Netflix has announced that Anna Paquin will star in their upcoming Alias Grace miniseries. This will be a screen adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name. Atwood’s novel is based on a true story.
Anna Paquin, who is known best for her roles in The Piano and as Sookie Stackhouse in HBO’s True Blood series, will take on the role of Nancy Montgomery. The main character, Grace Marks, will be portrayed by Sarah Gadon.
Alias Grace follows the true story of Grace Marks, a “poor, young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada,” according to Variety. Grace befriends Nancy Montgomery (played by Paquin), the housekeeper and lover of Thomas Kinnear. At first, they are friends, but when Kinnear starts paying more attention to Grace Marks, their friendship is strained to the point where Grace is eventually fired in 1843 by Montgomery. Later, Kinnear and Montgomery are found brutally murdered and Marks, along with stable hand James McDermott, is convicted of their murders.
While James McDermott was hanged for his crimes, Grace Marks was sentenced to life imprisonment. According to the synopsis by Netflix, Marks went on to become one of Canada’s most notorious women in the 1840s.
“James was hanged while Grace was sentenced to life imprisonment. Grace became one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of 1840s Canada for her supposed role in the sensational double murder, and was eventually exonerated after 30 years in jail. Her conviction was controversial, and sparked much debate about whether Grace was actually involved in the murder, or merely an unwitting accessory.”
Alias Grace will be a collaboration between Halfire Entertainment, CBC, and Netflix. The six-hour miniseries is written and produced by Sarah Polley (Take This Waltz, Away from Her) and directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol). According to the press release by Netflix, Alias Grace will begin shooting in Ontario on August 15, 2016. Alias Grace will be broadcast in Canada on CBC and globally – everywhere outside of Canada – on Netflix.
Sarah Polley is excited to have Anna Paquin on board for Alias Grace.
“Anna is an incredibly versatile performer who always makes complex, unpredictable and fascinating choices in her work,” she said. “It’s always a marvel to watch her and we’re thrilled to have her join the cast.”
As Deadline pointed out, Anna Paquin recently starred in A+E Networks’ remake of Roots. She is also known in the Marvel universe as Rogue in several of the X-Men movies. Anna Paquin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1982, to a Canadian father and New Zealand-born mother. Anna moved, with her family, to New Zealand when she was only 4. She had no previous acting experience when she auditioned for The Piano at age 9. This role was to earn her an Oscar.
The Hollywood Reporter has also announced that Zachary Levi has joined the cast of Alias Grace. His role has not been revealed yet. While he could be playing the role of Kinnear or even the stable hand, there is another character he could also play. THR has confirmed that the TV series — like Atwood’s book — will “introduce a fictional young doctor named Simon Jordan who researches the case and falls in love with Marks.” Jordan becomes obsessed with Grace and is determined to exonerate her. Considering IMDb has Levi listed as starring in all six episodes of Alias Grace, it seems plausible he could play this role.
As yet, it has not been reported when Alias Grace will air on Netflix. Alias Grace is co-commissioned by CBC and Netflix, produced by Halfire Entertainment, and created by Sarah Polley. The executive producers are Sarah Polley, Mary Harron, and Noreen Halpern. Producing alongside Polley is D.J. Carson.
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