In The Handmaid’s Tale, the 32-year-old plays Nick, a government spy and brooding love interest to Offred (Elisabeth Moss). Season one ended with (spoiler alert!) Offred being carted off to an uncertain fate. As a big, black van is about to drive her away, Nick opens the door and whispers to her, “Just go with it. Trust me.” So why, exactly, do we root for this guy again?
GLAMOUR: Last season ended on an ambiguous note. Can we really trust Nick?
MAX MINGHELLA: Yeah. I mean, I trust Nick. I stand by him! I don’t want to give anything away, but all the characters in this show are capable of doing good and bad things, which is one of the reasons it’s so compelling to watch. I think, at the root of Nick, he’s a good person. Whether he always does the right thing is a different question.
GLAMOUR: By virtue of his gender, he’s guilty until proven innocent. Thoughts?
MM: I mean, I feel all men are guilty until proven innocent, in general. Maybe that has to do with the fact that women have been subjugated for so long, or that men can be gross in a way women rarely are. Having been a man for 32 years, I’ve always had a very cynical view of my gender. I’m relieved the rest of the world is now sharing it.
GLAMOUR: The show does such a good job of showing how complicated sex can be. For example, women can still get pleasure from sex during trying times. Has the show impacted your own views about sex?
MM: I’m a big advocate of sex, and I actually like exploring it a lot! I often find myself shooting sex scenes on the show. I don’t find them to be super straightforward. We always try and make them complicated and as dense as a heavy dialogue scene. You know, there’s no reason for them to be exploitative. One of the things I thought was so fascinating when I first read this show, almost two years ago now, was that the sex in the show was often quite perverse and disturbing and multilayered, and I thought that that was a new and exciting way to approach that subject.
GLAMOUR: Nick is the strong silent type, which can be very appealing to many women. How are you in real life?
MM: I don’t think Nick and I are super far away from each other. I mean I do think again [our showrunner] Bruce is very clever about seeing who we are as individuals and finding ways to incorporate that into the characters, especially in season two. I think we all have um an essence, which is close to who we’re playing, which makes it a lot easier.
GLAMOUR: How has being someone who listens more and understands the power of silence served you in real life—in your dating life, in any other scenarios?
MM: I don’t know if it serves me at all. I think sometimes I wish I was much more charming than I am or better in a crowd. I often feel like I don’t know what to do in sort of a large group of people, so I think I’d like to be more fun. Nick and I could both use is a bit more lightness.
GLAMOUR: You’ve said that, growing up, you were concerned with being cool. Do you regret that?
MM: I never felt “present” in high school. I was always concerned with having as much fun as possible. And I definitely thought, That’s going to be easier to do if you’re hanging out with the right people. Like, the math club is probably going to less-good parties than the football team. I don’t think I was wrong. I had an amazing time.
GLAMOUR: What’s the biggest trouble you got yourself into back then?
MM: That’s a dangerous question! I think I did cause my parents endless anxiety. I started working when I was about 16. It’s very difficult to go back living under your parents’ roof when you’ve been living on your own, and that’s when I felt a lot of tension was, but I’m going to leave out specifics…
GLAMOUR: You’ve called yourself a pop-culture whore. Go on…
MM: It’s completely true. I’m obsessed with pop culture. I really am. I’m not, like, a great intellectual. I’m a Top 40 guy, I’m really into Riverdale. I love that it’s so clean and pop-y on the surface with something so sinister underneath.
GLAMOUR: We have to ask—your best friend, Jamie Bell, married your ex-girlfriend Kate Mara. How does that work?
MM: Nobody’s ever asked me about that. I will tell you this: It’s a beautiful part of my life. I see them every single morning, and Jamie’s son is my godson. I can understand why the optics might be very confusing, but it’s not a complicated thing for us.
The Handmaid’s Tale returns to Hulu on April 25th