Martin Sheen, best known for his role as President Josiah Jed Bartlet on The West Wing, will be travelling east for a starring role in the upcoming Canadian TV movie Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. The Emmy Award-winner will play Matthew Cuthbert — one half of the brother and sister who adopt the title character — Breakthrough Entertainment announced today.
The two-hour movie for YTV is based on the original Anne of Green Gables eight-novel series, first published in 1908. It comes from a script by Susan Coyne, with the full approval of L. M. Montgomery's granddaughter Kate MacDonald Butler, who is also an executive producer on the project.
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The role of Anne Shirley will be played by 13-year-old Toronto-born actress Ella Ballentine. The stern sister of Matthew, Marilla Cuthbert, will be played by Sara Botsford.
The novels highlight one of Canada's most beloved literary characters, Anne Shirley; taken in as an orphan by an aging brother and sister to help on their P.E.I. farm, who end up considering the young Anne as part of their family.
The film is in production now in P.E.I. and Ontario, and will air in early 2016.