Will Alias Grace be Netflix’s next female-driven success?

Courteney Tan

It appears that Margaret Atwood is having a moment. Following Hulu’s brilliant realisation of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, Netflix are bringing the Canadian author’s award-winning 1996 novel ‘Alias Grace’ to the small screen. (We’re hoping for an adaptation of ‘The Heart Goes Last’ next.)

The six-part series will tell the story of Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon), an Irish servant living in Canada who in 1843 was convicted of the murder of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. Marks’ calm, innocent demeanour was a major talking point at the time, causing many to question whether she was capable of such brutality.

Like the book, the show will incorporate a fictional narrative alongside these true events through the character of Simon Jordan (Edward Holcoft), a doctor who attempts to help Marks recollect the truth of what happened. Rounding out the cast are Anna Paquin as Nancy Montgomery, and David Cronenberg, the acclaimed director of The Fly and Videodrome, who is set to appear in the first episode in an undisclosed role.

Much of Atwood’s storytelling genius lies in her ability to combine historical events with a fictional world that feels all too real, and it will be fascinating to see what writer Sarah Polley and director Mary Harron will make of this thematically rich work.

Alias Grace is released on CBC on 25 September and on Netflix later in 2017.

Published 25 Jul 2017

Tags: David Cronenberg Margaret Atwood Sarah Gadon

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