Wanted! Red-headed actress to play Canadian literary icon on TV - InfoNews

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Wanted! Red-headed actress to play Canadian literary icon on TV

Kate Macdonald Butler, the granddaughter of Lucy Maud Montgomery is seen in this photo take at the Banff World Media Festival on Monday, June 11, 2012. Anne of Green Gables is returning to TV. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Graveland
June 11, 2012 - 3:13 PM

BANFF, Alta. - One of Canada's most well-known and beloved literary characters is returning to TV.

A new 13-episode series of Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" was announced Monday at the Banff World Media Festival.

First published in 1908, more than 50 million of the Anne books — about a spunky red-headed orphan who is sent to live in Prince Edward Island — have been sold.

Sullivan Entertainment brought "Anne" to television in the 1980s, but Montgomery's granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, says there is keen appetite for a new version.

"By way of our book sales and that's how I would know — the interest is still there. I think there are a couple of new generations that are ready for a new interpretation of Anne of Green Gables," Butler said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"Sullivan Entertainment did a beautiful product — the first film back in the 80s and we were very proud of it then. But I think it is now time for a new interpretation — that was almost 30 years ago."

The series will be produced by Breakthrough Entertainment which will work closely with Montgomery's descendants.

The show is expected to begin production in the summer of 2013 but likely won't air until the following year. Butler said the shooting will take place in Atlantic Canada and hopefully parts of it will occur in Prince Edward Island.

There were eight classic "Anne of Green Gables" novels and Butler said there is plenty of material to build storylines in the new series. She said she recently reread a first chapter of one of the books and could see 10 possible storylines there.

"I realize it's difficult to make a TV show and you have to use some creative licence to make it ready for the viewers," she said.

"I always like to know it's based on the stories but understand sometimes the material is a little dry and so you have to embellish a little bit."

Both Butler and executive producer Joan Lambur think it's important that the role of Anne Shirley be played by a Canadian and preferably one with real red hair.

"I think it's important she be Canadian because this is probably the most well-known Canadian brand. I would feel that would be the right move," said Lambur. "We're going to find a redhead for sure."

But Lambur said she doesn't picture the new Anne of Green Gables to follow in the mode of the original or other popular period series such as "Road to Avonlea." Think more along the lines of "Little House on the Prairie" meets "Downton Abbey."

"I picture it a little more truthful and a little less sweet," she said.

Lambur said that although the popularity of the show will be skewed primarily to a female audience if the character development proceeds the way she envisions it then it will be real family entertainment.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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