Margaret Atwood Is Writing ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Book Sequel Due Out Next Year

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Margaret Atwood is currently writing a sequel to her best-selling dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” it was announced Wednesday.

Due out in September 2019 from publishers Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, “The Testaments” is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene in the original book and will be narrated by three female characters, Atwood tweeted.

The new novel was inspired by readers’ questions about the fictional world of Gilead and by the “world we’ve been living in,” the Canadian author said.

Yes indeed to those who asked: I’m writing a sequel to The #HandmaidsTale. #TheTestaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene and is narrated by three female characters. It will be published in Sept 2019. More details: https://t.co/e1umh5FwpX pic.twitter.com/pePp0zpuif

– Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) November 28, 2018

Also Read: Bradley Whitford Promoted to Series Regular for ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 3

A hit when it was published in 1985, “The Handmaid’s Tale” took on new meaning after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, with his vision of America often being compared to the imagined land of Gilead.

The novel has since been adapted into an award-winning TV series on Hulu starring Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski.

Also Read: Yvonne Strahovski Says ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ ‘Feels So Close to Home’ in Trump Era (Exclusive Video)

The second season, which diverted from Atwood’s original novel, concluded in July and the drama is due to return for a third.

Since it premiered in April 2017, “A Handmaid’s Tale” was won multiple awards, including eight Primetime Emmys after Season 1 and a Best Actress Golden Globe award for Moss.

Atwood’s most recent books include dark dystopian “The Heart Goes Last,” published in 2015, and “Hag-Seed,” a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Hearing Met With ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Protesters

‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Joseph Fiennes on Exploring ‘Warped Creatures,’ ‘Ugly Components of the Male Psyche’

How ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Yvonne Strahovski Made ‘Ice Queen’ Serena Sympathetic

Ann Dowd: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Aunt Lydia Would Make ‘Mincemeat’ Out of Sarah Sanders (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

You may recall Michelle Wolf’s burn of Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the White House Correspondents Dinner, when she compared the White House press secretary to Aunt Lydia from “The Handmaid’s Tale.” But if you ask Ann Dowd, who plays Aunt Lydia on the Hulu series, the comparison may have been slightly off.

Dowd appeared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and said as she watched the hot-button dinner, she realized her character could do far worse to Sanders than Wolf did.

“No one could sit there and listen to that and stay in their seat. Then I thought, who has the bravery to say those things number one,” Dowd said. “Then I thought Aunt Lydia would make mincemeat of you missy — Sanders.”

Also Read: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Ann Dowd Breaks Down That Horrifying Season 2 Opener (Video)

Dowd also said Aunt Lydia wouldn’t be too kind to President Trump, either.

“She’d have him in that chair in Season 1, in the circle, and have him realize that narcissism is her least favorite sin,” Dowd said. “She does have some compassion for mental illness, but not a lot. She would’ve taken care of business immediately.”

Meyers added that Aunt Lydia is, well, pretty evil. But both he and Dowd gave Lydia credit for being a complex character with some deeply held principles. And even she might not be willing to help out at the Trump White House.

Also Read: Michelle Wolf Says Sarah Sanders Has ‘the Mario Batali of Personalities’ (Video)

“It would be helpful, but she wouldn’t do it, because she has no patience for nonsense,” Dowd said.

Dowd won an Emmy for portraying Aunt Lydia in season 1 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and is nominated again for her work in Season 2.

Watch the full clip of Dowd on “Late Night” below.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Creator Explains Exactly What Is (and Isn’t) Part of Gilead

‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Finale: Is Aunt Lydia OK After That, Um, Accident?

‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Creator Says Serena Joy May Come to Regret Her Last-Minute Decision

‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Finale: Is Aunt Lydia OK After That, Um, Accident?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Spoiler alert: Please don’t read ahead unless you’ve seen the Season 2 finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Word.”)

Ouch, that had to hurt. On Wednesday’s Season 2 finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) was literally stabbed in the back by Emily (Alexis Bledel), as the long-suffering Handmaid finally snapped and attacked the woman who had trained her in her childbearing role within Gilead’s dystopian society.

But not to worry — if you’re the kind of person that would actually worry about the willing accomplices of state-sanctioned evil. Though we saw Lydia wasn’t in great shape after the incident — writhing in pain on Commander Joseph Lawrence’s (Bradley Whitford) floor, the Hulu series’ creator, Bruce Miller, says she is gonna be just fine — or at least alive — come Season 3.

Also Read: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Bradley Whitford Is Back for Season 3 and ‘We’re Gonna Learn a Ton About Him’

“Aunt Lydia doesn’t die [laughs],” Miller told reporters during a conference call Monday. “I don’t think Aunt Lydia can die. I don’t think there are forces in the world strong enough to kill Aunt Lydia. And by extension, the incredibly strong, fabulous Ann Dowd I think is with us for a long, long time, as well.”

“But Aunt Lydia doesn’t die,” he continued. “She’s transformed by this event, one of her girls — she has you know has twisted herself into thinking there is a love between her and her girls — has literally stabbed her in the back. And that kind of, you know, alters your workplace feelings on a day-to-day basis. You don’t want to turn your back on them. So I think in some ways, there’s a lot of possible effects, but in her case it makes her double down on that she feels she just wasn’t strong enough in her discipline. So she’s decided it’s time to get tough.”

Though she won’t be getting tough with Emily, at least we don’t think, seeing as the Handmaid and June’s (Moss) daughter Holly/Nicole were last seen heading out of Gilead come the finale’s end, thanks to June’s sacrifice and a little help from Joseph and a lot of help from the Marthas.

Also Read: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Creator Says Serena Joy May Come to Regret Her Last-Minute Decision

Read more from our interview with Miller about the Season 2 finale here.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2 is available for streaming now on Hulu.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Bradley Whitford Is Back for Season 3 and ‘We’re Gonna Learn a Ton About Him’

‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Creator Explains Exactly What Is (and Isn’t) Part of Gilead

‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Here’s Where Luke and Moira Are Headed in Canada in Season 3

‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Creator Says Serena Joy May Come to Regret Her Last-Minute Decision

‘Hereditary’ Film Review: Family’s a Horror in Brilliant Indie Debut

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Based on purely anecdotal evidence, I’m predicting that one of the more recurrent arguments among film enthusiasts for summer 2018 will be, “Does the ending of ‘Hereditary’ work?” (With “And what exactly does the end of ‘Hereditary’ mean, anyway?” coming in close second.)

Less likely to cause disagreement will be the idea that “Hereditary” marks a jaw-droppingly impressive feature debut for writer-director Ari Aster. He’s clearly learned from the greats while still making a film that doesn’t entirely look, feel or sound like anyone else’s. With nary a jump scare in sight, Aster has created a moody piece with a delicate but devastating sense of dread.

This is the kind of film best enjoyed with as little foreknowledge as possible, so I’ll keep to the outskirts of the plot: Annie (Toni Collette) has had a longstanding messy relationship with her mother, who has just died. This quotidian tragedy gives way to a deeper one involving her children, high-schooler Peter (Alex Wolff) and tween Charlie (Milly Shapiro, Broadway’s “Matilda”).

Watch Video: Watch the Terrifying Trailer for Sundance Horror Film ‘Hereditary’

At a grief support group, Annie meets Joan (Ann Dowd) — and let’s face it, any movie where someone’s port in a storm is played by Ann Dowd is a movie that’s about to get very dark, which “Hereditary” certainly does. And then it arrives at that ending, which I have had and no doubt will continue to have discussions about. For right now, I’m torn between taking it literally (which means the script winds up in an all-too-familiar place) or not (which seems like an overly fussy way to deal with a powerful drama about a troubled family).

By the end of the summer, I may be joining the chorus that has been unabashedly praising this film ever since its Sundance debut. But even if the climax continues to leave me cold, I’m thrilled that “Hereditary” exists, and I’m heartily endorsing that audiences experience this film in the theater, the better to appreciate that skilled work of its crew.

Watch Video: Alex Wolff Tells Us How Gnarly ‘Hereditary’ Scene Drew Real Blood (Exclusive)

There’s something about the way that cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski (“Tragedy Girls”) shoots the film’s Utah locations that make it seem like the story is set anywhere and nowhere all at once, and he uses the red lighting of an indoor heat lamp to very effective ends. The unsettling score by Colin Stetson becomes all the more effective as sound mixer Steven C. Laneri mixes it down, down, down, until it sounds like the music is being played in an apartment beneath the movie theater.

Grace Yun’s production design — from the bleakly cheery dollhouse miniatures that Annie crafts of her own life to one of the cinema’s greatest treehouses ever — creates this world and allows us to get lost in it (and, eventually, want very much to get out).

And while director Aster certainly has his technical ducks in a row, he’s also gifted at working with actors, collaborating with a talented cast as they give some of their finest performances. Collette, always an unpredictable and multifaceted leading lady, has perhaps never been better; Annie wants very much to be a better parent than her own mother was, but finds herself unable to break that particular chain. The actress’ ultimate portrayal of her own family’s dissolution is heartbreaking and intense.

Also Read: ‘Ocean’s 8’ Steals $4 Million at Thursday Box Office

Wolff has specialized in troubled teens who are haunted in one way or another, and he nakedly expresses grief and fear here in a way that’s so un-actorly that it’s almost shocking at first. It’s a level of emotional accessibility that makes you rethink what other actors do in similar situations. Remember what a revelation it was the first time you saw Claire Danes cry like a real person and not like a leading lady? Wolff’s performance here delivers that same kind of jolt.

You could strip away the plot elements that technically make “Hereditary” a horror film, and you’d have an incredibly intense tale of familial implosion, and that’s not to denigrate the idea of horror or to classify this in the ridiculously unnecessary “elevated horror” category. I can’t wait to see what Ari Aster does next, having taken such big chances to such great results in his first movie. And as for that ending, well — I’m sure I’ll be talking about it.



Related stories from TheWrap:

Toni Collette to Star in Drama Series ‘Wanderlust’ From Netflix, BBC

ABC Orders Spy Dramedy Starring Toni Collette, Heist Drama From ‘Zoo’ Producers

‘Hereditary’ Star Alex Wolff Portraits (Exclusive Photos)

‘Patriots Day’ Star Alex Wolff on How He Got Tricked to Audition for Boston Marathon Bomber

Alex Wolff Tells Us How Gnarly ‘Hereditary’ Scene Drew Real Blood (Exclusive Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” will leave you shattered — in a similar way the film’s star Alex Wolff’s body was battered after a specific scene in the horror film.

The scene in question is the one in which Wolff’s character Peter slams his face into a desk in the middle of a high school class.

“I said to Ari when that scene was coming up, ‘I will do it on a real desk, just tell me.’ And he said, ‘I love you and thank you but that is definitely not allowed, definitely an illegal thing to do so we’re not going to do that…’ break my own face,” Wolff recalled during an interview with TheWrap. “So, he said, ‘We’re going to get a soft cushion desk,’ and I was, like, ‘OK, cool, we’ll do that, that sounds better,’ and then I get there, and I don’t know what I expected, but I expected maybe a foam desk or something and, really, it was not that.”

See Video: Watch the Terrifying Trailer for Sundance Horror Film ‘Hereditary’

In other words: It wasn’t terribly soft when he slammed his face into it.

“It had a foam top but it was hard on the bottom and there were only two of them, and I had to nail it perfectly,” he added. “I had to have the blood shoot out perfectly out of my nose and jump back and do that whole thing. I remember after, I was just panting, my voice is gone, blood is dripping down everywhere, and blood is gushing down my knee — real blood gushing down my knee because I slammed it against a chair. I couldn’t move my arm, my complete ankle was swollen — it looked like a balloon.”

“Hereditary” follows a family whose secrets begin to unravel when Peter’s grandmother passes away. The movie is truly traumatizing and has been dubbed the “scariest film in decades.” It premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Also Read: ‘Patriots Day’ Star Alex Wolff on How He Got Tricked to Audition for Boston Marathon Bomber

Wolff describes the movie which stars Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Milly Shapiro and Ann Dowd, as a “truly disturbing movie on a kind of visceral level.”

“This movie seeps in your bones — even if you are not scared, you’ll be disturbed or upset by it,” said Wolff. “I hope it makes people miserable.”

Watch the interview above. “Hereditary” hits theaters on Friday.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Dear David’: ‘It’ Producer, BuzzFeed to Develop Horror Film Based on Viral Ghost Story (Exclusive)

‘Suspiria’ Teaser: The Hook Comes Out in Luca Guadagnino’s Creepy Horror Remake (Video)

‘Scarface’ Director Brian De Palma: I’m Writing a Horror Movie Inspired by Weinstein Scandal

‘A Kid Like Jake’ Film Review: Claire Danes’ and Jim Parsons’ Parental Problems Push the Kid Offstage

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The problem with “A Kid Like Jake,” which is about a four-year-old boy who enjoys taking on female roles whenever he plays, is that we see so little of the title character.

The film opens with some fairly random shots of New York buildings, and then there are handheld camera shots of Jake (Leo James Davis) running around at home. But we mainly just hear about Jake after this brief sequence, and this signifies the theatrical origin of this material, which was adapted by writer Daniel Pearle from his own play.

We first see Jake’s parents Alex (Claire Danes) and Greg (Jim Parsons) in bed together. Danes works hard to seem relaxed and happy, but the effort shows too much, and this could be a character choice, for it seems clear from the beginning that Alex and Greg are somehow at odds with each other or mismatched.

Watch Video: ‘A Kid Like Jake’ Star Priyanka Chopra Says Gender Identity Story ‘Needs to be Told’

Greg is a therapist, and we watch him at work with one female patient throughout the film in aimless scenes that add very little to the main drama. Alex is a stay-at-home mother, and her own very overbearing mother Catherine (Ann Dowd) constantly derides her daughter’s choice. “Thank God for the women’s movement,” Catherine says ironically as she watches Alex with her child.

Alex is very close to Jake, and she happily lets her son play Cinderella and other female characters until this is brought to her attention by Judy (Octavia Spencer), a friend who is trying to get Jake into a private school. The interesting thing about the character of Judy in her first scenes in “A Kid Like Jake” is that she seems misguided and opportunistic. In trying to make Jake’s female role-playing a kind of selling point to get him into an exclusive school, Judy exposes the fault lines in the marriage of Alex and Greg.

Also Read: Claire Danes Says ‘Homeland’ Will End With Season 8

By the mid-section of this movie, “A Kid Like Jake” has become the sort of marital study where all we do is observe Danes’s Alex say cruel things to her husband. When she initially starts to needle and verbally attack him, it feels as if Alex is inevitably reacting to all of the aggressive verbal taunts she has to endure from her mother.

But as the film goes on and Alex keeps on deriding Greg, the narrative doesn’t expand but contracts, and this isn’t helped by the nervous, peremptory editing of all the confrontation scenes, which seeks to create a tense atmosphere for the actors rather than letting them take care of that themselves.

Alex realizes that she is pregnant again, and she is scared because she had miscarried a previous child. Jake starts getting bullied at his pre-school, and so Alex feels that she needs to try harder to get Jake into that private school because he might be bullied more in a public school with lots of kids.

See Photo: See Jim Parsons Argue With Zac Efron’s Ted Bundy in Court

“Why can’t I be Rapunzel?” little Jake asks, but Alex tries to steer him to a male Halloween costume. When Alex attempts to tell Catherine about the situation, Pearle does give this abrasive character a pretty sharp laugh line: “No need to explain,” Catherine says. “I read The New York Times.”

Spencer’s character Judy tells her friends that they are lucky to be dealing with this situation in 2018 and not 50 or even 20 years ago, but Alex is not as liberal as she thought she was when it comes to her own son. By the time Alex is blaming Greg for not ever taking Jake to a park or “throwing a ball” with him, Danes has managed to make her character into a woman just as unlikable as her mother.

The writing in “A Kid Like Jake” feels more like playwriting than like screenwriting because we are told things in dialogue about Jake but barely ever get to see him behaving. Clearly this is a choice on the part of the creators, but doesn’t it signal the same kind of avoidance or fear that the movie itself is supposed to be about?



Related stories from TheWrap:

Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto and Matt Bomer to Star in Broadway Revival of ‘The Boys in the Band’

‘Girl’ Film Review: Transgender Teen Drama Is a True Cannes Discovery

Pakistan’s First Ever Transgender Anchor Makes Historic TV Debut

RuPaul Apologizes for Comments About Trans Drag Performers, Accidentally Tweets Trains ‘Flag’

‘American Animals’ Film Review: Entertainingly Fizzy Heist Movie Defies Expectations

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Surely the 21st century equivalent to the old Hollywood trope “Let’s put on a show!” is, judging by the movies that get made, “Let’s pull off a heist!” What that says about the evolution of our wish-fulfillment fantasies is a tad worrisome, so it’s refreshing that “American Animals,” which recreates and dissects a real 2004 robbery committed by a quartet of thrill-seeking college kids, grasps that there’s something singularly regrettable in how our popular art glorifies criminality.

And yet, for a good deal of its running time, writer-director Bart Layton’s slick, music-fueled assemblage of recreated narrative and documentary manages to be as deftly comic and suspenseful as the bank job movies from which Layton, and the incident’s perpetrators, took inspiration. Until, that is, the reality of bad decisions and corrosive entitlement act as an all-too-necessary dampener.

The crime was known as the “Transy Book Heist.” It centered on the rare-book collection at Lexington, Kentucky’s Transylvania University, and the fervid belief of four local students and children of privilege — Spencer Reinhard, Warren Lipka, Eric Borsuk, and Charles “Chas” Allen II — that their circumscribed lives (and pocketbooks) would be irreparably richer if they could mastermind an art theft. You know, like they do in the movies, with blueprints, surveillance, connections, disguises, precision timing, and a clever getaway.

Watch Video: Evan Peters Wanted a Special Effects Credit on ‘American Animals’ (Exclusive)

For budding artist Spencer (Barry Keoghan, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”), talented but dulled by college expectations, the goal is a “life-altering experience” that could inform his art. Brashly confident Warren (Evan Peters, “American Horror Story”), meanwhile, glibly dismissive of his athletic scholarship, sees the chance to prove he’s truly special.

They sell the idea to reserved accounting student Eric (Jared Abrahamson, Netflix’s “Travelers”) and manor-born fitness freak Chas (Blake Jenner, “Everybody Wants Some!!”), and with assurances by Warren that a secret contact will purchase a pilfered folio of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” and a first edition of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” a year of planning ensues.

Watch Video: Evan Peters Watches Himself Strangle ‘AHS’ Co-Star to Death: ‘Annnd Crack’ (Exclusive)

Quickly, almost too easily, the movie shows how reliably, addictively entertaining these kinds of stories can be when the syncopated cutting, music cues, larkish humor, and camera virtuosity (thanks to editor Nick Fenton, cinematographer Ole Bratt Birkeland, and scorer Anne Nikitin) make wannabe lawbreakers look like anti-heroes. It’s both old-school and meta, with nods to Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing” (seen in a clip from the boys’ video research), “Goodfellas” (shot references), and “Reservoir Dogs” when Warren decides to crib Tarantino’s color-coded naming scheme, and someone bristles at getting called Mr. Pink.

When Udo Kier shows up as a mysterious fence in an Amsterdam-set scene, it’s ideal casting, as if he’d been conjured by the boys’ movie dreams of the perfect underground connection.

Because at the same time, seeds of reality-blurring doubt are being planted, not surprising given that Layton’s auspicious debut as a documentarian (and feature filmmaker) was the wily, fact-versus-fiction kidnapping saga “The Impostor.” He takes a similarly hybrid approach here by fusing the build-up of the plotting with interviews Layton filmed of the real quartet, their differing memories, and sobering sense of reflection, priming us for the sideways tension that comes when fantasy meets execution. “I, Tonya” did something similar, just putting the subjects’ words in the actors’ mouths, but the effect is the same: calling attention to the strange elasticity of a “true” story.

Watch Video: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Ann Dowd Breaks Down That Horrifying Season 2 Opener

It can’t be easy on actors who know they’re being juxtaposed with their subjects’ faces, but everyone expertly handles the gradual wipe from cocky exhilaration and superficial concern to day-of, days-after panic. Keoghan in particular makes good use of his offbeat features, which suggest a kind of haunted intelligence, while Peters imbues Warren with the right mix of insouciance and emptiness.

That things don’t go as planned is no secret, but Layton handles the details of the robbery and aftermath, centered on the handling of librarian Betty Jean Gooch (Ann Dowd) with a vigorous emotional authenticity and an appropriately pressurized seriousness. (The tone is not, gratefully, that of Preston Sturges’ hilarious murder farce “Unfaithfully Yours.”)

All that’s left is how today’s disparate audiences might view a movie that, while certainly not admiring of its do-badders, might still be seen as giving undue attention to the fortune-seeking escapades of the already fortunate, even if we learn that justice has been served. It’s a fair criticism, because the end of “American Animals” is more like a void revealed — which isn’t surprising — than an ending neatly tied up.

The news is, sadly, all too consumed still with crime story post-mortems about “good kids” who screw up, but at least “American Animals” wants to leave you wondering about how we tell stories, and whose we tell, rather than simply satisfied you saw one told well.



Related stories from TheWrap:

Netflix ‘Evil Genius’ Directors Weigh In: Was Murdered Pizza Guy in on the Heist?

Sandra Bullock Plans Epic Met Gala Heist in New ‘Ocean’s 8’ Trailer (Video)

Annapurna, Plan B to Produce Miranda July’s Family Heist Movie

How Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans, Alex Rich and Evan Peters Embraced the Limited Series (Video)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Does June Escape Gilead in the Novel?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu has been pretty good about Margaret Atwood’s novel on which it is based, but even early on, the show was expanding beyond the scope of the book.

In Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the story is stretching into all-new territory, following June (Elisabeth Moss) in the immediate aftermath of the big cliffhanger in Season 1. That cliffhanger left June’s life seemingly imperiled as she was placed in the back of a van with no explanation as to what was happening, raising the question of whether the authorities of Gilead had discovered her work with the insurgent Mayday organization.

In fact, though, June found herself safe, thanks to the fact that she was pregnant — seemingly with Nick (Max Minghella) as the father. That caused Nick to help June get away from Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), hiding her at the former offices of the Boston Herald until someone could sneak her out of the country?

Also Read: 10 Hulu Originals You Should Be Watching, From ‘The Path’ to ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ (Photos)

But is June’s escape covered in the novel? The answer to that question is a resounding: no. In fact, Atwood’s book ends, or at least June’s story does, when she steps up into that van, unsure of her fate.

After the narrative portion, in which June tells her story, the book version of “The Handmaid’s Tale” changes, taking readers to an academic lecture in 2195. The frame presents June’s story as a recording recovered years after the fall of Gilead, but it makes clear that her story took place in the early portion of a regime that lasted for years.

The scholar giving the lecture, Professor James Darcy Pieixoto, explains that while June’s story provides a lot of information about the inner workings of Gilead, it’s incomplete. In fact, while the show makes it clear that the handmaid Offred is named June Osbourne, her real name is never explicit in the books, and is instead left open to interpretation by the reader. Pieixoto notes that it’s extremely difficult for historians to find out what happened to a lot of people, including Offred, because of the changes to their names.

Also Read: Top 25 Best Netflix Original Series, Ranked From Great to Phenomenal (Photos)

So right now, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is in off-book territory. While aspects of Season 2, like the portions that concern June’s mother, are largely adapted from material in the book, the show is expanding June’s story beyond what Atwood originally wrote. Fans won’t be able to look to the novel to predict where “The Handmaid’s Tale” is headed next.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Top 25 Best Netflix Original Series, Ranked From Great to Phenomenal (Photos)

34 Streaming TV Shows You Can Binge Watch on Your Snow Day (Photos)

15 Time Travel TV Shows You Should Be Watching Right Now, From ’12 Monkeys’ to ‘Dark’ (Photos)

10 Hulu Originals You Should Be Watching, From ‘The Path’ to ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ (Photos)

TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch Right Now, From ‘OITNB’ to ‘Better Call Saul’ (Photos)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Ann Dowd Breaks Down That Horrifying Season 2 Opener (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Major spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the Season 2 premiere of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”)

“The Handmaid’s Tale” began its sophomore season on Hulu Wednesday with a frightening execution fakeout at Boston’s Fenway Park.

Or what was once Fenway Park, but in dystopian Gilead is home to gallows where a pregnant Offred/June (Elisabeth Moss) and her fellow disobedient handmaids are brought to be hung to death by Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) within the first few minutes of the premiere.

Luckily, it turned out the whole thing was an elaborate ruse meant to scare them straight. And Dowd told TheWrap in a recent interview she thought the horrifying opener for “June” — Season 2’s first episode — was “perfect.”

Also Read: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Boss Thinks World Would ‘Be a Better Place’ if Show Wasn’t so Relevant

“That’s the way to get the job done, scare them almost to death,” Dowd said of how creator and showrunner Bruce Miller decided to pick back up with his adaptation of author Margaret Atwood’s novel, now that the book’s original plot has played out.

“The number of times I read the scripts, then put them down — and I had to write Bruce Miller, ‘Are you kidding me? Wow, there should be an award for extraordinary imagination and — I don’t even know,’” she added. “So I just sat there with my mouth open and thought, ‘Yup, that’ll work.’”

Also Read: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2: Ann Dowd Shares Her Theories About Aunt Lydia’s Backstory (Video)

The Emmy winner said the gravity of the scene was highlighted by the fact it was filmed in the middle of the night, though not at the actual Boston baseball landmark.

“If people only knew [laughs],” Dowd said. “It’s 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., I’m walking across that baseball field and it just brought such… You know, when you surrender to the fact that it’s freezing, you should have been in bed hours ago and you surrender to that, it brings such power to it. Because the atmosphere, the location, was all extraordinary.”

Also Read: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Cast on Pressure to Match Critical Darling’s Success in Season 2 (Video)

Watch Dowd’s entire interview above and check back at TheWrap Thursday at 10:10 a.m. PT for another “The Handmaid’s Tale” interview with star Alexis Bledel about Season 2’s second episode.

New episodes of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale” drop Wednesdays on Hulu.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Ann Dowd Breaks Down That Horrifying Season 2 Opener (Video)

17 ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Authoritarians, Ranked From Bad to Exceedingly Evil (Photos)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Boss Thinks World Would ‘Be a Better Place’ if Show Wasn’t so Relevant

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Madeline Brewer Tells Us Janine Pretends Gilead ‘Isn’t So F—ed Up’ (Exclusive Video)

17 ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Authoritarians, Ranked From Bad to Exceedingly Evil (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The dystopian, women-subjugating society of  “The Handmaid’s Tale” is full of people who willingly sign on with its evil. Whether they’re the leaders who created the place or just collaborators willing to go along, the show is full of people willing to watch others suffer every day — and even inflict that suffering. Here are 17 such folks, ranked by how much they sign on with Gilead’s evil agenda.

Nick (Max Minghella)
Nick’s not a bad guy, and he’s trapped in Gilead like a lot of people, but he’s still a cog in the machine. At most, he uses his position to help June (Elisabeth Moss) where he can. He’s mostly still standing by and letting everything happen to her, though, and as far as their relationship is concerned, she’s the one taking all the risks.

That One Aunt (Margaret Atwood)
The author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” only gets a quick cameo, but as an aunt at the Red Center, her character is undoubtedly embracing the awfulness of Gilead. And she gets to smack June while she’s there.

Also Read: 10 Hulu Originals You Should Be Watching, From ‘The Path’ to ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ (Photos)

The Boat Driver (Marvin Kaye)
When people were fleeing Gilead, this guy was willing to take them across the border in his boat. He was also willing to profit by the situation as much as possible, gouging Luke for whatever he could pay for his passage. He might not be a part of the government, but he’s bad enough to take advantage of its rise.

Jezebels’ Martha (Elena Khan)
Informing for the government is a good way to take care of yourself at the expense of everyone else. Nick’s Martha friend is willing to sell out the people around her — and people like her are essential to keeping the oppressive system working.

Ambassador Castillo (Zabryna Guevara)
The Mexican ambassador who meets with the Commander isn’t responsible for the way Gilead treats women, but she’s obviously willing to look the other way when it comes to its policies. Even when June tells her how bad things are, she’s unwilling to do much — and if Mexico is entering into trade with Gilead for handmaidens, she’s not only looking the other way on slavery, she’s about to facilitate it.

Burke (Jim Cummings)
The interrogator who questions June about Ofglen likes to start his discussions a certain way: with a cattle prod. A government lackey, a brutal interrogator and someone who persecutes women, Burke is an “investigator” whose clearly relishes his job and the power it gives him.

Also Read: Top 24 Best Netflix Original Series, Ranked From Great to Phenomenal (Photos)

Emma Monroe (Christy Bruce)
Mere hours after separating her from her child, Commander Monroe and his wife Emma have the handmaid Janine (Madeline Brewer) ready for another “ceremony.” It’s a reinforcement that even among the “nice” commanders and their wives, handmaids are seen as little more than animals.

Naomi Putnam (Ever Carradine)
Mrs. Putnam is the “wife” whose handmaid, Janine, actually has a baby, a somewhat rare occurrence. Like with June, Putnam is nice to her handmaid right up until the baby is born. After that, Naomi can’t wait to get rid of the other women and go back to treating her and the other handmaids like property.

The Doctor (Kristian Brunn)
The gynecologist June visits early in Season 1 propositions June, making it clear he’s regularly taking advantage of handmaids for sex. That makes him a guy who manages to take the extremely awful world he lives in and make it even more gross.

The Judge (Thomas Hauff)
When June’s friend Ofglen is discovered for being a lesbian with another woman, this guy sentences Ofglen’s lover to death and Ofglen to mutilation. Not only is he perfectly comfortable with those sentences and without even giving the women a chance to defend themselves, but it’s a look into the way Gilead systematizes women as lesser people.

Also Read: Top 20 Best HBO Original Series, From ‘Six Feet Under’ to ‘Game of Thrones’ (Photos)

Commander Monroe (Matthew Olver)
Monroe might be considered a “nice” commander, but he’s still a leader of the regime and must have played a part in both its coming to power and in its continuing terrible ways. Plus, like his wife, he’s instantly ready to treat Janine like someone who’s less than human.

Commander Pryce (Robert Curtis Brown)
Pryce seems like the paranoid commander, and other than Commander Waterford, he comes off as the most devout. But he’s still in the car with the others, coming up with the best way to brand the idea of all the commanders taking on concubines and making it sound biblical. Ultimately, the commanders don’t even believe their own lies, and Pryce is obviously just trying to consolidate his own power.

Commander Guthrie (Christian Lloyd)
Of the leaders of the movement, Guthrie seems to be the most truthful. He’s a jerk who doesn’t really care about the religion side, but it’s his idea to create the handmaids expressly for the purpose of breeding. Where the other leaders are hypocrites, they at least hide it well. Guthrie’s just in this for the gross, exploitative power.

Commander Putnam (Stephen Kunken)
Putnam has an extra layer of horrific to add to the usual awfulness of the commanders. He convinced his handmaid, Janine, that he was going to run away with her. His lie got him what he wanted from her, but it helped ruin Janine even more.

Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd)
The scary thing about Aunt Lydia is she comes off like a true believer. She’s fully committed to forcing handmaids into a life of rape and servitude, and she seems to enjoy wrecking the women who don’t immediately respect her with her cattle prod. She and people like her are essential to making subjugation work because she buys in, and has no problem hurting anyone who doesn’t.

Also Read: 34 Streaming TV Shows You Can Binge Watch in a Weekend (Photos)

Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski)
Talk about your all-time backfires. Serena Joy got everything she ever thought she wanted. Her book touted the great world she would help create, and yet she seemingly didn’t realize that advocating to make women second-class citizens would include her too. That means she’s marginalized by the people she helped elevate, and she’s angry enough about it to use her own power to ruin the lives of the people below her. She just can’t stop being fully awful.

The Commander (Joseph Fiennes)
The worst thing about the Commander is that he plays nice. He invites June to his room for games of Scrabble and, in private, treats her like a real person. But even his acts of kindness are actually clear methods of enforcing his power over people — he knows June can’t really challenge him, and he likes to wield his ability to be nice to her as something he can easily take away. It’s almost worse that he sometimes treats her well, because every act of kindness comes with the tacit feeling of being in his debt, as well as under his whim.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Top 25 Best Netflix Original Series, Ranked From Great to Phenomenal (Photos)

34 Streaming TV Shows You Can Binge Watch on Your Snow Day (Photos)

10 Hulu Originals You Should Be Watching, From ‘The Path’ to ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ (Photos)

Top 20 Best HBO Original Series, From ‘Six Feet Under’ to ‘Game of Thrones’ (Photos)

TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch Right Now, From ‘OITNB’ to ‘Better Call Saul’ (Photos)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2: Ann Dowd Shares Her Theories About Aunt Lydia’s Backstory (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen all of Season 1 of “The Handmaid’s Tale”)

Aunt Lydia was not messing around in Season 1 of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” And from the looks of things, Ann Dowd’s character is stepping up her game for the critically-acclaimed Hulu series’ upcoming second installment.

The Emmy winner spoke with TheWrap ahead of Wednesday’s Season 2 premiere about the harsh punishment Lydia has doled out to Offred/June (Elisabeth Moss), Ofwarren/Janine (Madeline Brewer), Ofglen/Emily (Alexis Bledel) and the other handmaids in Gilead and why that has helped Dowd develop her own theories about Lydia’s past. A backstory which viewers have yet to see, but might in the coming episodes.

Also Read: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Cast on Pressure to Match Critical Darling’s Success in Season 2 (Video)

“Yes, when you’re playing a character you think, ‘OK Episodes 1-6 are all about Lydia. And then we’ll bring in the other characters,’” Dowd says in the interview above. “But I trust the writers tremendously and I’m curious about it. However, I often wonder, was she very in love as a 13-year-old and did she get pregnant? And the shame, the shame, the shame. I remember, I was raised in a Catholic family and I think the first time I kissed a boy I thought, ‘Am I pregnant?’ There is so much, you know the anti-sex pill that you were given when you hit puberty from your parents being word.”

“So did she [Aunt Lydia] have so much shame that she just promised, ‘Listen, God, if you give me one more chance, I’ll never ever ever let you down,’” Dowd continued. “And she just shut off all sides of her except devotion as a way of saying, ‘I’m sorry. It will never happen again.’”

Also Read: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2: Samira Wiley Tells Us Why Moira’s Newfound Freedom Isn’t All Sweet (Video)

“The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2 will be shaped by Offred/June’s pregnancy and her ongoing fight to free her future child from the dystopian horrors of Gilead. In the sophomore installment, Offred and others will fight against — or succumb to — the dark truth that “Gilead is within you.”

Watch Dowd’s entire interview above and check back at TheWrap Wednesday at 10:10 am PT for another interview with Dowd about the Season 2 premiere.

Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” will premiere with two new episodes on Wednesday, with subsequent episodes released every Wednesday, on Hulu.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Cast on Pressure to Match Critical Darling’s Success in Season 2 (Video)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2: Samira Wiley Tells Us Why Moira’s Newfound Freedom Isn’t All Sweet (Video)

Inside ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Horrifying Season 2 Premiere (Non-Spoiler)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Madeline Brewer Tells Us Janine Pretends Gilead ‘Isn’t So F—ed Up’ (Exclusive Video)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Cast on Pressure to Match Critical Darling’s Success in Season 2 (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen all of Season 1 of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”)

“The Handmaid’s Tale” returns to Hulu Wednesday with a second season that’s going completely off-book.

The Elisabeth Moss-led series — whose first season won more awards than Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) could shake a cow-prodder at — exhausted the source material last year and is about to unleash a new story that goes beyond the pages of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel.

So are the stars feeling the heat when it comes to living up to the hype with this addition to the original tale? Of course, but they also trust showrunner Bruce Miller and their writers.

Also Read: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2: Samira Wiley Tells Us Why Moira’s Newfound Freedom Isn’t All Sweet (Video)

“I don’t want Margaret to get angry with me, because she’s got a dark imagination!” O-T Fagbenle, who plays June’s (Elisabeth Moss) husband Luke, told TheWrap about making sure the author is pleased with their work. “The main pressure I feel is just to do the scripts justice,” he added.

“I think of course there is great pressure when something works to try and keep it working, but without repeating the formula in a way that might get the audience bored,” Joseph Fiennes, who plays Commander Fred Waterford, said. “Allowing this second season to speak as strongly as it did to people — we got lucky in terms of hitting the political zeitgeist,” he added.

“I think the key there is just to bring your best every day,” said Ann Dowd, who took home an Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy in 2017 for playing Aunt Lydia. “And it takes so many [people] to make this story.”

Alexis Bledel, who grabbed an Outstanding Guest Actress Emmy for her role as Ofglen/Emily, said they are trying “to step up our game for season 2 and hopefully get something even more satisfying.”

Also Read: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Madeline Brewer Tells Us Janine Pretends Gilead ‘Isn’t So F–ed Up’ (Exclusive Video)

“The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2 will be shaped by Offred/June’s pregnancy and her ongoing fight to free her future child from the dystopian horrors of Gilead. In the sophomore installment, Offred and others will fight against — or succumb to — the dark truth that “Gilead is within you.”

Watch the cast’s interview above and check back at TheWrap Wednesday at 10:10 for an interview with Dowd about the Season 2 premiere.

Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” will premiere with two new episodes on Wednesday, with subsequent episodes released every Wednesday, on Hulu.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2: Samira Wiley Tells Us Why Moira’s Newfound Freedom Isn’t All Sweet (Video)

Inside ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Horrifying Season 2 Premiere (Non-Spoiler)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Star Madeline Brewer Tells Us Janine Pretends Gilead ‘Isn’t So F—ed Up’ (Exclusive Video)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Trailer: Her Name Is June and She’s Free, Thank You Very Much (Video)

Jason Mitchell’s ‘Tyrel’ Sells to Magnolia Pictures

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Magnolia Pictures has picked up the worldwide rights to Jason Mitchell’s “Tyrel,” the company announced Tuesday.

The film stars Michael Cera, Chris Abbott, Ann Dowd and Caleb Landry Jones. A drama about race relations, it premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in January. Magnolia Pictures is aiming for a 2018 theatrical release.

Sebastián Silva wrote and directed the film about Tyler, the sole black man who goes on a weekend getaway trip with his drunk friends.

Also Read: ‘Tyrel’: Race, Class and Bad Manners Collide in Showcase for Jason Mitchell

“Sebastián Silva continues to upset the apple cart in the most interesting ways with this scaldingly fresh take on being the other,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles in a statement.

Silva added, “I’m thrilled and honored that ‘Tyrel’ has found its home with Magnolia. We’re excited to have such a collaborative and creative distribution partner on board so that this film gets seen by as many people as possible.  We believe the movie is timely and are hopeful that it will help continue to move the race conversation forward.”

Also Read: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Star Jason Mitchell Flips Out on Delta Flight (Report)

“Tyrel” was produced by Max Born, Jacob Wasserman, and Silva. The deal was negotiated by Magnolia co-EVP Dori Begley and SVP of acquisitions John Von Thaden with UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers. Magnolia Head of International Sales Lorna Lee Sagebiel-Torres and Manager of International Sales Catalina Ramirez will be representing the film at Cannes.  International rights are still available.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance, SXSW Comedy ‘Never Goin’ Back’ Sells to A24

Sundance Award-Winning Doc ‘Shirkers’ Lands at Netflix

The Orchard Grabs Domestic Rights to Sundance Drama ‘We The Animals’

TV Review: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 on Hulu

Read on: Variety.

June Osborne is angry. What comes through clearly in the opening episode of the second season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is June’s silent, burning rage. We now know, of course, that her name is not Offred, but June. Chin up, defiant, she declares her first and last name quietly but fiercely several times as the […]

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Trailer: Her Name Is June and She’s Free, Thank You Very Much (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Don’t call her Offred.

Hulu released its trailer for “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2 on Wednesday and it looks like Elisabeth Moss is playing a completely different character this time around. Well, more like she’s taking ownership of her original identity, that is.

The clip picks up where Season 1 left off, with a pregnant Offred being carted away from the Commander (Joseph Fiennes) and Serena Joy’s (Yvonne Strahovski) home. “Is this what freedom looks like?” she asks in her narration. “What will happen when I get out? There probably is no out. Gilead is within you.”

Also Read: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Hulu Owns International Women’s Day With Season 2 Teaser (Video)

The rest of the clip is filled with glimpses of your favorite handmaids Moira (Samira Wiley) and Luke (O. T. Fagbenle) living a free life in Canada, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) getting bossy again, a look at the creepy Colonies and Moss finally out of that unflattering red frock.

“My name is June Osbourne,” she says at the clip’s close. “I am … free.”

The Emmy-winning drama series sophomore installment will be shaped by Offred/June’s pregnancy and her ongoing fight to free her future child from the dystopian horrors of Gilead. “Gilead is within you” is a favorite saying of Aunt Lydia. In Season Two, Offred and all our characters will fight against – or succumb to – this dark truth.

Also Read: Bradley Whitford Joins ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2

Watch the trailer above.

Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” will premiere with two new episodes on April 25, with subsequent episodes released every Wednesday, on Hulu.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Hulu Owns International Women’s Day With Season 2 Teaser (Video)

Bradley Whitford Joins ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Showrunner Teases Season 2 Journey to the Colonies

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Trailer: Pregnant Offred Lights a Fire Under Gilead (Video)

Andrea Riseborough’s ‘Nancy’ Sells to Samuel Goldwyn Films

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired the North American rights to Andrea Riseborough’s “Nancy,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month.

“Nancy” is set to get a traditional theatrical release later this year. It follows a woman who becomes convinced that she was kidnapped as a child — and when she encounters a couple whose daughter went missing 30 years ago, her lines of reality begin to disappear.

Steve Buscemi, J. Smith-Cameron, Ann Dowd and John Leguizamo round out the cast. Christina Choe wrote and directed. Producers include Amy Lo of Mental Pictures, Michelle Cameron, and Riseborough under her banner Mothersucker.

Also Read: Rupert Everett’s Oscar Wilde Movie ‘The Happy Prince’ Lands at Sony Pictures Classics

EON Productions’ Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Gamechanger Films’ Mynette Louie and XS Media’s Rachel Song executive produced.

The deal was negotiated by Peter Goldwyn, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films, and Endeavor Content and Anita Surendran of Gray Krauss Sandler Des Rochers LLP on behalf of the filmmakers. Cercamon is handling international sales.

Also Read: Jaden Smith’s ‘Skate Kitchen’ Sells to Magnolia Pictures

Riseborough most recently starred on the series “Black Mirror” and “Waco,” as well as Sundance hit “Burden.” Her next projects include the short “Actress” and the feature film “Secrets from the Russian Tea Room.”

Choe’s other credits include shorts “I am John Wayne,” “The Queen,” “Flow” and “The Cross.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

The Orchard Grabs Domestic Rights to Sundance Drama ‘We The Animals’

Why Amazon, Netflix Ghosted Sundance Sales After Dominating Last Year

2018 Sundance Film Festival Awards: The Complete Winners List

Claire Danes, Jim Parsons Drama ‘A Kid Like Jake’ Acquired by IFC Films

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

IFC Films has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to “A Kid Like Jake,” the drama starring Claire Danes and Jim Parsons which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Directed by Silas Howard, the film also stars Octavia Spencer, Priyanka Chopra, Ann Dowd and Amy Landecker. Daniel Pearle wrote the screenplay as an adaptation of his own play.

The film follows Alex and Greg Wheeler (Danes and Parsons, respectively) who are in the midst of finding the private school for their son, Jake, a four year old who happens to prefer Disney princesses to G.I. Joe. The story focuses on the couple trying to do right by their son.

See Video: ‘A Kid Like Jake’ Star Priyanka Chopra Says Gender Identity Story ‘Needs to be Told’

“We are so excited for this opportunity to work with IFC on
bringing ‘A Kid Like Jake’ to a wide audience,” said Parsons. “It is exactly this type of film – one born from passion and a commitment to telling a story that connects with many by being specific – that IFC has shown time and again they are excited by, understand and want audiences to have the chance to see. IFC brings their own passion to this movie and, by doing so, makes the whole project more powerful.”

“A Kid Like Jake” was produced by Parsons, Todd Spiewak and Eric Norsoph for That’s Wonderful Productions, Paul Bernon for Burn Later Productions and Rachel Song for XS Media. Jenette Kahn, Adam Richman, David
Bernon, Sam Slater, Jackie Bernon, Rowan Riley, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Hilary Davis, Stephen Kelliher,
Patrick Howson, David Gendron, and Ali Jazayeri are executive producers.

Also Read: The Orchard Grabs Domestic Rights to Sundance Drama ‘We The Animals’

“We are excited and proud to be working with such an acclaimed group of actors and filmmakers to bring this timely, passion-driven and deft story to audiences beyond Sundance,” said Jonathan Sehring and Lisa Schwartz, Co-Presidents of IFC Films. “We believe that the powerful story with resonate with all audiences.”

“A Kid Like Jake” will be released this summer.

The deal was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Production, for IFC
FILMS with CAA on behalf of the filmmakers. Bankside is handling international sales.

Check out The Wrap’s Sundance interview with the cast:

Related stories from TheWrap:

Watch the Terrifying Trailer for Sundance Horror Film ‘Hereditary’ (Video)

Why Amazon, Netflix Ghosted Sundance Sales After Dominating Last Year

Neon Lights Up Sundance With Big Money, Big Acquisitions

‘Tyrel’: Race, Class and Bad Manners Collide in Showcase for Jason Mitchell

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

It’s safe to bet that everyone, at least once, has felt trapped at a sleepover they can’t leave. It brings the ugly choice: win over the room, disappear into sleep or call crying for mom.

That’s the dilemma for the embattled lead in “Tyrel,” a sweet guy named Tyler who finds himself the only black man at a weekend birthday celebration soaked in booze and fragile masculine egos.

“Straight Outta Compton” star Jason Mitchell plays Tyler, who in the first moments of the film is called “Tyrel” by one of his new pals. Inverting the letters of his name registers as both a fleeting mistake and a nuclear microaggression. It’s a moment that sets the stage for a tense and emotional ride, written and directed by Sundance alum Sebastian Silva.

Also Read: Keira Knightley Claims a Racy, Feminist ‘Colette’

There was an urgency to see the film at it’s Saturday premiere, held at the Park City library. Not just because Silva’s previous five films have shown here (this is his first in U.S. Dramatic Competition), but thanks to it’s on-paper similarities to “Get Out” — which is currently hurling toward a Best Picture nomination.

This film is about a black man isolated in the wilderness, his very presence a confrontation to the norm that surrounds him. So is “Get Out,” at first. This film also stars the gangly, charming and terrifying Caleb Landry Jones.

Here Landry Jones plays the birthday boy, someone who challenges his a new guest to physical fights and mind games. In “Get Out,” Landry Jones plays a prodigal son who challenges his new guest Daniel Kaluuya to physical fights and mind games.

The similarities end there, unless you’re like us and consider a bad host and bad friends truly terrifying.

Also Read: ‘Wildlife’ Review: Paul Dano’s Directorial Debut Is an Austere Portrait of a Family in Crisis

Tyler has been invited to this celebration by Johnny (Christopher Abbott), an excuse for a break from the medical problems his girlfriend’s mother is suffering. It’s weighing on his relationship, and Tyler is trying to vent to Johnny as they make their way to the country abode of house-flipper Nico.

“The Argentinian fellow,” remarks passing neighbor Ann Dowd of Nico, a signal that there are other “others” on this trip though none ever winds up subjected to what Tyler will endure. There’s also the openly gay Roddy, whose connection to the men is unclear.

Johnny and his core group are yearslong friends, cut from the same cloth of discontented men of privilege who love hypothetical babble and observational humor. Tyler is not a talker, does not need to perform his intellect and is generally uninterested in stoking the insecurities of his peers for sport.

Because you get the sense that Tyler knows what a good friend is.

Strapped with rising anxiety over how much he does not fit in, Tyler first tries to become of service: bussing dishes, helping cook meals, walking the adorable house dog Cosmo. But Johnny senses his unease, and instead of trying to understand becomes agitated. This new addition is not blending, and it’s making Johnny uncomfortable.

Also Read: ‘Leave No Trace’ Film Review: Debra Granik Returns with Another Subtle Powerhouse Drama

After sneaking off to bed early (and resisting putting on his do-rag, which was painful to watch), Tyler wakes the next day with a mission to lean the f— in. He drinks, he battles, he relentlessly teases the other men, mimicking their rituals to become one of them.

It works for a while, but he overshoots his drinking and weed smoking. He becomes seductively similar to the men, and then a total buzzkill with his slurring and horseplay and inability to hang. There’s no winning.

The audience at the library had notably different takes watching the film: some were amused at the comedy of errors and outlandish bro stunts by Johnny & Co. Others were wracked with anxiety over scenarios that could have sent the film in a bleak direction, like a drunken blindfold game where the group stabs a Donald Trump piñata with a kitchen knife.

The varied reactions could present a challenge in how a distributor might market “Tyrel,” but the obvious takeaway is Mitchell’s rich performance. He lets you feel every humiliation and subsequent redemption while he’s trapped in this dynamic.

He disappears into sleep. He wins over the room. He even calls mommy crying (a drunken trip to Dowd’s house, though he’s inevitably pulled back to his host).

He makes it rewarding.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

Common, Jane Fonda and the Scene at the Respect Rally in Sundance (Photos)

Jane Fonda, Tessa Thompson Fire Up Women’s Respect Rally in Sundance

Watch the Sundance Respect Rally Livestream Here (Video)