In episode nine of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the Waterfords’ ill-fated diplomatic trip to Canada would have gone a little differently if not for Joseph Fiennes (Fred Waterford).
During the trip to the free country of Canada, the car Fred and his wife Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) are traveling in gets held up by a protest against their presence in the country.
One of the protestors is Luke, the husband of June (Offred). He is holding up a photo of himself, his wife and their daughter. The Waterfords can’t help but to see and recognise it. Luke pushes towards the car the Waterfords are in, shouting at Fred “You raped my wife.”
Originally, following the encounter with Luke, Fred Waterford was to have raped Serena in their hotel room.
While it seems conceivable that in the heightened emotional state after such an encounter, the predatory Fred might take it out on Serena in this way. Especially if we keep the previous episode’s brutality in mind, Fiennes says it felt wrong.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, Fiennes had this to say about the cancelled scene.
“I guess in many ways, as abhorrent and nasty and evil as Fred is, I have to defend parts of him….I had to go out on a limb and refuse to do it because I felt that even though Fred is who he is, he’s human.”
Fiennes made his case with “long emails and defending and pushing, and feeling that Yvonne had tracked Serena so beautifully that her disenfranchisement with the regime and Fred was so beautifully charted it didn’t need a heavy scene to kind of suddenly push her over the edge.”
The Handmaid’s Tale airs on Hulu in US and on Channel 4 in UK.