Sarah Polley's adaptation of Alias Grace to air on CBC and Netflix

polley-alias-grace.pngSarah Polley wrote the script and will be producing the miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace. (Victoria Will/Canadian Press)

Canadian actress and director Sarah Polley will begin production on her adaptation of Alias Grace in Ontario this August. The Margaret Atwood novel, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 1996, will become a six-hour miniseries to air on CBC-TV and Netflix.

Alias Grace is a work of historical fiction inspired by the story of a notorious Irish-Canadian maid named Grace Marks, who was convicted of two murders in the 1840s. After spending 30 years in prison, Marks was exonerated for the deaths of her employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery.

The novel (and upcoming series) focuses on a fictional doctor named Simon Jordan, a young upstart in the new field of mental health. Jordan investigates the case at the behest of a group seeking pardon for Grace, and finds himself becoming obsessed with the young woman.

"I first read Alias Grace when I was 17 years old and throughout the last 20 years I have read it over and over, trying to get to the bottom of it," said Polley, who wrote the script.

"Grace Marks, as captured by Margaret Atwood, is the most complex, riveting character I have ever read... I can't wait for us to bring the many versions of Grace's gripping story, and the questions they raise, to television audiences."

Alias Grace will be directed by American Psycho director Mary Harron and produced by Halfire Entertainment.

CORRECTION: This story originally stated that CBC and Netflix co-commissioned the series. In fact, they are licensing the series from the production company, Halfire.