Behind the scenes of 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 2 with cast, author

"Nightline" was given rare behind-the-scenes access, where our cameras had somewhat free range to examine the details of the handmaid's world.
7:03 | 05/05/18

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Transcript for Behind the scenes of 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 2 with cast, author
A make-believe world you created. They're reading. I know they're reading. They're not supposed to be reading. Reporter: We're behind the scenes with author Margaret Atwood, visiting a world she imagined, "The handmaid's tale." It's very strange. The doll house comes to life. It's so incongruous to see you smiling in this outfit. I know, I don't usually do a lot of laughing and smiling when I'm wearing this. Most of the time I'm just upset about something. Some wrong that has been done to me. Reporter: Hulu's blockbuster drama starring Elizabeth moss is now in its second season. Nine months can feel like quite a long time. Reporter: The story is set in a totalitarian regime called gilead in what used to be the U.S. Sometime in the year future. After a devastating coup. You girls will serve the leaders of the faithful. Reporter: The new American regime is a theocracy that oppresses women in particular. They're not allowed to read or write or think for themselves. Fertile women are enslaved, forced to bear children for the ruling class, impregnated by rape, and ultimately forced to hand over their babies. Do you have a name? Angela. Reporter: It's as if the puritans borrowed a few ideas from the Taliban and developed their own uniquely American caliphate. I'm a handmaid. How do I boil it down? It's impossible. Can you Google it? Reporter: Margaret Atwood's novel, published in 1985, is a feminist classic. I've read that you see this as a work of speculative fiction. Speculative fiction, and specifically this planet could happen. We could do it. And with "The handmaid's tale," we could, because we have. Reporter: She says everything she imagined, as awful as it is, has real-life historical precedent. The punishment for their crime is death by stoning. Reporter: And that makes it especially eerie to walk around this place. This is the commander's study. It's kind of the man cave of the show. The handmaid's world, familiar but also quite foreign. Look at the labels here. On the olive oil jar. On these cans. No words at all. Just pictures. Last summer, the producers allowed "Nightline" to see the genesis of season 2 out in L.A. This is the writers' room, the screen writers tossing around ideas. I like the assistant getting killed. Martyr to the cause. Reporter: Most of the writers are women, as you'd expect for this show, but the creator and show runner is a man, Bruce Miller. The biggest danger to season 2 is being intimidated by season 1. And don't forget that we made season 1, too. It's not -- it's the same us. Reporter: For years Miller tried to get "The handmaid's tale" made. Last year's award season proved him right. And the Emmy goes to -- the handmaid's tale!" Reporter: It swept, winning two golden globes and eight emmys. Go home, get to work, we have a lot of things to fight for. Reporter: In the first season the writers had to adapt the novel. Now they're off-book. Atwood never wrote a sequel. I can't believe I get to know what happens after the end of that book. At least you know you're not going to be killed off very soon. I know. Reporter: The TV show debuted against the backdrop of Donald Trump's America. Thankfully we're not living in gilead yet. We're not living in gilead yet, but there are gilead-like symptoms going on. Reporter: The show is now so relevant, protesters have shown up as handmaids at women's marches. And last week's white house correspondents' dinner, there was even this joke at Sarah Sanders' expense. I have to say I'm a little starstruck. I love you as aunt Lydia in "The handmaid's tale." Do you think it would have resonated quite so much if Hillary Clinton had won? No. I do think it would have been a little more of, oh, this is definitely something that we missed the bullet. Exactly, narrowly missed it. Reporter: Even cast members are surprised at the show's impact. Actor Joseph fiennes. It hit the political zeitgeist in the way we look at men and women and sexuality and the lack of parity and the lack of distribution of power. Do you make all these things yourselves? Honey, we make at least 90%. Reporter: Ann Crabtree designs the costumes. This wall is everything from last season. Reporter: Among the costumes, hints about the new season. This is going to be an upcoming story. It's a faded color. I can tell you it's more faded than this color, which is a Serena joy color. Are you curious now? Very curious. You have to watch. Reporter: Crabtree also designed those iconic white bonnets. Want to try it? Can I? I think you have to. I have to put it on you because it's almost a sacred moment, brother. Are you ready? You go like this. You feel that? Reporter: I'll confess I'm not much of a handmaid. You feel completely blinkered. And the sound is different? And the sound is different. Reporter: Between takes those costumes tend to get covered up quickly. As soon as the cameras stop rolling, Canada goose jackets. This is Toronto, it's the dead of winter, it's cold. Canada is the land of freedom in this show. The cold wed area small price to pay? Yes. Small, small price. Possibly a big price. Reporter: "Nightline" tagged along with the show's crew as they scouted Toronto locations for episode 10. What's back there? Come, come. Reporter: The show is so intense, people have said it's impossible to binge watch. So when Elizabeth moss' character finally lets loose in the finale of season 1, she says what we're practically shouting at our TV sets at home. You are -- You crazy evil bitch! Don't get upset. It's not good for the baby. Reporter: For Yvonne strahovsky, that was an especially tough scene. I just want to give lizzy a hug and not do the thing that I have to do on camera. I find myself apologizing a lot in between takes. Do you? Yeah, sorry. You know, it's acting. It's not real. Reporter: Elizabeth moss says, as important as the message is, so is the story. Ultimately, we want to tell the story of our particular characters. We're not really trying to send a message, necessarily. We're just trying to hold up a mirror to society. Reporter: The handmaid's tale, season 2, on hulu.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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