A first look at Netflix's Margaret Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale" follow up

"Alias Grace" is a miniseries based on a book by Margaret Atwood, who is best known for "The Handmaid's Tale"

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 18, 2017 10:44AM (EDT)

Alias Grace (Jan Thijs)
Alias Grace (Jan Thijs)

In the wake of the success of the original series based on Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" on Hulu, Netflix has unveiled the first images from their Atwood-based property, "Alias Grace."

Based on true events, Atwood's novel "Alias Grace" tells the story of an impoverished Irish immigrant named Grace Marks (played by Sarah Gadon) who is convicted of murdering her employers in mid-18th century Upper Canada. The forthcoming adaptation was written and produced by actress and director Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron of "American Psycho."


Alias Grace


Arguably the most famous member of the cast is Oscar-winner and "True Blood" star Anna Paquin, who plays a housekeeper named Nancy Montgomery. Paquin's character and her employer, the wealthy farmer Thomas Kinnear (played by Paul Gross), are the two victims of the murder that serves as the centerpiece of the story, with Marks and a stable hand named James McDermott (played by Kerr Logan) being accused and eventually convicted of the crime.

Like "The Handmaid's Tale," "Alias Grace" contains heavy political and social subtext, exploring issues including gender dynamics, class stratification, ethnic prejudice and social attitudes toward mental illness. The last theme is perhaps best summed up by a famous quote from the book:


Alias Grace

"Gone mad is what they say, and sometimes Run mad, as if mad is a different direction, like west; as if mad is a different house you could step into, or a separate country entirely. But when you go mad you don't go any other place, you stay where you are. And somebody else comes in."

The series — produced in partnership between Netflix and the CBC — is expected to debut on September 25, 2017.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Alias Grace Anna Paquin Margaret Atwood Netflix “the Handmaid’s Tale”