Tag Archives: Lucy Maud Montgomery

Moira Walley-Beckett looks for Canada’s next Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables may have been set in the 1900s, but she’s as popular as ever today. Want proof? How about the hundreds of girls who devoted sunny Saturday, May 7, to audition for the lead role in CBC’s upcoming eight-part first season of Anne?

Some wore costumes to look like Anne Shirley, a few even had red hair, most had their tresses done up to look like the energetic star of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novels. Prepped with two scenes to perform, the girls—who convened in a multi-use building in east Toronto—were auditioning for Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad), Anne‘s writer and executive producer, who’d flown in from Nunavut for the first stop in the cross-Canada audition tour. (The remaining dates on the tour are Charlottetown on May 28th and Halifax on May 29 and May 30; go to theannesearch.com for more details.)

We spoke to Walley-Beckett about what she’s looking for in a leading lady, what Season 1 of Anne will be about, and returning to her native Canada to film a TV show.

This is an iconic character in Canada and around the world. Are you feeling pressure, especially since the 1985 miniseries is so beloved?
Moira Walley-Beckett: I hope to meet those expectations and exceed them. If there wasn’t more to explore, I wouldn’t be doing it. Anne is a story that I cherish—I grew up with Anne—and there is The Annotated Anne of Green Gables which is a tome, a hardback book where they go through, page by page with footnotes, what everything refers to. It’s my bible. I want to honour the material and I feel an enormous amount of responsibility and pressure to do it right and to serve it.

I’m also really excited to explore some uncharted territory within the story by opening up what’s between the lines and exploring what’s intimated at a lot of times but isn’t actually on the page. Lucy Maud is an interesting writer. She writes glorious prose and vivid characters that leap off the page, but a lot of the things that happen in television don’t happen in the book. For example: Anne’s first day of school. In the book, we don’t go there; she just comes home and tells Marilla about it. I want to go to school. I want to be there. I want to see how she deals with all of these children the very first time and what they think of this stranger in town. That’s the stuff that gets me jazzed.

It’s my plan to make it feel relatable and fresh and when somebody sits down to watch it they say, ‘Oh my God, that happened to me today at school.’

What’s the layout of the series if it’s renewed?
These are the high school years. The second season would still be within the first book because the first book moves really fast and I want to take my time with it.

What are you looking for from the girls auditioning for the role?
I’m asking a lot of this young actress. I’m asking her to have virtuosity. She has a lot to do, and Anne the character is so mercurial. Her highs are high, her lows are low … she has an inability to self-edit, and that requires a lot of facility. I hope these girls invest, I hope they don’t stay outside the material. The ones that will excite me the most and spark me are the ones who have a real understanding of the character and what they’re saying. Other than that, I’m wide open and want to see who’s here.

What are some modern-day story angles that you can explore in Anne?
A lot of the issues in the books are issues kids are dealing with today. The struggle to belong, bullying and just what it means to navigate these hormonal, pubescent years and try to fit in while trying to figure out who you are at the same time. It’s my plan to make it feel relatable and fresh and when somebody sits down to watch it they say, ‘Oh my God, that happened to me today at school.’

How is the writing going? Are you done all eight scripts?
I am not all done writing. [Laughs.] For some inexplicable reason I decided to write all eight episodes myself. No, I’m really loving it. It’s funny, because when I was up in the Arctic shooting The Grizzlies, I had a little moment to myself to whip back to my room and busted Anne out and wrote a little scene in Episode 6. It was such a relief to go to Avonlea again.

Are you able to write anywhere?
I can write anywhere, but I don’t like to. [Laughs.] I can write on a plane or anywhere, except for a coffee shop. I like to write at home, in my environment, in my pyjamas.

Are you excited to film Anne in Canada?
I’m thrilled to be back. I’ve missed Canada. I’m from Vancouver and it’s refreshing. The feeling of coming home is palpable and it’s really nice. There is a whole different vibe here that I’ve missed.

Anne goes into production this summer.


Northwood Entertainment embarks on worldwide search for CBC’s Anne

From a media release:

Northwood Entertainment has begun a worldwide search to find its leading actress for the title role in the new, ongoing television series “ANNE.” Based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s timeless classic novel Anne of Green Gables, Northwood recently announced that CBC greenlit “ANNE” with a Season One commitment of eight episodes of the adaptation. Production begins summer 2016.

The adaptation is being written solely by Emmy-award winning writer Moira Walley-Beckett (BREAKING BAD, FLESH AND BONE) who will Executive Produce with Miranda de Pencier (BEGINNERS) of Northwood Entertainment.

The professional search is underway for the casting of “ANNE” with auditions in Canada, the U.S. and Europe by award-winning casting agents Susie Figgis (HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, ALICE IN WONDERLAND), Bernard Telsey & Co. (HAMILTON, INTO THE WOODS, GREASE LIVE!) and Stephanie Gorin (FARGO TV SERIES, DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION).

Beginning May 7 through to May 30, the “The Anne Search” will travel across Canada conducting open casting calls in Toronto (May 7th and May 8th), Vancouver (May 14th and May 15th), Charlottetown (May 28th), and Halifax (May 29th and May 30th).

Anyone can be ANNE! If you’re an 11-14 year old girl simply SIGN UP or SHOW UP! For those enthusiasts who may want to audition and do not have a talent agent or don’t live in the cities holding open casting calls, Northwood Entertainment has created a website to upload auditions to.

Starting today, fans can go to www.theannesearch.com for more information on the new series, how to submit an audition and more information on Canada’s open casting calls.

While the new series will follow a similar storyline to the book, set in 1900’s PEI, that millions of readers around the world know and love, ANNE will also chart new territory. Anne and the rest of the characters will experience new adventures reflecting timeless issues including themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.



Lucy Maud Montgomery drops by Murdoch Mysteries

If George Crabtree had had his way, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved novel would have been called Dan of Green Gables.

Monday’s rollicking MM episode, “Unlucky in Love,” had a lot going on in it, what with a murdered husband, his bride among those accused in his death and Roland the cutest baby in primetime TV. Add to that a visit by Lucy Maud Montgomery and Lori Spring’s script was totally packed. In some ways that’s too bad, as seasoned actors like Leslie Hope and Mag Ruffman had to make due with limited screen time because of the massive LMM-George Crabtree B-story. An embarrassment of riches, I guess.

The latest real-life character to make their way into the lives of Murdoch Mysteries was none other than Lucy Maud Montgomery (Alison Louder), who signed up for George’s creative writing class because she’d just begun putting pen to paper on the life of a red-haired, freckle-faced girl. Trouble was, George didn’t think her story was exciting enough—or that it should even be a girl in the lead role. His suggestion that she make it Dan of Green Gables—and amp up the drama by inserting ghosts into the story—was enjoyable enough, but alleging LMM reworked the character to reflect George’s foundling background and “flights of fancy” imagination was just too good. (Did anyone else cheer when George got his smooch on with her?) It was, therefore, a wise decision by the producers to include a disclaimer the storyline was all in good fun and George didn’t really influence Maud’s tale because, well, he’s not a real guy. (As an aside, Anne of Green Gables is top of mind lately, what with YTV’s upcoming TV movie and CBC’s own Anne project in the works.)

Alas, despite Arwen Humphreys fans tweeting #MargaretMonday over the weekend, we were left with a bare few minutes of Toronto’s newest wedding planner. It’s always great to see Brackenreid’s spunky better half verbally sparring, but it all came to an end far too quickly. The lineup of potential suspects in the groom’s murder—the driver, the florist or the electrician—and eventual mastermind of the whole thing quickly pushed Margaret to the wayside. Fingers crossed she’s got more scenes coming before the end of the season.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.


YTV Introduces Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables in World Premiere Event

From a media release:

YTV presents the world premiere of Canada’s most beloved red-head in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables on Monday, February 15 at 6 p.m. ET/PT in a two-hour special, television event. The much anticipated original movie was filmed in Canada and stars acclaimed actor Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert, 13-year old newcomer Ella Ballentine as Anne Shirley and Canadian actress Sara Botsford as Marilla Cuthbert.

True to the beloved tale that has enchanted fans for over a century, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is the story of Anne Shirley, a fiercely imaginative little girl who touches the lives of everyone she meets. Taken from an orphanage to help with the household of an older couple, Anne becomes the charge of strait-laced Marilla Cuthbert and her shy brother Matthew Cuthbert. Though Marilla is determined to bring discipline to the irrepressible Anne, neither has any idea as to the profound impact they will soon have on each other’s lives.

YTV welcomes Tourism Prince Edward Island as the presenting sponsor of this world television premiere with sponsor billboards, custom travel vignettes and a contest created in partnership with Corus. Tourism Prince Edward Island will also be featured in YTV’s Big Fun Movies leading up to the broadcast premiere. The integration will feature Canadian families talking about the fun, adventure and kindred spirits that await them on Prince Edward Island.

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is produced by Breakthrough Entertainment in association with the author’s granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler who served as Executive Producer. The film was directed by John Kent Harrison (The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler) and was based on the original script by Susan Coyne (Slings and Arrows, Best Laid Plans). 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.