Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Handmaid's Tale Has Strict And Sensible Rules About Babies On Set

By design, "The Handmaid's Tale" is quite preoccupied with babies and the people who raise them. As it turns out, this is also true when cameras aren't rolling.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly following the seventh episode of Season 5, Yvonne Strahovski — who plays Serena Waterford on the show — provided insight into her character's surprising journey throughout this latest season. But in addition to clarifying some of Serena's motivations and inner conflicts throughout this episode's latest twists, Strahovski also shed light on the show's handling of its infant actors.

For instance, Strahovski revealed that not all infants are destined for stardom, apparently. "It's very hard to rely on babies in general to perform," admitted Strahovski, who explained that infant actors are usually twins, just in case one can't hit their marks. She also revealed a surprising truth about how babies are treated on the show's set between takes.

Handmaid's Tale babies are covered in strawberry jam and cream cheese

When seeking babies that will ultimately appear in "The Handmaid's Tale," the series' production team has to follow a few general guidelines. First and foremost, twin babies are always key. 

In addition to their ability to be swapped out when necessary, Yvonne Strahovski explained that twin babies are generally smaller than other babies, "which is helpful for television." But then, she added, "Casting has to find moms who are willing to let us borrow their baby and cover them in strawberry jam and cream cheese for the process. And trust us with these precious, precious little babies" (via Entertainment Weekly).

Of course, that's only the beginning of the road for these diminutive thespians, for the real work begins once cameras are rolling. Filming scenes with babies is often complicated, and Strahovski even admitted that Season 5, Episode 7 was the hardest episode. Unfortunately, there are some severe limits on when and for how long the pint-sized performers are allowed to be on set. 

Babies are only allowed on set for minutes at a time

As Yvonne Strahovski pointed out, babies in any television production are constrained by certain industry guidelines. They are only allowed on set for a set amount of minutes and stay in another room until absolutely necessary for a shot. Long before the real-life babies are invited in, everything else is set up and the actors rehearse using a prosthetic doll. 

"And then at the last minute, the camera is rolling and the baby will come in, we'll position ourselves, and go and just shoot that little thing over and over again until we get it," Strahovski said. "And then that's it. Baby leaves. It's very sort of protective of the actual baby, as it should be" (via Entertainment Weekly).

Hopefully, Strahovski will get more chances to interact with her on-screen son after the events of Season 5, in which authorities separated Serena and baby Noah and led Serena to take a Handmaid position at the Wheeler residence. But with just one final season to go, time is starting to run out.