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Offbeat

Margaret Atwood’s ‘Alias Grace’ gets Hollywood treatment

Actress Sarah Gadon poses to promote her series, ‘Alias Grace.’ (AP)
NEW YORK: Another Margaret Atwood novel is getting the Hollywood treatment, this time on Netflix.
In “Alias Grace,” a six-episode Netflix miniseries based on Atwood’s historical novel, an Irish immigrant working as a maid in Canada in the 1840s is accused of murdering her boss and his mistress. Her case is covered with breathless scrutiny, making the young woman infamous.
Sarah Gadon plays Grace, who recounts her life story to a young psychiatrist trying to help jog her memory.
“While he’s having these interviews with Grace throughout the show, you start to question his motives,” Gadon said in a recent interview. “Is he falling for Grace? Does he want to save her? Has he become obsessed with her or is she manipulating him?“
Gadon said the compelling part of the story is the gray area of it all. She and director Mary Harron analyzed different scenarios that would make Grace guilty or not. Gadon said they have their own beliefs about what happened but do not want to influence anyone watching the series.
“The series and the book are all about the ambiguity and it’s all about the journey,” Gadon said. “Did Grace do it? Did she not do it? Do you want her to have done it? It kind of plays with all those human emotions that we all feel.”
To prepare for the role, Gadon spent time at Black Creek Pioneer Village, a working village in Ontario, Canada, that transports visitors back to the late 1700s to mid-1800s.
“I learned how to milk a cow, churn butter, start a fire and ... use a Victorian-era kitchen,” she said.
Gadon also learned to sew because Grace sews a quilt by hand as she is being interviewed by her doctor.
Another Atwood novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is an Emmy-winning series on Hulu.

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