The Handmaid's Tale to be screened with Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes

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The highly anticipated television adaptation of Margaret Atwood's classic The Handmaid's Tale begins on Sunday.

Starring Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes, the drama is set in the totalitarian state of Gilead where a plunging birth rate has led to women being treated as government-owned reproductive systems, forced to help repopulate the society.

Former Mad Men star Moss plays Offred, who struggles against her new servile role as a Handmaid, and the actress spoke about what it was like to work alongside the book's author.

She said: "My relationship with Margaret Atwood has consisted of me being basically extremely intimidated and trying to not sound like an idiot.

"It is a bizarre experience to be in the same room with somebody who wrote the character that you're playing - The Handmaid's Tale is a prolific novel and she is one of our greatest writers.

"It's a different experience, it's like if you were playing something and Hemingway was there when you're doing The Sun Also Rises.

"She has always said, if I ever needed to talk to her, to please reach out."

:: The Handmaid's Tale is broadcast on Sunday at 9pm on Channel 4.