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The opportunity to design costumes for Hulu’s dystopian drama series The Handmaid’s Tale—based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, and created by Bruce Miller (The 100)—was a full-circle moment for Ane Crabtree. Having read the novel many years ago, upon it’s initial release, and seen the 1990 film adaption in theaters, Crabtree was tremendously inspired, feeling nonetheless that the events in the novel were too unreal to ever be acted out in real life.
30 years later, Crabtree found her assumptions proven inaccurate, as real-world events spiral further toward the realm of speculative fiction. Of recent, the costume designer has spent a great deal of time with fictions mirroring and commenting on real life, not only with The Handmaid’s Tale, but also with Westworld, the tremendously popular HBO series from creators Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy. Speaking with Deadline about both series, Crabtree discusses the real power costumes hold—the power to elevate the individual, and the power to oppress.
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You have two excellent dystopian series in your hands at the moment. What attracted you to The Handmaid’s Tale?
When I heard about it, I was excited because I had actually read the book many, many years ago—possibly, right when it came out. Many things were opening up for me as a young woman, and then I saw the film [adaptation]—also the year that it came out—and was completely floored; sat in the cinema for at least half an hour as the credits rolled. It had a deep impact on me. I remember sort of thinking, “This is too surreal for real life. It could never happen; but what if it did?”
Cut - Years - Opportunity - Moment - Career
Cut to 30-plus years later. It’s just very rare that you get the opportunity to relive a seminal moment in your career that inspired you, for what you do for a living....
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