Netflix’s ‘Alias Grace’ was premiered on Friday, delivering a new thrilling story depicting women. The miniseries is the latest adaptation of a Margaret Atwood’s novel to hit the small screen.
Atwood’s ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ premiered on Hulu earlier this year, setting a frenzy on the web. The new series continues the trend of portraying women’s through history.
Margaret Atwood landed on Netflix
Atwood found the inspiration from a real story surrounding Grace Marks, a 19th-century Irish immigrant servant accused of brutally murdering the master of her household and his mistress, a fellow housekeeper, with the help of a stablehand.
The series catches up with Grace, who was incarcerated for 15 years when suddenly a charitable organization takes interest in procuring her pardon.
In order to do so, the organization employs a doctor to examine her and help prove innocence.
The series is framed by their interviews in flashbacks taking viewers back to the murders.
‘Alias Grace’ was created by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Herron, whose credits include ‘American Psycho.’
Its six episodes feature Sarah Gadon, Anna Paquin, Paul Gross, Zachary Levi.
The real-life crime rocked Canada in 1843 and hurled the Victorian community into a salacious trial that amounted to a life sentence for Marks and a hanging for her accomplice.
After 30 years in prison, Grace was eventually pardoned, but her exoneration was a mere consolation prize after decades of living as a notorious woman. Following her pardon, she was relocated and then disappeared
How it came to be
Sarah Polley, the writer, and producer behind the new Netflix show, has a long history trying to get this story to the small screen.
Polley first wrote a letter to Margaret Atwood seeking the movie rights to her book ‘Alias Grace’ 20 years ago, when she was just 17. At the time Atwood kindly refused, but Pbut 20olley didn’t lose her interest into the story.
And almost 20 years later her efforts came to fruition.
In 2012, when the screen rights came up for grabs Polley was there once more, only this time she had a six-hour meeting with Atwood that eventually resulted in the show.
“She understood that the ambiguity mattered most, but ambiguity is tricky on film,” says Atwood.
“Grace was convicted as an accessory because she didn’t tell. We never knew, and she never told. She acted as one of those blank screens onto which everybody commenting projected.”
Atwood approved of Polley’s skills, and Polley paid out of pocket for the rights.
“To be a woman in that time, or anytime, there are parts of your personality and responses to things that you’re expected to suppress,” says Polley.
Modern age importance
“So what happens to all that energy and all that anger? What do you do with powerlessness? The idea of having more than one identity. The face you show to the world and the face that’s deep within captivated me.”
The producer considers Atwood’s books quite important for this modern age and the political climate.
“The Handmaid’s Tale offers us a window into a possible future when women’s rights are eroded. Alias Grace offers a look at what it was like before women had any rights,” said Polley.
“To look back and forward is very important at this moment when women’s rights are incredibly precarious and fragile.”
Focusing on how society views women
We could say we’re getting a much-needed treatment we didn’t even knew we needed and that’s the Atwood treatment.
Her 1986 novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ successfully came out on Hulu and nabbed several Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series.
And now, another Atwood adaptation, ‘Alias Grace,’ is hitting Netflix.
Both shows feature Atwood’s unique eye on the constraints, social and literal, that have shackled women through history.
While the stormy political climate continues to churn in the United States, the Canadian writer’s two-decades-old novels have pretty much landed like contemporary critiques.
Then in ‘Alias Graces’ Atwood takes us in a trip to past where women had few rights and the personal journey of a woman discovering she has power. The 19th-century story also takes on issues of anti-immigrant sentiment, abortion, and class warfare seem suddenly hot-button.
“We are at a moment in history when some parts of North America are trying to turn the clock back, and if they want to turn it back, what do they want to turn it back to?” Atwood says.
“There’s a reason the women’s movement really started in the 19th century. If they do go back, they’ll end up with [a woman] dying on a bloody mattress.”
Source: TV Line