Madeline Brewer On The Biggest Surprise Of Janine's Backstory On 'The Handmaid's Tale'

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Madeline Brewer On The Biggest Surprise Of Janine's Backstory On 'The Handmaid's Tale'

In Part 1 of our discussion with the Emmy-nominated Madeline Brewer, we chat about Janine’s role at the Red Center. In Part 2, we dive deeper into Janine’s backstory, as revealed in a Handmaid's Tale Season 4 flashback, how the narrative of Gilead reflects a larger, real-life conversation, and how the Clinic Defenders (seen on TikTok) almost inspired a storyline on the show.

There wasn’t a ton of information about Janine’s backstory before. What did you speculate about her, either in regards to her son Caleb or otherwise?

I had some conversations with [showrunner] Bruce [Miller] early on about his inspiration for Janine, and he told me that it was loosely based on someone he knew. My Janine is also based on several people who I know. But I really tried not to make too many concrete decisions about who she was before Gilead. I didn’t want to make any decisions that might throw me off. And I was thrown off a bit, like when I walked into her little apartment with Caleb. It was very hip, very cool. I was like, “Wait, Janine’s not hip or cool.” I do like that side of her, now that I’ve seen it. She had this wonderful little life, and she was really providing for her son, and they loved each other so deeply. They had a beautiful relationship.

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