There are a lot of difficult scenes in Handmaids Tale, but the one Elisabeth Moss found the toughest to film might surprise fans.
The actress recently revealed that she struggled to film the messy birth scene in which her character June gives birth to her daughter Holly (also known as Nichole). Unlike other labour scenes, this one got particularly messy thanks to the use of cream cheese and jelly- yes, we’re being serious!
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Elisabeth was asked what was the worst scene for her to film. “Probably the birth scene in season two, where I had to give birth by myself, naked,” she explained. “Yeah, we had a couple [babies],” she continued. “There was one baby that, in order to get that post-birth look — the guck that comes on a baby — they put cream cheese and jelly on the baby.”
Unsurprisingly, Elisabeth explained that the first baby used for the scene didn’t appreciate being slathered in cream cheese and jelly. “That baby was not ‘aw,'” she said. “That baby was not having it. Not having it […] It hated it, so it was screaming so loud.”
She went on to add that the baby’s cries were so distracting she had difficulty focusing on her lines. “So, I was doing this really emotional scene; I’m like naming the baby after my mother. It was all very emotional and this baby’s just screaming at the bottom of its lungs in my ear,” Elisabeth went on.
Handmaids Tale is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society that was formerly the United States. Due to a global fertility crisis, all the fertile women are turned into handmaids and are expected to produce offspring for their Commanders and their wives. In other words, they’re forced into sexual servitude. Women have few rights in Gilead and are rather valued only for their reproductive abilities.
The show has explored many dark scenes and has produced a variety of scenes that were difficult to watch, including sexual assault and torture. Despite the heavy subject matter, Elisabeth went on to express how much she enjoys working on the hit show, which is currently in its fourth season.
“As crazy as it is, we honestly enjoy doing the show so much,” she told Jimmy Kimmel. “It’s important to us. We love it, it’s an incredible opportunity. And I think that for us, it’s a great challenge but very, very fulfilling.”