Alexis Bledel has shockingly announced her departure from her Emmy-winning role on The Handmaid’s Tale, which has begun filming its fifth season.
‘After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid’s Tale at this time,’ said the 40-year-old actress, who has been on the show since season one.
‘I am forever grateful to Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support,’ she told Variety.
Seen onscreen: Alexis Bledel has shockingly announced her departure from The Handmaid’s Tale, which has begun filming its fifth season
Based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, the show takes place in a patriarchal dystopia called Gilead founded on what used to be the United States.
Women are reduced to a status far beneath that of men, deprived of such basic rights as being permitted to read or use money.
‘Handmaids’ are the women forced under veils and subjected to a form of slavery in which they are repeatedly raped for the purpose of producing children.
Alexis played Emily Malek, who was a Handmaid under the name of Ofglen until she escaped to Canada and who now works for the Mayday resistance.
End of the road: ‘After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid’s Tale at this time,’ the 40-year-old actress told Variety in a statement this week
She won an Emmy for outstanding guest actress for her work on the first season, and has been nominated a further three times for the show.
The show has long since passed up the events of the Margaret Atwood novel, so the writers have a level of freedom to shape the plot around Alexis’ exit.
Starring Elisabeth Moss in the lead role of a handmaid called Offred, the show ran its first season in 2017 and dropped season four from April to June last year.
One of the show’s stars Ann Dowd confirmed to the Independent this January that season five would ‘begin shooting in February.’
Side by side: Starring Elisabeth Moss (left) in the lead role of a handmaid called Offred, the show ran its first season in 2017; Elisabeth and Alexis are pictured together on the series
Upon its debut the show became a major cultural touchstone, particularly among feminists furious with Donald Trump.
A number of anti-Trump protesters took to dressing as Handmaids, not just in the US but also in such foreign cities as London and Warsaw because of his visits there.
Abortion rights protestors have worn Handmaid costumes this month after an unprecedented leak revealed that Roe v Wade may be overturned.
Horror: Based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, the show takes place in a patriarchal dystopia called Gilead founded on what used to be the United States
Alexis became a star as one of the title characters on Gilmore Girls, a long-running drama that lasted from 2000 to 2007.
She also embarked on a movie career that has included memorable such titles as The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants films and Sin City.
Her departure from The Handmaid’s Tale comes over four years after she revealed that a third Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants movie was percolating.
Who’s who: Alexis played Emily Malek, who was a Handmaid under the name of Ofglen until she escaped to Canada and who now works for the Mayday resistance
Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in April 18, she said she and her co-stars had ‘just pitched a third movie, and I hope it comes together.’
Alexis starred with Blake Lively, America Ferreira and Amber Tamblyn in the first movie in 2005, as well as its sequel in 2008.
The movies are based on a five-book series by Ann Brashares, and four of the novels have already been condensed into the first two movies.