Worldwide search begins to find CBC's next Anne of Green Gables

Online and in-person auditions are being held to cast the lead role in the upcoming Anne, based on the beloved Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Casting call includes in-person and online auditions, production to begin this summer

Tess Benger, an actress who portrayed Anne of Green Gables in a Charlottetown production in 2011, is shown greeting Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

If you know a spunky girl with that je ne sais quoi, she could become the star of a new CBC series.

Online and in-person auditions are being held to cast the lead role in the upcoming Anne. It's based on the beloved Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

"We are looking for a certain unique quality, a girl that can help define Anne for a new generation," series producer Miranda de Pencier told CBC News.

That includes someone who isn't old-fashioned or too precious. But she'll still have many of the traits fans have grown to love in the original version — imaginative, forthright and interesting.

"She's a modern girl with a massive heart," said de Pencier. "She is also a deeply wounded kid — she bears the emotional scars of the abusive life she's led so far. Anne is full of contradictions."

The people behind the series know they can't "replace the image of Anne" that comes from the classic 1985 mini-series starring Megan Follows as the precocious red-head. But they're hoping to find an equally charismatic character.

"I'm looking for an Anne who is contemporary: smart, quirky, fierce and spirited, but also insecure and wildly emotional. Anne is mercurial and complicated," said screenwriter and excecutive producer Moira Walley-Beckett, an Emmy-winner whose credits include Breaking Bad and Flesh and Bone.

"I can't wait to fall in love with an auditioning actress and say 'That's my Anne.'"

Ideally, the new Anne will be 11-14 years old and red hair is a bonus, but not a necessity.

"We are curious to see who responds to this open call and hope that it reflects not only Canada's diversity but also the world's," said de Pencier.

The search for Anne will start with open casting calls in Toronto May 7-8, Charlottetown on May 28, Halifax on May 29-30 and Vancouver May 14-15.

The casting call website can be found here.