Tag Archives: Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables given fresh new life in CBC’s Anne

It took me just 40 seconds into the first episode of CBC’s Anne—debuting Sunday at 8 p.m.—to realize this iteration of the Anne of Green Gables story was going to be different.

A sweeping shot of Matthew Cuthbert (R.H. Thomson) riding a thundering horse in the surf and a train whistle echoing in the distance immediately cut to the opening credits. The credits themselves are noteworthy, with Anne Shirley’s sayings scrawled into arty, enhanced tree limbs as The Tragically Hip’s “Ahead by a Century” plays. L.M. Montgomery’s iconic heroine is indeed over 100 years old, but hasn’t showed her age. Or her importance.

R.H. Thomson as Matthew Cuthbert

“What didn’t exist was an ongoing series where we got to spend more time with Anne,” says executive producer Miranda de Pencier. “The way the British repatriate their classics for new generations, we wanted to make our own version of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables that felt relevant to today.”

“It feels like this is the perfect moment in time to re-explore and re-examine Anne for today,” says fellow executive producer, writer and showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett. “There are such desperate issues right now, of gender parity, women’s rights—not to mention the issues that are inherent in the book of prejudice and bullying—what does it mean to be from away? To be an outsider and unaccepted? These were all issues that we thought were incredibly timely.”

Sunday’s two-hour debut is stunning visually. A cherry tree is a riot of colour against a pine forest as Anne sits outside the train station waiting for Matthew to pick her up. Waves crash against ruddy red cliffs. Big skies abound.

Geraldine James as Marilla Cuthbert

The performances are stellar too. Amybeth McNulty, of course, does most of the heavy lifting as Anne and doesn’t look out of place next to Geraldine James’ Marilla Cuthbert or Thomson’s Matthew. Anne is the creative and imaginative girl generations recognize, but Walley-Beckett’s script gives her an edge: flashbacks to abuse at the Hammonds are stark and scary. Thomson’s take on Matthew is a good one. Like the books, he’s reserved and quiet (Martin Sheen’s portrayal in the YTV TV-movies is decidedly more chatty.), and stooped shoulders make the lanky actor appear shorter than he really is. Other cast include Dalila Bela as Anne’s best bud, Diana Barry; Corrine Koslo as resident snoop Rachel Lynde; Aymeric Jett Montaz as farmhand Jerry Maynard; and Lucas Jade Zumann as Gilbert Blythe.

McNulty is simply charming in the lead role, able to exude enthusiasm, intelligence and a healthy dose of moxie without being annoying. You can’t help but smile when she utters a soliloquy that leaves Matthew nonplussed and Marilla shaking her head.

“Amybeth is fiercely bright and independent, spirited and incredibly sensitive and also has a worldly perspective, which is something we touch on again and again in Anne,” Walley-Beckett says. “She was it.”

See if you agree on Sunday.

Anne airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.


Links: Anne of Green Gables

From Victoria Ahearn of The Canadian Press:

Link: Martin Sheen on relating to ‘Anne of Green Gables’
Martin Sheen has a great affinity for the classic Canadian story of “Anne of Green Gables” and his introverted character, Matthew Cuthbert.

The Golden Globe-winning star of “The West Wing” is reprising the role of the adoptive father of Anne Shirley in YTV’s “L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars,” debuting Monday. Continue reading.

From Chris Jancelewicz of Global News:

Link: Anne of Green Gables TV movie back for Part 2, and Anne has grown up
Canadians can head back to Green Gables before February is finished.

In L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars (Part 2 of a three-part TV movie), the beloved Anne Shirley (Ella Ballentine) turns 13 and faces a host of new milestones: first sleepovers, culinary misadventures, and shifting relationships with her “bosom” friend Diana and academic rival/love interest Gilbert Blythe. Continue reading.


Anne of Green Gables grows up in The Good Stars

Visiting the set of YTV’s L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars is, literally, a step back in time. Minutes from the busy highway 401 just west of Toronto is Country Heritage Park, an 185-year step back in time thanks to 80 acres of historic buildings and exhibits. It’s easy to imagine what life was like back then as you walk over creaky wooden floors, fighting off the chill of a late-fall downpour.

The torrent of water didn’t dampen the spirits of Ella Ballentine, Sara Botsford or Martin Sheen. On the contrary, the trio—who play orphan Anne Shirley and sister and brother Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert—was thrilled to be given the chance to complete the story begun last February in Anne of Green Gables. Airing Monday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. ET/PT on YTV, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars, advances is the second instalment of three (Fire & Dew airs July 1) bringing the first novel in Montgomery’s Anne tales to the small screen.

“It’s fun. It’s sentimental,” Ballentine says of returning to film. “When we first came back it was kind of weird, but I was happy because it meant the fans liked it. I hope this one is good too and that everybody likes it.” Written and directed by John Kent Harrison, The Good Stars marks many milestones in Anne Shirley’s life while showcasing the carrot-topped character’s zest and unrelenting imagination. A sleepover at Diana Barry’s (Julia Lalonde) is fraught with ghosts, making toffee turns into a smoky affair and her ongoing battle of wits with Gilbert Blythe (Drew Haytaoglu) is downright comical.

“The first one was really sweet,” Botsford says. “They’re such rich characters; they are all well-drawn. Particularly for a female character of a certain age, it’s great to have a complex role to sink your teeth into. They don’t come along that often. The girls are all still pigtails and very young. It’s fun to go through these phases of their lives.”

“What we learn by the end of the first movie is really just the beginning of the story,” says executive producer Kate Macdonald Butler, real-life granddaughter of Montgomery. “We were really excited that two more movies were ordered. Now we get to tell the story from the entire first book.”

Martin Sheen and Sara Botsford as Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert

The Good Stars has plenty of heart and sensitivity to contrast the humour. A hunt for puffballs with Matthew turns into a scary adventure for Anne, who gets a hint of the mortality to come. And though Anne only had time for Diana, she learns to get along with and accept Gilbert after an experience in the classroom with Mr. Phillips (Kyle Gatehouse).

Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, but its themes have never gone out of style or been more important.

Anne of Green Gables is all about belonging,” Butler says. “She never really fits in anywhere in the years before she comes to Green Gables. When she comes to Avonlea and Green Gables, it’s all about belonging.”

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars airs Monday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. ET/PT on YTV.

Images courtesy of Corus.


YTV announces world premiere dates for next two films in its L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables trilogy

From a media release:

Following the 2016 debut of YTV’s L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables film, nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards this year, YTV announced today the world premiere dates for The Good Stars and Fire & Dew, the second and third installments in its film series, respectively. From birthdays to baking to boys, Anne Shirley tries to navigate the ups and downs of adolescence in the second film, The Good Stars, premiering on Family Day, Monday, February 20 at 6 p.m. ET/PT. Anne’s next adventure takes her to Charlottetown in YTV’s final chapter of this classic Canadian tale, Fire & Dew, bowing on Canada’s 150th Birthday, Saturday, July 1.

In partnership with Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc. and Executive Produced by L.M. Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, YTV is proud to share its authentic re-telling of this iconic Canadian tale with audiences of all ages. Shot entirely in Canada, the film series features an all-star cast in reprising roles including series star, Ella Ballentine (Anne Shirley), critically acclaimed actor, Martin Sheen, (Matthew Cuthbert), and legendary Canadian actress, Sara Botsford (Marilla Cuthbert). Botsford was recently nominated by the Canadian Screen Awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Limited Series for her portrayal of Marilla Cuthbert in the first film. 

In L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars, beloved Anne Shirley turns thirteen and faces a host of new milestones: first sleepovers, culinary misadventures, and shifting relationships with her bosom friend Diana and academic rival Gilbert Blythe. Through all this, Anne strives to strike a balance between becoming an upstanding, sensible young woman, and embracing her inquisitive and free-spirited nature. Premieres Family Day, Monday, February 20 at 6 p.m. ET/PT. Watch YTV’s new trailer for The Good Stars and catch up on the first film Monday, February 20 at 4 p.m. ET/PT or watch it on ytv.com and the YTVGo App starting today.

In L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew, Anne heads to Charlottetown to attend accelerated classes as she continues to work towards her dream of being a school teacher. While there, she is forced to adapt quickly to her new surroundings and classmates as she navigates her way through her first school experience outside of her beloved Green Gables. Anne finds herself facing daunting choices for her future, the stirrings of romance, and tragedy unlike anything she’s ever known. Meanwhile, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert contend with advancing age as they deal with financial challenges and the first signs of declining health. As a special Canada Day celebration, YTV is hosting a marathon of the L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables films concluding with the premiere of Fire & Dew on Saturday, July 1.

Originally published in 1908 by Lucy Maud Montgomery, the tale of Anne Shirley and her adventures in Green Gables span over 8 novels and has reached readers in over 25 languages.

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables film series is produced by Breakthrough Entertainment in association with L. M. Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler who served as Executive Producer. Award-winning director John Kent Harrison, who also wrote The Good Stars returns, as well as Susan Coyne who wrote Fire & Dew. Additional cast includes Julia Lalonde and Drew Haytaoglu who star in reprising roles.