Molly Parker, Stephen McHattie and Kevin Durand to star in TV adaptation of hit graphic novel Essex County

Get the first look at the upcoming CBC show now. Essex County will premiere on CBC TV and CBC Gem in winter 2023.

Get the first look at the upcoming CBC show now

Jeff Lemire is adapting his graphic novel Essex County into a TV series for CBC. Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, pictured, stars as Lester. (Submitted by First Generation Films)

Molly Parker, Brian J. Smith, Stephen McHattie, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong and Kevin Durand will star in the television adaptation of Essex County, based on the hit graphic novel by award-winning Canadian comic cartoonist and author Jeff Lemire.

Essex County follows the interconnected lives of two families in a rural Ontario community. The series explores how the effects of trauma, betrayal and loss can ripple through generations.

Wojtak-Hissong, who is 11, plays young Lester, a boy who has moved in with his uncle Ken, a farmer, after his mother dies.

Wojtak-Hissong began his acting career at the age of eight and has also appeared in The Kindness of Strangers, Blood, Dreamkatcher and Robin Wright's feature directorial debut Land.

Smith, who is known for his roles in Netflix's Sense8 and the Syfy series Stargate Universe, is playing Ken.

Durand plays family friend and father figure Jimmy. Durand has appeared in Locke & Key, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ballers, Lost and the upcoming film, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

Parker plays Annie, a nurse who is caring for her elderly uncle Lou, the role McHattie is taking on. Parker is an Emmy and SAG award-nominated actress and director known for her work in shows like House of Cards, Deadwood, Lost in Space and Dexter.

McHattie, a prolific Canadian actor with more than 200 film and television credits including Orphan Black, Emily of New Moon, Cold Squad and Seinfeld, will be playing Lou.

The graphic novel cover has an image of five people standing in a line across the cover with their backs to the reader. The first is a man in a plaid shirt. To his right is a woman in a dress with black hair flying and then to her right is a boy in a red cape. To his right, a larger man in a number nine hockey jersey with a hockey stick in his right hand and last is a shorter person in a long coat. They stand on top of black ground. Underneath their feet is soil with the lines of tree roots. The background and the roots are turquoise blue.
Jeff Lemire is the author of graphic novel Essex County. (The Canadian Press/Cole Burston, Top Shelf Productions)

Lemire co-wrote the show alongside Eilis Kirwan, while also serving as showrunner and one of the executive producers. Essex County is being helmed by director Andrew Cividino, who won an Emmy for his work on Schitt's Creek

Shooting on Essex County wrapped on Sept. 30 in North Bay, Ont. Essex County will premiere in Canada on CBC TV and CBC Gem in winter 2023.

Essex County was the first graphic novel to appear on Canada Reads. It was defended by musician Sara Quin in 2011.

Lemire's other work includes Sweet Tooth: The Return, which was adapted into a Netflix series, Roughneck, The Underwater Welder, Royal City and Gord Downie's Secret Path and more. He is a three-time Eisner Award winner; in 2022 for best digital comic for his book, Snow Angels, in 2017, for best new series for Black Hammer and again in 2019 for Gideon Falls

LISTEN | Jeff Lemire takes The Next Chapter's version of the Proust questionnaire:

The graphic novelist and cartoonist on his favourite fictional character, his idea of perfect happiness, and why David Lynch and Tom Waits are heroes to him.

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