f you’re watching “The Handmaid’s Tale,” you probably have a thing for Max Minghella. The 31-year-old actor has a starring role as Nick, the stone-faced, ever-brooding driver for Commander Waterford and his wife. Heading into the penultimate episode of season one, we’re still not totally sure we can trust him, but we’re OK with turning our female gaze on his Eye. His clandestine affair with handmaid Offred [Elisabeth Moss] offers a temporary relief from her daily hell as a prisoner of Gilead, at least, and the steamy scenes between the two provide “a nice reprieve,” as Minghella puts it, from the show’s otherwise traumatic subject matter — for both the viewers and the actors.
“It could almost be in a romance novel, those scenes,” Minghella says on the phone from L.A. He’s driving — just like Nick! — en route to a meeting for his next project: his directorial debut, “Teen Spirit,” a movie-musical from the musical producers of “La La Land” starring Elle Fanning, which is due out in 2018. “So much of what [Elisabeth Moss] has to do is so uncomfortable and disturbing. To then be able go into a scene where she’s flirting with the lawn boy, I think is nice, you know?” he says.
In his dry British accent, he describes the enigmatic Nick as “vulnerable” deep down, says he’s been a hopeless romantic since he was a teenager and that he’s endlessly fascinated with the female gender. Swoon.
Watching “Jezebels,” I wondered, maybe Nick is just a fuckboi? We learn that he slept with a cook at Jezebel’s. When he breaks it off with Offred, under the guise of, “Oh, it’s too dangerous,” it felt to me like, maybe his ego was wounded after seeing her cavorting with the commander.
[Laughs] He’s not a perfect person by any stretch of the imagination. That last scene, that exchange between June [aka, Offred] and Nick in the kitchen, when he says, “My name’s Nick Blaine, I’m from Michigan,” and she’s like…“Whatever.” [Laughs] I thought that was very funny. It’s a very male mistake to think that giving such a small nugget of information about yourself is somehow a gift. I thought it revealed some kind of naivete about male and female dynamics. Made me laugh, that scene, especially when I watched it back.