Madeline Brewer & Amanda Brugel On Season 3 Of Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale"

The third season of "The Handmaid's Tale" is driven by titular handmaid June’s (Elisabeth Moss) resistance to the dystopian regime of Gilead, in which she finds herself once again after opting not to flee to Canada with her baby at the end of the second season. Now, she will struggle to strike back against the regime against “overwhelming odds.” Stars Madeline Brewer and Amanda Brugel come to BUILD to discuss the new season of the Hulu Original.

Video Transcript

[THEME MUSIC]

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to "Build." I'm your host, Brittany Jones-Cooper, and today we're talking about "The Handmaid's Tale." Season three is coming to Hulu on June 5, where we will continue to follow the growing resistance within the dystopian regime of Gilead.

Today I'm sitting down with Madeline Brewer, who plays Janine, and Amanda Brugel, who plays Rita. But first, here's a sneak peek at season three.

[CLOCK TICKING]

- Heresy, that's what you get punished for.

- No!

- Not for being part of the resistance, because officially, there is no resistance

[EXPLOSION]

Not for helping people escape, because officially, there's no such thing as escape.

[SIRENS]

- You workin' hard?

- Yes.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- If I'm going to change things, I'm going to need allies. Allies with power. Blessed be the fruit. Hi.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- You seem like you've be good at influencing people.

- A nice girl like you in a place like this.

- (SINGING) Give me [INAUDIBLE].

- As Mrs. Waterford, you have influence.

- Up to a point.

- So move the point.

- At least there's still hope if I'm here. Now mom's got work.

- (SINGING) The human kind.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Put your hands together for Madeline Brewer and Amanda Brugel.

[CHEERS, APPLAUSE]

That is a great shot, right? It ends on the trailer. It's funny, I got to see the first two episodes of season three, but I hadn't seen the trailer. And the trailer is so intense. Do you guys still have that feeling when you see it?

AMANDA BRUGEL: I mean, I haven't. You've seen more of the show than I have. And every time I watch the trailer, I see something new. It's like a little blip or a little second of something new. And I was like, what was that? I don't remember that. Yeah.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: While I have you guys here, I'm a full "Handmaid's" fan, like such a huge fan of the show and the performances you guys give us. So I actually want to start back at the season two finale. I want to know your feelings on the finale and her deciding to leave the baby and go back to [INAUDIBLE].

AMANDA BRUGEL: And go back?

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Yeah.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Well, where we leave off, you guys know that she decided to come back, but Rita doesn't know yet. So I'm sure the season three opener, Rita is gonna have some question.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Yes.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Is going to be like-- can I swear?

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Yeah, you can swear.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Bitch, are you crazy? I got you-- I got you, like, a first class car ride out. You got your friend with you, a nice little van, take the baby. So I was excited, though, and I thought it was the best way to end the season. I know that people wanted it wrapped up in a nice bow, but our show does not do bows.

MADELINE BREWER: No.

AMANDA BRUGEL: We do bombs, not bows. So I loved it, but I know that Rita is going to have some questions for her girlfriend.

MADELINE BREWER: I mean, and we talked about this in the car today. We were talking about, like, what would we have done? And you know, because there was a lot of feeling, like, why? Why would she stay? And I learned that Amanda likes one of her kids better than the other.

[LAUGHTER]

So kidding. I'm just kidding. My mom likes my brother better than me, so--

AMANDA BRUGEL: My mom likes everybody better as well.

MADELINE BREWER: Sorry, mom. But yeah, I mean, I was-- there was no other way for it to go. She was never going to leave Hannah. It was never going to happen. And I think it sets us up for the third season in a really incredible way. It's like her desire to fight to find Hannah and get Hannah out is really-- for her, that is her--

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Mission.

MADELINE BREWER: Her mission that starts the resistance for her and for a lot of us, because she's the one who's really gathering the troops.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: And I feel the same way. I mean, I thought when she turned back, I was like, oh, season three is going to be fire, because now she has all this extra feeling going into, like, correcting things in Gilead, which I got to check out the first couple of episodes, and you can definitely see that trend happening.

So without giving too much away, can you guys give us a little teaser of what we can expect in season three?

AMANDA BRUGEL: I think season three--

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Your eyes just got so big. You're like--

AMANDA BRUGEL: I know, I know.

MADELINE BREWER: Did they glaze over? Did you have a stroke?

AMANDA BRUGEL: I think season three, what we can say is can talk about the fact that there's an Aunt Lydia backstory.

MADELINE BREWER: Yes, it's good.

AMANDA BRUGEL: It's crazy.

MADELINE BREWER: You'll like it.

AMANDA BRUGEL: But for the overall arc, I think you'll definitely see women uniting together. The one thing that's crazy, at least that I felt, as the episodes came out, I expected a certain band or tribe of women to get together-- I'm trying to not get fired and say too much-- but the unexpected relationships and unions that were formed over this season were crazy. Like, characters that you don't think should act together, characters that you don't think should unite together, all of a sudden become like sisters. And what women can do when we band together and fight is insane.

So a friend of mine said, will this season kick my ass like it did last year? And I said, no, but it will make you want to go out and kick some ass. Like, after every script, I want to get into a bar fight, just out of nowhere. I'll fight someone right now. Like, it's just break a bottle and-- yes! Yes, because it's really good. It's uplifting, women uniting together.

MADELINE BREWER: Yeah, yeah. Everybody reacts differently.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Do you also want to get in a bar fight after reading the scripts?

MADELINE BREWER: Not-- I mean, I can't say that I do, but that's not really Janine's thing. I think, you know, Rita's much more of a fighter. Janine's like make love, not war. You know, but definitely, no, I mean, watching the show, and filming that last episode of the season was just like-- it was so intense, and it did really rile you up. It was like, OK, I'm ready. I'm ready. Where are we? What are we doing next? Where are we going? Who can I talk to? Let's go to the UN. Like, let's go do something.

AMANDA BRUGEL: We just came back from the UN. Maybe that's why I want to fight somebody. I don't know.

MADELINE BREWER: [INAUDIBLE]

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: You mean the last episode of season three or season two?

MADELINE BREWER: Of season three.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: OK, so you're saying season three finale is gonna to be a jaw-dropper?

AMANDA BRUGEL: It was intense.

MADELINE BREWER: Oh my god, yes.

AMANDA BRUGEL: And it's on a scale that is so epic and so grand. I mean, our show, it's very quiet. There's big, huge moments. But I feel like the impact is more of the emotional damage. It's not like huge dragons, and big fighting scenes, and--

MADELINE BREWER: Shade.

AMANDA BRUGEL: But, no, no, no, love it.

MADELINE BREWER: I'm like, OK.

AMANDA BRUGEL: No, I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it, but I did.

MADELINE BREWER: It's over now, [INAUDIBLE].

AMANDA BRUGEL: But it's a lovely, lovely, wonderful show. But it's just-- we don't-- it's just a little more conversational, in that it's more intimate when it comes to the tension. But this year, the season finale, we got into our full dragon mode. It's beautiful, and epic, and sweeping, and gorgeous, and unexpected, and yeah, and it was beautiful to do.

MADELINE BREWER: What are those table reads like for four episodes like that.

AMANDA BRUGEL: We don't do table reads. We could lie and say they were amazing, but we don't--

MADELINE BREWER: Yeah, well, we're also-- everyone is in so many different parts of the "Handmaid's Tale" world at any given time, you know? Like, I personally have nothing to do with what's going on with the Waterfords. A lot of the time, if June is off somewhere, I don't have any idea what's going on with her. I don't meet Rita in Gilead until-- anyway.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Pay attention, guys. Pay attention.

AMANDA BRUGEL: You were talking, and I was like, shut up, shut up.

MADELINE BREWER: [LAUGHS] Sorry. That's how a lot of people feel about me. Yeah, so we-- I lost my train of thought.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: That's OK, because I'm actually interested about your character, Janine, who is somebody who we've seen suffer the most horrific things under this regime, but she's still kind of has, like, leaned into her insanity and just is sort of rolling with it a lot of the time. Which is, like, quite beautiful and sad to watch at the same time. And you really do bring her to life, which is amazing.

MADELINE BREWER: Thank you.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: So going into the season three, do we see her mood change or demeanor change about Gilead? Or what's, sort of, her evolution?

AMANDA BRUGEL: I mean, I think just in summary of the three seasons of Janine, I think the first season was her kind of coming to terms and finding a coping mechanism with what has been presented to her. And she was just like, I'm not going to deal with this, so I'm going to pretend everything is wonderful and amazing. And then she becomes a little more lucid in season two.

And you know, now that there's something really-- there is some sort of line that we're seeing with her that's like, this is the line of the resistance, and I can follow this path, and I can-- she, I think, is-- she's ready to fight. She's ready to go. She's like, you know what? I have had my brushes with death several times now, and I think that I am-- I'm ready to get in there. And if it means I can help someone else, then I'm ready to put myself on the line for that and for the potential of my own freedom.

And you know, she has-- she has children. She had children. She had a child before Gilead that-- Caleb. And you know, she's willing to risk it all to potentially see him again and to get out of this place. But thank you, yeah, she's fun, and I like her.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: She's fun. And I think especially, like, in the colonies, just her whole demeanor during that time. She's like, it'll be fine. And then it was. You're like, OK, maybe there really something to that. It's just like surviving Gilead is just sort of having, maybe, a little bit of that.

MADELINE BREWER: A little bit of hope. And that's something that we discussed today at the UN. That was really inspiring. And because, you know, our showrunner, Bruce, his cousin actually works at the UN. So we have that awesome connection. And thank you, mom. [LAUGHS] I do actually call Amanda "Mom."

AMANDA BRUGEL: She calls me "Mom."

MADELINE BREWER: But a theme that we were talking about with some of these women work with UN women and UN refugees. And that is that, like, no matter the atrocities, the absolutely devastating atrocities that some of these people throughout the world have faced, there is this just-- there's this hope, this unrelenting hope and optimism that I think is something that you will see in the third season, that I'm glad that we have been able to fit in there.

Because it is the truth of humanity. It is the truth of the human will that we are a hopeful species. Like, we will eventually find the silver lining and the bright side and persevere. That's just what we do, I mean, on a human level I think. And that is so much ingrained into the characters in this show, I think.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: It is. And as dark as the subject matter can get, the show, the writers definitely always put a little bit of hope in there, we can see. And part of that were the Marthas and seeing how they had come together at the end of season two to have this sort of underground railroad to get people out. And your character, Rita, was a part of that. So can we talk about her movement in season three, and do we get to see more of her backstory and who she is?

AMANDA BRUGEL: No, not really. But we--

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Next year, baby.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Next year, we're gunning for it. Janine and Rita, backstory? We haven't talked about this at all. So no, you don't get to see her direct involvement. It's so hard for me to talk about this, 'cause I don't want to get fired.

[LAUGHTER]

But you do get to understand that there have been-- I will say there has been a network in place for a long time. And another thing we learned at the UN today-- I feel like this is like-- we're giving you guys a crash course into what we learned. But there's always been a resistance.

No matter what terrifying regime has ruled a country or a place, there's always been an underground resistance of very smart, very powerful people. Currently, regimes-- like currently underground, sort of, cells of women all over the world creating areas and relief for other women trying to get out of abusive situations, or sex trafficking, or underage brides. And so we really delve into that world, and you get to see it not only through [? June's ?] eyes, but through some other characters eyes.

And it's fantastic. Because the only thing that we really know, we associate the Underground Railroad with is, obviously, slavery and the slave trade in North America. But there's underground railroads all over the place currently happening right now. So I think that's the most beautiful thing. And that's why this season was so emotional, was just being able to delve into that world and see how many women are just trying to slowly siphon other women out of horrible situations.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: And the show is so emotional for so many reasons. One of them is because of our current political climate and all the things happening with abortion and women's rights in Alabama, and Georgia, Missouri. And it's horrific. And I know Ann Dowd in an interview recently, she was like, season one of "Handmaid's Tale" felt really far-fetched. And then, as things started to sort of reveal themselves, it's like, oh, we're really kind of shedding a light on these bigger issues.

And it continues, right? As the show has gone on, you guys are at this time where it's just like a powder keg moment in history. So what sort of-- how does that inform your performances? Or how does that inform how you guys perform these characters? Because it is really important, I think, to a lot of women.

AMANDA BRUGEL: I think we do-- we're asked that question a lot. And I think that we do a lot of research. I think that we-- we, Maddie and I were talking about our process. And a part of the way we, even down to the way we move and our physicality has to change, and it has to be specific to our characters, specific to women that have been in our situation.

I, for example, have a limp, because I'm trying to pay homage to women who have been physically abusive situations. And so just the more research we do and the more informed we can be about the choices of our characters, and especially enslaved women and women facing really, really bad situations-- again, if it's sex trade or sex trafficking-- I think that truer we can be to the characters, and the more people will believe us, and the more people will learn about what we're trying to teach and say during the show.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Has that-- has being on the show and learning what you have learned inspired more activism in your everyday lives?

MADELINE BREWER: I mean, for me, absolutely. I would never have considered myself an activist by any means. Like, that's not, like, a word I would have used to describe myself. It's still not. It still feels uncomfortable, because when I meet these women at the UN, and I'm like, oh my god, I'm not doing even a 15th of the work that you've ever even dreamed of doing-- whatever. That didn't make any sense, but you know what I mean.

So yeah, it's definitely-- in my life, it has brought-- to my career, it's brought another level of importance to the work that I do. Like, you know, it's great to play an awesome character. It's great to play a character that has so much to work with.

Like, Janine is so rich in her subject matter. You know, it's so-- and it's so rewarding to be on this show and telling this story. But it's also-- the show has helped me realize that it's like you're telling the story of some woman out there who can relate to some part of your story.

I have mothers who have given their children up for adoption or who have lost a child very early in their life and felt the struggle that Janine went through in, I think, it's episode two of the first season. I've had people messaging me saying, I felt seen.

And that is the importance that, like, you know, we're not on the ground in Rwanda. And God bless the people who are. But I do feel like the way I can-- it's like comparing two completely different things, but I'm just saying, the way that I feel like I can help is by just making someone feel seen in the stories that I tell.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Representing them to their own truth. I think it's a beautiful thing you do.

MADELINE BREWER: Yeah.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: I mean, art, I think, is the way that a lot of people can connect to some of these issues that seem larger than life.

MADELINE BREWER: Yeah.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: You know, you feel like, maybe, I can't do anything about policies in Georgia. But when you watch this art, you can find avenues, and you can have conversations. And I do think it is really, really important. Especially when you see the women in the red cloaks showing up at Capitol Hill, I mean, that--

MADELINE BREWER: That truly, I think, bolsters us in this storytelling. And for me and my character, just because-- we said this earlier-- we've been together all day. But it's that-- you know, the first season, seeing the red robes and the bonnets was like, oh, my god, that's cool.

AMANDA BRUGEL: It's flattering.

MADELINE BREWER: Oh my god, it's really flattering. That's my character. That's really cool. But then, now, the third season is like, OK, we-- I am so honored, and it is a privilege to play a character on a show that has become a symbol of resistance. But now, it's like we've really got to do something.

AMANDA BRUGEL: [INAUDIBLE], yeah.

MADELINE BREWER: We've got to put our money where our mouth is and, you know, really just talk the talk and walk the walk of being an advocate and an activist, and using the knowledge that we have and the-- what is the word? The connections and the platform that is available to us, like the UN, to-- sorry, it's we were just there. It was amazing!

AMANDA BRUGEL: [INAUDIBLE].

MADELINE BREWER: [INAUDIBLE]

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Every time you guys say "UN."

AMANDA BRUGEL: I'm so sorry. We were just there.

MADELINE BREWER: We were just there. It was really exciting. I almost got yelled at. It's fine.

AMANDA BRUGEL: We almost got in trouble.

MADELINE BREWER: He said we were-- never mind. I'm not going to gossip about the security guard.

AMANDA BRUGEL: [INAUDIBLE] crashing the UN.

MADELINE BREWER: No, it was great.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Hey, next question. Sorry.

MADELINE BREWER: Anyway, what were we talking about?

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Oh, I don't remember.

[LAUGHING]

I do want to know, because you know everything in Gilead is so segregated by the clothes. So does that affect you guys in your performances, when you finally put on your kind of uniforms? Does that help you get into character a lot?

AMANDA BRUGEL: Absolutely, undoubtedly. There was a big, like, scandal the other day, because they put up the different colors of our uniforms. And I don't think people realize that Marthas are green. I think people thought that we were gray, but we're actually light green. But it's sort of this mysterious, vomit yogurt color.

MADELINE BREWER: [INAUDIBLE].

AMANDA BRUGEL: I love you, Ann Crabtree-- our costume designer. It's so great for the character, not so great for Amanda. But it was, in the first season, people would step on me or hit me all the time. Like, they would back up and be like, oh, sorry, I didn't see you. Or, oh, sorry, I didn't see you. And I'm 6 feet tall. You fully saw me. But the costume helped me become invisible, feel shapeless, feel worthless, feel soundless, voiceless.

And so immediately, my stance changed. Like, that's what I was saying about the physicality. It really helped me find her body. Because when there's 14 people bumping into you all the time, you start to feel, yeah, invisible, unimportant, like you don't matter. And then, the vibrant of the red is, that's like you see those girls coming from a mile away. Whenever [? Lizzie ?] shows up on set, I'm like, oh, there's my girl. There, because-- a mile away.

MADELINE BREWER: Especially for for the handmaids, I think, the bonnets-- which was such a beautiful transition of-- for why they were created was to keep the heads down, and keep the handmaids from making eye contact, or-- you know, just to put them in a more submissive stance. And it certainly does that.

But then, now, in season three, the bonnets are how we communicate, you know? We can talk under-- we can talk to each other without looking like we are. You can't-- you don't have to face each other, you know what I'm saying? It's like we use these oppressive costumes, these oppressive materials that this, you know, regime has put upon us, and we use it to communicate. We use it for our Underground Railroad. We use it-- it's just like a powerful transition, I think.

And that red, as soon as you look in the mirror and just see the red, for me, is just like, here I am. I'm here. We are-- and the sea of red that you see when there's a bunch of handmaids walking down the street, it's just like, we're in it. We're here.

AMANDA BRUGEL: [INAUDIBLE]

MADELINE BREWER: We're in Gilead.

AMANDA BRUGEL: [INAUDIBLE] you see it, if we're all together, because it's-- I didn't see it. I wasn't let out the house a lot the first couple seasons. Spoiler alert, I get out to go out the door this season. And it's so exciting.

MADELINE BREWER: You get to talk, too!

AMANDA BRUGEL: I get to talk. I got to see the light. It's so cool. But seeing, especially with, like, sort of larger, larger group ensemble scenes, seeing the starkness between the blue, and then the red, and then the sad, sad, side Marthas, you really start to really assign personalities just to the colors. And the wives are always so erect, and the handmaids are always so subservient, and the Marthas are, god bless them, invisible.

But it's just so beautiful to see all the colors, and now what they've come to represent in the world. Like now, how people, they'll see blue, or they'll see something, and they'll know what it means. And it's just powerful.

We don't-- we were on set a week ago in-- no, we were not. We were on set, I think it was-- well, it was a while ago. And we were just talking about how, like, we still don't take for granted the uniforms, and, like, how it's crazy that we get to wear them.

MADELINE BREWER: Yeah.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: It's a huge part of the show. You mentioned the wives, and I just want your thoughts on this really quickly. Serena Joy had a moment of redemption last season. But a lot of people were sort of speculating, like, is that enough for a character like a woman who isn't an ally, and then she does one thing? I mean, what are your thoughts on Serena? Because you wanna-- it's hard to feel bad for her, but also, she did something nice.

MADELINE BREWER: I mean, it's not enough for me. I mean, you are the architect of your own unhappiness and mine, so thanks.

[LAUGHTER] But--

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Oh my god!

MADELINE BREWER: She is! I mean, she was the architect of this society. And she-- I mean, you've gotta do more. You've gotta do more.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Do better.

MADELINE BREWER: Do better.

AMANDA BRUGEL: I disagree. I don't know.

MADELINE BREWER: Well, you live with her.

AMANDA BRUGEL: I think it's [INAUDIBLE], I think because I haven't been out of the house. She let me out the house. So I'm like, I love you. You're amazing. Go on with your blue dress. I don't-- I feel I can-- again, I'm not going to say the word. What we learned today is that in order--

MADELINE BREWER: [INAUDIBLE].

AMANDA BRUGEL: In order for people to get past any, sort of-- just the most depraved things that have happened to them, there needs to be an element of forgiveness. And I'm not saying it should-- her actions should be forgotten. I just think that she-- if she does go forward and redeem herself, I do think that there needs to be an element of forgiveness, because she was coming from a bad place, and she was crazy. I sound crazy defending her. I still love her.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: No, but this is why I brought it up, because it is the debate.

MADELINE BREWER: We're in the place--

AMANDA BRUGEL: Yes.

MADELINE BREWER: Right now, we're in the mindset.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Good. But I just feel-- I think I feel for that character who set out to have some things different. I don't think she anticipated that she would be relegated off to the side, that she wouldn't be able to read, that she'd get her finger cut off, or I think it got out of her hands too quickly. And I think she wanted this sort of utopian place that she had in her head with her husband. But she didn't realize that she'd get screwed.

So now she's stuck between a rock and a hard place, because where does she go? She has to stand by their convictions, or what? Or she stands up and fights and gets what else chopped off? So I feel for her. Also, because she let me out of the house-- done.

MADELINE BREWER: And sunlight is important.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Yes. Vitamin D, Vitamin D, yes.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: I just think that's one of the conversations I've seen a lot. And I think people, going into season three, have a lot of, you know, opinions towards Serena. And we'll see where it pans out, guys. You've gotta to watch it. We do have a couple of questions from the audience. Who do we have first? Oh, [INAUDIBLE]. Thanks for coming.

- This show's amazing. Literally one of the best dramas, I think, that has ever been on. A question for each of you. One of the things I think is so interesting about Rita is you never really know what she's thinking when you see her onscreen. And although you reference that we won't get a lot of her backstory, did you create your own backstory for her in terms of how you convey the character?

And then, with Janine, talking about how the first season, her optimism was a coping mechanism, but it seems like in season two, it became more a part of her core. Because I think about when Charlotte was ill, and she literally was the only person that believed that she could save her. So I'm just wondering, do you think we'll see more of that in her character continuing?

AMANDA BRUGEL: Who are you? Do you have a job?

MADELINE BREWER: Great question.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Do you want to come-- do you want to be a consultant on the show?

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

AMANDA BRUGEL: You-- my lord, do you want my job? That was a very good-- very-- that was lovely. Quickly, I love the book. I'm Canadian and had to read the book a bunch of times. And so when I got hired, I quickly realized that there was no Cora in the house.

In the book, you guys, there are two Marthas, Rita and Cora. And so I was given the part of Rita, who's sort of the mean, sassy one that you'll see me play. But because I love the book so much, I wanted to pay homage to Cora. And I wanted to pay homage to that.

So the reason that I think she's such a mystery is I'm actually playing two different characters, and I have highlighters for both. So in scenes when I'm a little more empathetic, and softer, and more kind, when all of a sudden, are you like, has this girl lost her mind? Why was she mean yesterday and she's OK? It's because I'm trying to play both Marthas.

And this is the season-- spoiler alert-- that I think you finally see maybe the most Cora, the most gentle, soft. And you finally will start to understand what's going on in her mind.

MADELINE BREWER: That's beautiful. I'm not that good at it. So I don't even remember the question. Yes, I do. Yes, I do. So Janine, because her whole optimism kind of thing, I think, came out of-- I mean, it came out of a means of survival, like I said-- a coping mechanism.

And I think that it was the only way that she could survive. I think we see a few times in the first season that she's just-- she's really ready to end it. She's ready for it to be over. And what keeps her alive and keeps her pushing through is just that optimism, that relentless optimism of, you know what? I'm not doing this today. I will see the good. I will see the sunshine. I will see happiness.

And that takes her through into the second season and, again, into the third, I think, because it worked. You know, it kept her alive. And I think that she also it's become a part of who she is. It's become a part of just the fabric of Janine's identity now. It's like she was someone before Gilead. She was someone else, who was maybe a little harsher and a little quick to anger.

And that person, I think, that kind, optimistic, gentle soul was in there. And as crazy as it is to say, Gilead brought that out of her. Gilead's what made her find that softer, more gentle side. And it's served her here and has served her-- and it will serve her going forward, I think.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Thanks again for that question. Next?

- Hey, I was wondering what you do or think about after a long day of filming to kind of get your mind off the serious subject matter?

MADELINE BREWER: I take a bath. And I mean, because sometimes we're-- OK, so we film in Canada in the winter, and it's very cold and you know that cold that's just like-- I mean, you're in New York, so it's like that cold that's just into your bones? So I go home, and I take an incredibly hot bath. And I [LAUGHS] look at my phone.

[LAUGHTER]

AMANDA BRUGEL: Yeah, there's a lot of looking at our phones.

MADELINE BREWER: Yeah.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Yeah, we'll get to set, and we'll-- if some of us haven't seen each other, we'll talk for, like, three hours straight, and then hit a wall, and be, I've talked to you enough. And then, a lot of phone.

MADELINE BREWER: A lot of phone.

AMANDA BRUGEL: And then, coming back, but I watch a lot of "The Real Housewives." Like any-- yeah, any cat fights or bitch fights, or slapping, or--

MADELINE BREWER: Ooh, it's good.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Ooh, it's good, where, yeah, the worst-- lovely, lovely ladies. But just like sort of not dense, hard-to-swallow-- I'm bashing all the shows. I love that show.

MADELINE BREWER: I do, too, but which one?

AMANDA BRUGEL: Beverly Hills first.

MADELINE BREWER: OK.

AMANDA BRUGEL: New York sometimes gets-- scares me. It's like the "Handmaids" of life. Like, I feel like it's the closest to-- [INAUDIBLE]. I love you, New York. But I have a hard time with your show, your people, the way that everyone talks. I'm Canadian. But so yeah, I'll watch, like, cheesy shows.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Yeah, I love that you're Canadian. And if things keep going the way they're going here, can you take me to Canada with you?

AMANDA BRUGEL: Y'all want to move in with me?

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Please.

AMANDA BRUGEL: OK, good.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: I think we would all happily go up to Canada with you.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Listen, as a Canadian, this is going to sound like a commercial for the US. I love Americans. I think you are some of the most resilient people. And people keep making that joke about Canada, but I think truly, I think that y'all are gonna pull through. It sucks that this is happening right now, but I think it's better the devil you know. I think it's better to unearth, sort of, the tension that's going on between the country, and address it as opposed to layer it, and keep building on top of it. Someone needed to point it out.

MADELINE BREWER: You can be president, if you want.

AMANDA BRUGEL: Yeah.

MADELINE BREWER: You're allowed.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: OK, but you're right, you know? Americans are very resilient. And as this show shows, there is so much pride, and strength, and just resilience in its people. And I think that's one of the reasons people love this show, is that it shows the best of us-- and the worst of us-- but the best of us. And it's such a joy to watch your performances. And I cannot wait for people to check it out, because I watched the first three episodes, and it was-- I was right back in there.

So you guys, "The Handmaid's Tale" hits Hulu on June 5. Please put your hands together for Madeline Brewer and Amanda Brugel.

[CHEERS, APPLAUSE]

[THEME MUSIC]

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