The third season of MGM Television’s award-winning dystopian series “The Handmaid’s Tale” moves further beyond the source material novel by Margaret Atwood, featuring locales outside the totalitarian state of Gilead as June continues her involvement in the resistance while attempting to rescue her older daughter. Colin Watkinson, who won an Outstanding Cinematography Emmy Award for his work on the show’s pilot, served as DP for the first two episodes of season three, with DPs Zoe White and Stuart Biddlecombe handling later episodes. Deluxe Toronto Senior Colorist Bill Ferwerda, who provided the series’ color finish for the two previous seasons, built on existing looks and developed new ones to help reveal the story.
“Colin helped lay the groundwork for the look of the show from day one and has been very involved throughout. Season two brought Zoe into the fold and she has done an amazing job, and Stuart was a great addition the team for season three,” explained Ferwerda. “Even though there’s an established look for the show, each DP has their own style and taste, and brings some of that to the episodes they work on, while also keeping the tone consistent and cohesive. It was a wonderful collaboration and we were able to push the look further in fresh ways.”
Ferwerda kept scenes in Washington, D.C. on the neutral side, in line with the established Gilead look; scenes in Canada feature a more normal aesthetic, in contrast to the simple palettes with pronounced primary colors of Gilead. DIT Ben Whaley, who has also been with the show since the pilot, helped guide the look on set, and Ferwerda then collaborated with production on honing that look, in some cases taking creative license to serve the story.
Ferwerda concluded, “One of my favorite scenes this season is in episode two. It’s set in a basement and appears very dark, almost an uncomfortable dark. We used windows to slightly lighten areas that needed to be seen but the rest drops off in such a beautiful way. It matched the story so well, I love it.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale” season three premiered on June 5 in the U.S.; episodes can be viewed via Hulu in the U.S. and on Bravo in Canada.