The CBC has released a sneak peak trailer for the upcoming Alias Grace mini-series, based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author, Margaret Atwood.
Alias Grace is the story of Grace Marks, a poor, young Irish immigrant working in Upper Canada as a domestic servant and convicted – along with stable hand James McDermott – of the brutal murders of their employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper lover, Nancy Montgomery, in 1843.
Segments of the mini-series were filmed here in Kingston last November, and some scenes centered around Kingston Penitentiary appear in the trailer (embedded below).
That part of the trailer appears to begin inside the Penitentiary walls – perhaps including local extras who were sought in an online ad a couple of months earlier – followed by an exterior shot of the main entrance as it appeared in 1859. Grace Marks is then seen being led to the “Governor’s House”, the Warden’s residence located across the street from the pen and now the Correctional Service of Canada Museum.
Kingston is an integral part of the story, as Grace was convicted and then imprisoned in Kingston Penitentiary for many years. King Street runs in front of the Penitentiary and was closed to traffic for a number of days while it was dressed with dirt to model the mid-1800s setting of Grace Marks’ imprisonment.
Alias Grace stars award-winning actress Sarah Gadon (Indignation, 11.22.63, Enemy) – who shared photos from Kingston on Instagram during filming – along with Academy Award-winning Canadian-born actress Anna Paquin (True Blood, Roots, Bellevue); Zachary Levi (Chuck, Tangled); Paul Gross (Hyena Road, Due South);Edward Holcroft (Kingsman: The Secret Service, London Spy, Wolf Hall); Kerr Logan (Game of Thrones, London Irish); Rebecca Liddiard (Houdini & Doyle); and famed Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg.
There will also be a cameo by Alias Grace author, Margaret Atwood.
The series is written and produced by Sarah Polley (Take This Waltz, Away from Her) and directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol).
The CBC announced Alias Grace will have its world premiere on September 25th, broadcast in Canada on CBC and globally on Netflix.
Kingston Penitentiary 1859, as seen in the trailer:
Grace Marks being led to the “Governor’s House” / Warden’s Residence:
Google Street View of the Kingston Penitentiary (showing people arriving for a tour of the Kingston Pen) – spin to the right to see the “Governor’s House” across the street:
Watch the CBC sneak peak trailer below: (Kingston scenes begin at the 1:45 mark)
Fun Fact: I was contacted by an individual, on behalf of the Alias Grace production, who was seeking contact information for Peter Milliken, former Member of Parliament for Kingston and Speaker of the House of Commons – perhaps to offer Peter a small role in the film (?)
I have no idea if they successfully reached Peter or, if so, whether he was offered and accepted a part – but keep an eye out for him, just in case!