Netflix and Canadian public broadcaster CBC have picked up Alias Grace, a six hour miniseries, based on the Margaret Atwood novel, about convicted murderer Grace Marks, TVWise has learned.
“The opportunity to be involved with Alias Grace and world class storytellers was an opportunity we could not pass up,” said Elizabeth Bradley, Netflix’s Vice President of Content. “We are looking forward to working with our partners at Halfire Entertainment and CBC to bring this compelling miniseries to our worldwide audience.”
Alias Grace follows Grace Marks, a poor, young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada who, along with stable hand James McDermott, was convicted of the brutal murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery, in 1843. 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.
Both the screen adaptation and the Margaret Atwood novel on which the miniseries is based, introduce a fictional young doctor named Simon Jordan who researches the case and begins to fall in love with Grace. He soon becomes obsessed with her as he seeks to reconcile his perception of the mild-mannered woman he sees with the savage murder of which she has been convicted.
Sarah Polley, who Paramount picked to adapt of John Green’s Looking For Alaska before it got stuck in development hell, penned the six scripts for Alias Grace, which will be directed by American Psycho helmer Mary Harron. Hallfire Entertainment are producing, with Polley, Harron and Noreen Halpern serving as executive producers. Spotlight’s D.J. Carson will co-produce. Production gets underway this August in Ontartio. CBC will air the mini in Canada, while Netflix has taken global rights.
“I first read Alias Grace when I was 17 years old and throughout the last 20 years I have read it over and over, trying to get to the bottom of it,” said Polley. “Grace Marks, as captured by Margaret Atwood, is the most complex, riveting character I have ever read. I’m thrilled that Mary Harron has taken the project on. I know that her ability to create suspense, tension, and delve into the dark, unknowable aspects of her characters will bring this piece alive. I can’t wait for us to bring the many versions of Grace’s gripping story, and the questions they raise, to television audiences.”