Since winning her first Emmy last year, for lead actress in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Elisabeth Moss has certainly kept herself busy until today, where’s she nominated again for her performance in the Hulu drama’s second season.
“I’ve done another season of the show and four — no, five — movies,” she says. Moss, who is a producer on “Handmaid’s,” also produced and starred in “Her Smell,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this month, and “Shirley,” about the horror writer Shirley Jackson.
She also appears in “The Old Man & The Gun” with Robert Redford, just wrapped “The Kitchen” with Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish, and is still in production on Jordan Peele’s latest film.
“I’m actually super lazy and like to sleep a lot and don’t like to do much at all, but I do like acting, so when opportunities present themselves it’s difficult to say no — and there’s just some really good scripts lately,” she explains.
Moss was the guest of honor at Sunday’s Los Angeles Confidential pre-Emmys fete, and she took a moment to reflect on her work behind the camera.
“You approach the project in such a different way when you are producing it because you are involved from the start like buying a property, like a book, and developing it from there. I pretty much always ask to be a producer, especially if you are the lead role, because you know, it’s your face that’s out there, and the more ownership you can have, why not?”
She continues, “For me, I never wanted it to be a vanity title, and I think there’s definitely a little bit of that sometimes. But there are women producers who are not actresses who have really inspired me and there’s a couple actresses who were the first, like Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock, who produce really good s–t.”
She says Witherspoon in particular “has an incredible eye.” “In one year, she did ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Wild.’ She bought two of the hottest book properties before they were even out, I think. That’s not because you’re famous and you’re an actress; she actually has a knack for it creatively and those are the kinds of people I admire.”
As for her work on “Handmaid’s,” Moss will begin shooting Season 3 next month.
“The thing people don’t realize is how much we departed from the book in Season 1 and how much we changed and added with Margaret [Atwood]’s blessing so we weren’t as afraid of that concept as other people may have thought in Season 2. Of course, there are things we’re going to have to develop because the book is a first-person narrative. The thing that was most important to us was keeping the darkly humorous tone of the book. In Season 3, we are still mining the book,” she says.
For those who are already stressed out about not getting to binge enough of the show, Moss warns, “We are not interested in going on for 20 years; we have a story to tell and when it’s done it’s done. It’s always good to leave a party a little early. All my favorite shows, they’ve ended and you wanted more.”
It will leave her more time to make passion projects like “Her Smell,” in which she plays a self-destructive punk rocker named Becky.
“It’s a really intense character. She’s really out there, very abrasive and not always fun to be around or fun to watch, so it was a little scary watching it with a big group of people [in Toronto]. “Just when you feel like you’ve maybe had enough and you can’t watch this person self-destruct any longer, the film changes and gives you a wonderful relief.”
She’s also very relaxed on Emmy day. “The hardest part is making sure you get in the car on time,” she says.
Those watching the red carpet will notice her new, edgy blonde look.
“In the last year [stylist] Karla Welch and I have been doing a lot of soft, classy, pretty-girl looks so we decided to change it up and do something a bit more rock ‘n’ roll-inspired by my playing a punk rocker. I’m not a fashion person or a model, so for me, the only fun thing about photo shoots is playing a character. We wanted to show another, probably more accurate side to me. And I’m a hot mess right now,” she laughs.