Martin Sheen to star in new Anne of Green Gables TV movie

From a media release:

Breakthrough Entertainment announced today that renowned actor Martin Sheen will play the role of Matthew Cuthbert in the highly anticipated original television movie Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, to debut on Corus Entertainment’s YTV in early 2016. Sheen will portray the shy brother of straight-laced Marilla Cuthbert in the two-hour movie. Together the brother and sister who live in the P.E.I. estate Green Gables, take in young Anne Shirley from an orphanage to serve in their household – and forge a bond that will change their lives forever.

Now in production in several locations throughout Canada, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, based on the classic Anne series of novels, is beautifully reimagined by Breakthrough in association with the author’s granddaughter, Kate MacDonald Butler who serves as an Executive Producer. The movie is directed by John Kent Harrison based on a script by Susan Coyne.

Taking the starring role of Anne Shirley is 13-year-old actress Ella Ballentine (Baby’s First Christmas, The Calling, Standoff, Reign) and playing Marilla will be Sara Botsford (E.N.G., As the World Turns, Trudeau). Additional cast includes Julia Lalonde, Kate Honig, Stefani Kimber, Drew Haytaoglu, Kyle Gatehouse and Linda Kash.

First published in 1908, Anne of Green Gables remains an iconic work of Canadian literature, which has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. The eight classic Anne of Green Gables novels set in P.E.I. have attracted generations of readers inspired by the adventures of the spirited redhead Anne Shirley, who comes to stay at Green Gables and wins the hearts of everyone she meets.

About Breakthrough Entertainment:  Headquartered in Toronto, Breakthrough Entertainment Inc. (BEI) is a world class studio, being a leading global producer and distributor of acclaimed primetime comedy and drama series, as well as factual entertainment, documentaries, television movies, feature films, family entertainment and children’s animation. As one of Canada’s largest television production and distribution companies, BEI has licensed programs to major broadcasters worldwide.  A vertically-integrated entertainment studio, Breakthrough is involved in worldwide distribution as well as pre-sales, co-productions and third-party acquisitions.  In addition, Breakthrough’s digital media division ranks among one of the industry’s most respected producers of high quality digital entertainment including ebooks, webisodes and online and mobile games.



11 thoughts on “Martin Sheen to star in new Anne of Green Gables TV movie”

  1. Sigh…I hate most remakes and the original was so good I don’t think I can even give this new version a chance, especially with Martin Sheen (insert weird-faced emoticon here). Couldn’t they have done one of the later 3 Anne books with her children or something? The final 3 books in that series that would be perfect for a YTV adaptation: Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside. It would be much better that recycling an already done story.

    1. I completely agree. This series should have been left alone and the movies could have expanded on Anne’s later life. It’s too early to do remakes of this movie when it has already been done and was done very well. There’s no reason why kids of today cannot enjoy what was already made.

      1. I think Rilla of Ingleside in particular would have made a great movie or miniseries. The themes in the book, set during World War I, would have been great to explore in a television adaptation, plus Anne and Gilbert would still be in the story. I actually liked Rilla of Ingleside better than the other Anne books. Oh well, I don’t see this new Anne movie doing that well.

      2. I don’t see a compelling reason for a remake either but playing devil’s advocate: it’s been 30 years since the Kevin Sullivan production, which itself was less than 15 years from the previous TV adaptation. Problem of course is that Canadians of a certain age think very highly of that adaptation, which is no longer easily available. The TV rights became available again recently so … yeah. I will watch, but I’ll be hoping the mini-series pops up on Netflix sometime soon.

        1. Wow, I never realized it was that old of a series (I just looked at imdb and saw it debuted in 1985). I had thought it debuted in the early 90s but I guess that was just because it re-aired and my generation was introduced to it then. Actually, I remember quite clearly that I watched the Anne of Green Gables series and that segued into the Road to Avonlea tv series which imdb just told be debuted in 1990. It also has aired a few times since then so it’s still fresh in a lot of peoples’ minds.

          1. Likely not the YTV generation’s minds, though. But I’m really not trying to argue people have been waiting for a remake. Just that the books have been remade quite regularly over the decades and the producers obviously think there’s a new audience for it, and it will likely pop up elsewhere as they license it to other broadcasters/streaming services. I only hope the 85 miniseries shows up somewhere too.

          2. Let me be the first to say that I have in fact been waiting for a new remake. I was never entirely satisfied with the 85 version because it didn’t seem to realise that Anne is not Jo March and Gilbert is not Laurie. It felt like many of the things I most enjoyed in the books got lost in translation. The sequel was worse for that (completely gutted the best parts of Windy Poplars and Anne of the Island, and replaced them with things that felt different and wrong), but I felt it in the original as well. I am interested to see whether the new version will strike a note I like better. That said, it sounds like it might be taking a darker tone, which isn’t exactly what I want from Green Gables either.

          3. The sequel was awful because not only did it mess with the time period, but it didn’t follow the other books. But the original was still great. And who is Jo March and Laurie?

          4. Compare Gilbert’s first proposal to Anne to Laurie’s proposal to Jo in Little Women. The part where Anne says that they would fight? Not in the book; in Little Women. And there’s a scene where Gilbert catches Anne coming from the post office with a rejected manuscript, and teases her about it as a secret. That scene doesn’t exist in the book either (Anne freely discusses her story mainly with Diana, and tells Gilbert she will let him read it if it’s published), but there’s an almost identical one in the Little Women movie (at least the June Allyson version; not sure how it goes for Winona Ryder) and it’s the bicycle that seems to clinch the copying.
            Kevin Sullivan’s shameless copying from Little Women aside, I also resented the way he magnified out of all proportion the idea that Anne was romantically jealous of Gilbert spending time with Josie Pye (to the point of having Gilbert present at the ridgepole incident), and the occasions where Gilbert deliberately humiliated Anne (refusing to acknowledge her at a dance).
            Maybe it’s too much to hope that the new version will come closer to my vision of the book, but for now I can at least hope.

  2. I was looking forward to it seeing as Lucie’s great granddaughter is exec producer.

    But I’ve changed my mind now I know Martin Sheen is co-starring.

    really really really really OBJECT to that.

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