Filed in Alias Grace TV News & Reviews

THR ‘Alias Grace’ Review

Writer Sarah Polley, director Mary Harron and star Sarah Gadon deliver a twisty tale of murder and transgressive femininity in Netflix’s Margaret Atwood adaptation.
With its Margaret Atwood pedigree, concealing bonnets and backdrop of a society in which women are either decorative or chattel, there will be an instinct to compare Netflix and CBC’s miniseries Alias Grace to Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

It’s an instinct best avoided, because for all of the ways in which The Handmaid’s Tale is bombastic and incendiary, Alias Grace is internalized and simmering and harder to instantly mobilize around. Consistently literate, thoughtful and insinuating, the mini also boasts an intriguing and deliberately evasive lead performance by Sarah Gadon, work that again probably shouldn’t be compared to the juggernaut that is Elisabeth Moss’ Handmaid’s Tale work.

So from here on, there will be no more references to Handmaid’s Tale.

Written in its entirety by Sarah Polley and directed in its entirety by Mary Harron, the six-episode Alias Grace won’t air until Nov. 3 on Netflix, but had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and will launch on Sept. 25 on CBC. I’ve seen the entire miniseries.
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The wonder women behind Alias Grace’s TV adaptation
Filed in Alias Grace Gallery Updates Interviews

The wonder women behind Alias Grace’s TV adaptation

I meet Sarah Gadon at the Drake Hotel. The first thing I ask the Alias Grace star after we pick a table and order some snacks: “Have you Googled Grace Marks?”

She shoots me an amused “Well, duh” look. Of course she’s Googled the 19th-century Irish-Canadian maid convicted of murder, sparking fierce debate regarding her innocence and pardoned after being incarcerated for nearly three decades.

Google was the basic first step in Gadon’s extensive research on her Alias Grace character, which included reading and re-reading the Margaret Atwood novel that the miniseries is based on; learning how to perform tasks like cooking, cleaning and sewing in the exacting ways a 19th-century housemaid would have performed them; and practicing a Northern Irish accent to the point that it gave her migraines because the “tight-jawed” dialect worked muscles in ways most of us never have to.

Gadon spent many sleepless nights preparing for the role, and would sometimes have to go for a run just to sweat off the anxiety.

But what I meant was: Has she Googled Grace Marks recently?

Gadon whips out her phone and there at the top of the search is the Wikipedia entry for Marks, with an accompanying picture. But the image is not a likeness of a 19th-century Irish maid. Instead, it’s a glamour shot of Gadon with flowing platinum-blond curls.

As far as the Interweb is concerned, Gadon is now the face of Grace Marks, the historical figure consumed by the actor interpreting her in the 21st century. According to Gadon, Grace consumed her, too.

“This role has kind of taken over my life,” says Gadon, who wrapped post-production on the series just a month before our mid-July meeting.
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The Globe and Mail: Alias Sarah

The multi-faceted Sarah Gadon tells Randi Bergman how she tackled a uniquely complex role in the latest Margaret Atwood screen adaptation.

As a Canadian woman, it’s hard not to worship at the altar of Margaret Atwood. But lately, her pre-digital prose has felt like sustenance for a new generation of feminists persisting in a precarious era for women’s rights. Hulu’s television adaption of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has struck a chord, inspiring new dialogue and even protests with its dystopian depiction of womanhood under theocratic rule. The forthcoming Alias Grace, a CBC and Netflix miniseries based on Atwood’s novel of the same name, feels equally timely.

Alias Grace tells the story of a 19th-century maid, Grace Marks, who was convicted and then later pardoned for the double murder of her employer and his mistress. Through Atwood’s interpretation of real-life events, Marks becomes an enigmatic mix of murderer and metaphor for the female experience. Written and produced by Sarah Polley, the series represents a shift for the CBC, whose earlier portrayals of Canadian Victorian life (à la Polley’s pastoral debut in Road to Avonlea) could be considered reductive. Alias Grace, on the other hand, is more nuanced. Case-in-point, its protagonist’s plea in the opening episode: “I’d rather be a murderess than a murderer, if those are the only choices.”

The narrative of a complicated woman seems just what the world needs right now, and actor Sarah Gadon, who portrays Grace Marks in the six-part series that debuts on the CBC on Sept. 25, is ready for the challenge. I meet the 30-year-old on a discreet café patio in Toronto’s Summerhill neighbourhood on a summer Sunday afternoon. Fresh faced and with her hair pulled back, Gadon’s striking, Hollywood-ready beauty explains why she was plucked from relative obscurity to star in an Armani Beauty campaign in 2015. She’s magnetic, inquisitive and palpably excited about Alias Grace and, as she describes it, “the task of trying to crack Grace.”

“I got so wrapped up in whether she did [commit murder] or not and the various layers of preparation, that I’d wind myself up into this ball of anxiety that I would just need to go for a run,” she says of preparing for the role.
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Filed in Alias Grace TV News & Reviews

The Globe and Mail ‘Alias Grace’ Mini Review

Alias Grace

Sarah Polley’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel will get a full review when it airs on CBC and everyone can see it. A “CBC original,” and with involvement from Netflix – which will stream it in other markets – it arrives at a fortuitous time. However, the Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale is, for many people, the cultural event of 2017 and the impact of Alias Grace will likely pale in comparison. It’s a period piece, very 19th-century Canada and packed with familiar Canadian actors. What might make it truly impactful – and this is without reviewing its substance – is an audaciously seething performance by Sarah Gadon as the title character, Grace Marks. Grace is accused of murder and it’s Gadon’s job to convey the inner workings of her mind, which she does with power. You can’t take your eyes off her. Whatever else might be happening in the multihour miniseries, Gadon enters your head and stays there.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Filed in Alias Grace Gallery Updates

‘Alias Grace’ First Look

Netflix on Thursday released first-look photos from its upcoming miniseries Alias Grace, based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name. The six-part drama — which boasts an ensemble including Chuck‘s Zachary Levi (pictured above) and True Blood‘s Anna Paquin — centers around the controversial real-life conviction of Grace Marks (11.22.63‘s Sarah Gadon), an Irish immigrant who becomes a Canadian domestic servant and is later sentenced to prison for the murders of her employer and his housekeeper in 1843.

Alias Grace, a co-production with the CBC, is set to premiere in Canada on Monday, September 25. Netflix has yet to set a Stateside release, save to say that it will premiere outside of the Great White North sometime this fall.

Source: TVLine

Filed in Alias Grace TV News & Reviews

Sarah Gadon to Star in Netflix Series ‘Alias Grace’

Sarah Gadon is going from Hulu to Netflix.

The Canadian actress has been tapped to topline Netflix’s Margaret Atwood drama Alias Grace, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Gadon, who most recently co-starred opposite James Franco in Hulu’s Stephen King limited series 11.22.63, will play Grace Marks in the streaming giant’s adaptation of Atwood’s award-winning novel.

Published in 1996, 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 Marks was sentenced to life imprisonment. She 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 she was actually involved in the murder or merely an unwitting accessory.

The six-hour miniseries is inspired by Marks’ true story and will be written and produced by Sarah Polley (Looking for Alaska, Away From Her). Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol) will direct. Production is slated to begin in August in Ontario. Polley, Harron and Noreen Halpern (NBC’s Working the Engels) will exec produce; D.J. Carson (Spotlight) is on board as a co-EP. A premiere date has not been determined.

The Netflix adaptation, like Atwood’s novel, will introduce a fictional young doctor named Simon Jordan, who researches the case and falls in love with Marks. 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.

For Gadon, the role marks her first stateside starring TV vehicle. In addition to 11.22.63, her credits include feature Indignation. She’s repped by WME, Creative Drive Artists and Jackoway Tyerman.

Source: THR