Hot on the heels of the Emmy winning Margaret Atwood adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale comes the Netflix Original series Alias Grace.
A historical novel published by Atwood in 1996 it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Now adapted for the small screen for the first time, take a look at what you can expect from this compelling new Netflix Original series.
Who was Grace Marks?
Grace Marks was an Irish Canadian immigrant who was found guilty of murdering two people in 1843.
Alias Grace is about the real life historical 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in Upper Canada. Thomas and Nancy were believed to be lovers, and Nancy was found to be pregnant during her autopsy.
The case was a highly controversial one, sparking public debate on whether Grace played a deliberate or unwitting role in the murders. She was also just 15-year-old, a naïve recent Irish immigrant and reported as being remarkably pretty.
Although Grace's story caused much media hoopla in Canada and America at the time, Grace Marks story was all but forgotten until 1996 when award winning and widely celebrated Canadian author Margaret Atwood published Alias Grace.
What is Alias Grace about?
Alias Grace is a historical fictional portrayal of Grace Marks experience during and after her 1843 trial of the murders of her employer Thomas Kinnear and manager housekeeper Nancy Montgomery.
Grace befriends the household’s stable hand, fellow Irish immigrant James McDermott but is shown to being treated poorly by both Thomas and Nancy.
When Thomas and Nancy are discovered murdered, all hands point to Grace and James as the culprits.
The shocking arrest and aftermath that ensues for Grace is then carefully followed, which Atwood told CBC analyses the way in which females accused of crimes were treated back then – and how this greatly differed from their male counterparts:
"In murders in which there are a man and a woman involved, public opinion usually goes in the following fashion: everybody is agreed on the man but opinion is usually split about the woman. One side: 'She instigated it all. She's the female demon.' The other side: 'She is an innocent victim coerced by force, circumstance and fear'," Atwood said to CBC. "That's how it split on Karla and it was certainly how it spilt on Grace."
Her memory is unreliable and confusing, forcing viewers onto the edge of their seats wondering the extent at which she was involved in these shocking murders – if at all. An incredibly intriguing and indeed exciting watch, Alias Grace has already received rave reviews from critics.
Who stars in it?
The Alias Grace cast includes:
Sarah Gadon (Grace Marks)
Sarah Gadon plays the lead character Grace Marks in her early 30s.
Sarah is a 30-year-old Canadian actress from Toronto. Sarah played the Queen as Princess Elizabeth in 2015’s feature film A Royal Night Out and other film credits include appearing in The Girl King, Indignation, Dracula Untold and The Mazing Spider-Man 2.
Sarah’s television credits include roles in The Dating Guy, World Without End, Men Seeking Woman, Being Erica and Flashpoint.
Anna Paquin (Nancy Montgomery)
Anna Paquin plays Nancy Montgomery, Grace Marks’ boss and housekeeper to fellow murder victim wealthy Thomas Kinnear.
Anna Paquin is 35-years-old, Canadian but New-Zealand born and made her acting debut aged just 11 in the Oscar winning 1993 film The Piano. For this she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the second-youngest Oscar winner of all time.
Anna’s had a mainstream acting career ever since, having starred in many major movies and television series. She’s appeared in movies such as Scream 4, The Romantics, Margaret, Free Ride and The Good Dinosaur.
Telly roles have included starring in True Blood from 2008-2014, 2013’s series Susanna and History’s 2016 reboot of Roots.
Edward Holcroft (Dr. Simon Jordan)
Edward Holcroft plays Dr. Simon Jordan, Atwood’s fictional psychiatrist who is set on uncovering the truth behind the murders.
Edward is a 30-year-old British actor who is particularly well known for appearing in both Kingsman: The Secret Service and its sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle. In addition to Alias Grace, Edward’s also appeared in the television series Gunpowder, London Spy and Wolf Hall.
Paul Gross (Thomas Kinnear)
Paul Gross is 58-years-old, Canadian and is known as an actor, producer, screenwriter and composer. In Alias Grace Paul plays Thomas Kinnear, murder victim and employer to both Grace Marks and James McDermott.
Additional television credits include Burnt Toast, Hockey: A People’s History, The Trojan Horse, Eastwick and Men with Brooms.
Kerr Logan (James McDermott)
Kerr Logan is a British actor from Northern Ireland and plays James McDermott.
Kerr has also appeared in the television series Strike, My Mother and Other Strangers, London Irish, Game of Thrones and 6Degrees.
When is it out?
This six-part Netflix Original Series is available to stream on Netflix now.
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