Critics of Scientology and fans of Elisabeth Moss’ work in The Handmaid’s Tale and beyond have sometimes struggled to square the two. Moss of course is a Scientologist and The Handmaid’s Tale depicts a fictional dystopia that many believe echoes what happens IRL in Scientology.
In a talk with the Daily Beast, she explained her perspective: “Listen, it’s a complicated thing because the things that I believe in, I can only speak to my personal experience and my personal beliefs. One of the things I believe in is freedom of speech. I believe we as humans should be able to critique things. I believe in freedom of the press. I believe in people being able to speak their own opinions.
“I don’t ever want to take that away from anybody, because that actually is very important to me,” she continued. “At the same time, I should hope that people educate themselves for themselves and form their own opinion, as I have. The things that I believe in personally, for me, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the ability to do something that is artistically fulfilling but is also personally fulfilling, I’ve never had that. The Handmaid’s Tale lines up so perfectly parallel with my own beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the things that this country was actually built on.”
The 36-year-old added: “I don’t choose to talk about not just religion, but my personal life — who I’m dating and that kind of thing … I think people should be allowed to talk about what they want to talk about and believe what they want to believe and you can’t take that away—and when you start to take that away, when you start to say ‘you can’t think that,’ ‘you can’t believe that,’ ‘you can’t say that,’ then you get into trouble. Then you get into Gilead.” Gilead, of course, is the name of the dystopia in which The Handmaid’s Tale is based.