Margaret Atwood's work is getting a second life in TV form these days. Following the success of Hulu's Handmaid's Tale, based on her novel, Netflix's new series Alias Grace is also based on one of Atwood's books. Once you've binged it this weekend, you're going to be wanting more. But will there be a Season 2 of Alias Grace or is this a one and done type thing? It's hard to tell, since the show is based on the historical novel of the same name, which fictionalizes the story of Grace Marks, and is being billed as a six-part miniseries.
That normally means that the TV adaptation can only go so far. However, if it proves to be really successful and the writer, Sarah Polley, wants to take it a little further, anything can happen in the world of Netflix. Although it may feel like Atwood and TV are having a *moment* right now, Alias Grace is actually 20 years in the making, according to The New York Times.
Polley, who read the novel as a teenager, wrote to Atwood when she was just 17 years old, asking to adapt the novel into a screenplay. Atwood turned her down at the time, but now at 38 years old, she's seeing her fantasy come true, after snatching up the film rights when they came up for grabs in 2012. It's been a long road for Alias Grace's TV debut. In fact, at one point both Cate Blanchett and Jodi Foster were involved with the project.
Polley is super attached to the themes of Alias Grace. She told the Times,:
To be a woman in that time, or any time, there are parts of your personality and responses to things that you’re expected to suppress. 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.
In case you haven't been able to get your hands on the book yet, Alias Grace is based on the story of Grace Marks, a young, poor Irish immigrant who came to Canada was convicted for her alleged role in the murder of her employer, Thomas Kinnear and his lover, Nancy Montgomery back in 1843. A stable hand, James McDermott, was also convicted of the crime.
In real life, and in the book, James was hanged and Grace was sentenced to life in prison until she was exonerated of the crime after 30 years in jail. The Netlflix adaptation and Atwood's book fictionalize the story by having a doctor research the case and then fall in love with Grace.
The Canadian Broadcasting Company picked the adaptation up first, and viewers have been binging it since September, so Americans have a lot of catching up to do.
The story is super timely, much like the Handmaid's Tale, which shot at the very same time as Alias Grace. Polley said of the two stories to the Times:
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. To look back and forward is very important at this moment when women’s rights are incredibly precarious and fragile.
It's not likely that there'll be a Season 2 of Alias Grace given its mini-series status and Polley's love of the original work. However, Atwood said that two more of her books are in the works for a film or TV treatment, though she hasn't said which ones. So if you're need of more badass, complicated female stories on your small screen, they're coming.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.