×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Nabs Sarah Polley Miniseries Based on Margaret Atwood True-Crime Novel

Netflix will soon be adding a historical true-crime drama to its queue.

The streaming service is teaming up with Halfire Entertainment and Canadian broadcaster CBC on the six-hour miniseries “Alias Grace,” based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name about convicted murderer Grace Marks.

The series is being written and produced by Sarah Polley (“Away From Her”), and directed by Mary Harron (“American Psycho”). “Alias Grace” will be broadcast in Canada on CBC and will stream globally on Netflix.

“Alias Grace” follows Grace Marks, a poor Irish immigrant and domestic servant living in Canada who, along with stable hand James McDermott, was convicted in 1843 of the murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. James was hanged while Grace was sentenced to life in prison. Marks became one of the most notorious women of 1840s Canada for her alleged role in the double murder, and was eventually exonerated after 30 years in jail.

“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,” Polley said. “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.”

Published in 1996, “Alias Grace” was awarded the Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Payback,” “The Robber Bride,” “The Sin Eater” and “Surfacing” are among Atwood’s other novels that have been adapted for film and TV. Kids’ CBC recently greenlit an animated series based on Atwood’s children’s book “The Wide World of Wandering Wenda.”

Sarah Polley has done a brilliant adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic novel, which combines the richness of period drama with the tension and mystery of a modern day ‘Serial,'” Harron said. “It is an honour to be chosen to take this captivating story to the screen and to give new audiences the thrill of watching it unfold.”

Polley, Harron and Noreen Halpern will executive produce, while D.J. Carson co-produces.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Tony Ayres - International Live Action

    Netflix Boards Tony Ayres' Tech Thriller 'Clickbait'

    Top Australian film and TV creator, Tony Ayres, “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman and Christian White have set up “Clickbait,” a new thriller series for Netflix. It probes probing the dangers of social media and the widening gulf between people’s real and virtual selves. The show is to be produced in Melbourne, Australia through NBC [...]

  • MINDHUNTER

    Netflix's Podcast Slate 'Deepens' Space Around Original Content, Programmers Say

    It should come as no surprise that, in its quest to become a full-blown entertainment ecosystem, Netflix has built a roster of podcast programming to complement its scores or original series and films. The programs recruit top talent and hosts to hang out and talk about the streaming giant’s TV and film content. It’s a [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Is Testing Human-Curated 'Collections'

    Netflix, a company powered by the strategic use of data, relies on artificial intelligence to suggest new content that its streaming customers are likely to be interested in. Now it’s looking to potentially add a human touch: The company has launched a limited-scale test of “Collections,” a new feature that presents groups of movies and [...]

  • wolves in the walls emmy

    Neil Gaiman VR Experience 'Wolves in the Walls' Wins Primetime Emmy

    “Wolves in the Walls,” the virtual reality (VR) experience based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same name, has been awarded with a Primetime Emmy for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The experience has been produced by San Francisco-based immersive entertainment startup Fable, which puts a big effort on making the viewer a participating [...]

  • The Void San Francisco

    The Void Teams Up With Sony Pictures for New Location-Based VR Experience

    James Murdoch-backed virtual reality (VR) startup The Void has teamed up with Sony Pictures Virtual reality to produce a new location-based VR experience, according to Curtis Hickman, the startup’s chief creative officer. Hickman revealed the partnership in a conversation with Variety this week, during which he also outlined plans to bring more original IP to [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • Former head of CAA China Peter

    Peter Loehr to Spearhead Asia Expansion of Genies Avatar Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Peter Loehr, the former head of CAA in China, and seasoned music executive John Possman have been tapped by digital avatar company Genies to lead its expansion into Asia. The company’s proprietary avatar technology allows users to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a different way from text, audio and video. Within the app and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content