Ann Dowd is one of the best, underrated actresses working right now. She has experience with every genre but is often cast as cold and stoic characters — much like her role as Aunt Lydia in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Season four saw a reckoning for several characters, including Lydia. When viewers last see her character, she’s rerunning the Red Centre. As the show goes into its fifth season, Lydia will play a major role in Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Testaments (sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale), Dowd states, “There are a lot of ways that Lydia is shifting, and they’re powerful.”
Dowd spoke with THR, and she doesn’t go into much detail but did read the book and is looking forward to continuing the story. “It’s a fantastic novel, it’s brilliant. I’ve listened to the audiobook, which I loved, and I’m very much looking forward to it. It takes place 15 years later, after the end of Handmaids. For anyone who hasn’t yet read it, I’ll remain cryptic.”
The actress also discusses how roles like this can take an emotional toll if you hold on to them for too long. “Can you imagine staying in that world? No, you’d go mad,” she says. “When scenes are particularly emotional or challenging, of course, it will stay with you until you let it gently go. But we don’t take it home because, at the end of the day, the consequences don’t come home with us.”
Over time, she’s gotten better at letting go of a performance once she’s done with work. “And that’s something that I think happens naturally over time, where you just get a little better at saying goodnight. Plus, the days are long; you’re tired!”