Margaret Atwood adaptations are coming to streaming services in waves. Hulu previously announced a 10-episode series adaptation of her 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” starring Elisabeth Moss. This past June, Netflix and CBC greenlit a six-hour miniseries adaptation of her novel “Alias Grace,” written and produced by Sarah Polley (“Stories We Tell,” “The Last Waltz”) and directed by Mary Harron (“American Psycho”). Today, Netflix and CBC announce that the miniseries will star Oscar-winning actress Anna Paquin.
Based on factual events “Alias Grace” follows the 1843 murders of wealthy Thomas Kinnear and his housemaid and lover Nancy Montgomery (played by Paquin). They were supposedly killed by two servants: Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) a poor, young Irish immigrant and stable hand James McDermott. McDermott was ultimately hanged and Marks was sentenced to life in prison. There’s much controversy over whether Marks was instrumental in the murder or was simply an unwitting accessory.
“Anna is an incredibly versatile performer who always makes complex, unpredictable and fascinating choices in her work,” said Sarah Polley. “It’s always a marvel to watch her and we’re thrilled to have her join the cast.”
Paquin is best known for being the second-youngest winner of an Oscar at age 11 for her performance as Flora McGrath in Jane Campion’s “The Piano.” She’s also known for her role as Rogue in the “X-Men” franchise, Sookie Stackhouse in HBO’s “True Blood,” protagonist Lisa Cohen in Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret,” Mary in Spike Lee’s “25th Hour,” and Lili in Noah Baumbach’s “The Squid and the Whale.”
“Alias Grace” began shooting in Ontario on August 15th. The miniseries will be broadcast in Canada on CBC and globally – everywhere outside of Canada – on Netflix.