From a media release:
Halfire Entertainment, CBC and Netflix announced that production will begin on Alias Grace, a six-hour miniseries inspired by the historical true story of convicted murderer Grace Marks and based on the award-winning novel by Margaret Atwood. The miniseries is being written and produced by Sarah Polley (Looking for Alaska, Take this Waltz, Away from Her) and will be directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol), with production scheduled to begin in Ontario in August 2016. Alias Grace will be broadcast in Canada on CBC and will stream everywhere globally on Netflix.
The story of Alias Grace follows Grace Marks, a poor, young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada who, along with stable hand James McDermott, was convicted of the brutal murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery, in 1843. James was hanged while Grace was sentenced to life imprisonment. Grace became one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of 1840s Canada for her supposed role in the sensational double murder, and was eventually exonerated after 30 years in jail. Her conviction was controversial, and sparked much debate about whether Grace was actually involved in the murder, or merely an unwitting accessory.
Both the screen adaptation and the Margaret Atwood novel on which the miniseries is based, introduce a fictional young doctor named Simon Jordan who researches the case and begins to fall in love with Grace. He soon becomes obsessed with her as he seeks to reconcile his perception of the mild-mannered woman he sees with the savage murder of which she has been convicted.
Alias Grace will be broadcast in Canada on CBC and stream globally on Netflix. Executive producers will be Sarah Polley, Mary Harron and Noreen Halpern (Aftermath, Working the Engels, Rookie Blue). Co-producing alongside Polley will be D.J. Carson (Spotlight). Polley was nominated for an adapted screenplay Academy Award for the 2006 drama Away from Her, which was adapted from the Alice Munro short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain.
Published in 1996, Alias Grace was awarded the Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Additional books by Atwood that have been adapted for film and television include The Handmaid’s Tale, Payback, The Robber Bride, The Sin Eater and Surfacing. Kids’ CBC recently greenlit an animated series based on Atwood’s children’s book The Wide World of Wandering Wenda.