Marks, who is played by Sarah Gadon (11.22.63), was a poor, young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in upper Canada. In 1843, she and the stable hand James McDermott (Kerr Logan) were convicted of the brutal murder of her employer, Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin). While McDermott was hanged, Marks was sentenced to life in prison, and became one of the most controversial and notorious women in 1840s Canada. Interestingly, she was exonerated after spending three decades in jail, leaving many to wonder if she really did have something to do with it, or if she was a mere accessory to the brutal crimes. Since Marks was first committed to an asylum before being incarcerated, there is also talk about potential mental illness.
It is clear the miniseries will add fuel to the questioning fire about Marks’ guilt, innocence, and mental state. During the one-minute teaser, Marks’ voiceover says: “I’d rather be a murderess than a murderer, if those were the only choices.”
Atwood’s novel looked at the facts of the case through the eyes of a fictional doctor trying to reconcile his perception of Marks as a seemingly innocent young woman with the brutal deeds with which she was being accused. So it is possible the series will follow this same strategy given that it’s based on Atwood’s approach.
Gadon has appeared in a number of movies and series in small and recurring roles but was most recently seen in Stephen King’s Hulu original miniseries 11.22.63, where she played James Franco’s love interest, Sadie. She is also best known for her starring role in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, opposite Robert Pattinson.
Alias Grace, which is set to debut on Netflix on November 3, is written and produced by Sarah Polley (Looking for Alaska, Take this Waltz, Away from Her) and directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol). The series, which is executive produced by Polley, Harron, and Noreen Halpern, is a co-production with Halfire Entertainment, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and Netflix.
This will mark yet another series based on a novel by the famous Canadian author: Hulu original The Handmaid’s Tale is based on the dystopian novel of the same name that was written by Atwood and released in 1985.
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