Canadian director Sarah Polley is adapting Margaret Atwood's historical novel Alias Grace for the big screen.

The project once again pairs the Toronto filmmaker with an acclaimed Canadian writer. 

Polley's celebrated directorial debut Away From Her, starring Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie, was based on Alice Munro's short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain. It earned Polley an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay.

Atwood won the Giller Prize for Alias Grace, the story of a 16-year-old housemaid accused in the double murder of her employer and his housekeeper-mistress in 19th century Toronto. It was based on a real-life 1843 murder.

Polley has received funding from Astral Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund to option and adapt the best-selling Canadian novel through her production shingle, Tangled Productions.

An actress known for her work on Road to Avonlea, The Sweet Hereafter and Splice, Polley also directed 2011’s Take This Waltz.

Other projects to win backing from the Astral's Harold Greenberg Fund:

  • Paris, a new political drama from Paul Haggis.
  • Nobody,  a thriller from Splice director Vincenzo Natali.
  • Empire of Dirt, a First Nations story from Peter Stebbings.
  • The Lion's Share, a drama from Edwin Boyd creators Nathan Morlando and Allison Black.

Astral also says Giller-winning novelist Joseph Boyden will make his screenwriting debut with Red, an adaptation of graphic novel by Vancouver’s Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, who has developed a narrative style he calls Haida manga.