This is a passion project for Polley who wrote the script, produces and stars as convicted murderer Grace Marks.
“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.”
Mary Harron (American Psycho) directs. Shooting starts in Ontario, Canada in August. Might be a good time for yours truly to make a long thought about trip home.
In Canada Alias Grace will be broadcast on CBC while the rest of us can stream it on Netflix.
The low down on Margaret Atwood's 1996 novel:
In Alias Grace, bestselling author Margaret Atwood has written her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work since The Handmaid's Tale. She takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century.
Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.
Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?
It's been a long, long time since Polley—currently writing the screen adaptation of Looking for Alaska—has been in front of the camera. Although she was frequently on screen in her 2012 family documentary, the brilliant Stories We Tell, 2010's Trigger looks to be the last time she worked as an actress; have you read Alias Grace? Is Sarah Polley right for the part?