Ann Dowd follows her own path to success in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

By Yvonne Villarreal
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Ann Dowd has played some of television’s most recent fearsome, scene-stealing archvillains. Last year she received an Emmy for her work on “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Los Angeles Times

When Ann Dowd is walking toward you, the impulse is not to make eye contact.

The veteran actress has played, with chilling effect, some of television’s most recent fearsome, scene-stealing archvillains: cult leader Patti Levin in HBO’s “The Leftovers” and, currently, the domineering oppressor Aunt Lydia in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

But Dowd is far more friendly than intimidating during a recent sit-down. Unlike her alter egos, she’s not stingy with a laugh.

And there’s much to be happy about. In addition to Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which is available to stream, Dowd has a string of films opening next month, including horror film “Hereditary” and “A Kid Like Jake.”

But it’s Dowd’s dark character on “The Handmaid’s Tale”, for which she won an Emmy last year, that has everyone talking these days. And not just because of her performance. A few weeks from this chat, the character got caught up in controversy after comedian Mi-chelle Wolf compared White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Aunt Lydia, sparking countless dissections.
(Dowd gave us her thoughts on this via email, as noted below.)

Q: Aunt Lydia is a very complicated character. What has it been like getting to know her?

A: It’s like a friendship or a relationship: She tells me about her, I tell her about me. I think that whatever happens to her, whoever hurt her, did it very successfully. And I think it was early and consistent. So at some point, the doors closed and what remains is this. She has managed to, from her perspective, live a redeemed and meaningful life.

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