously messed up - but more than that, it kind of proves that the writers on this season didn't exactly have a firm grip on where everything was going. The fact that Serena vacillated between disenfranchised with the whole system and then literally helping her husband to rape June / Offred meant that, as a whole, it all felt pretty messed up.
'The Handmaid's Tale' returns in 2019.