Days before Sarah Gadon finished filming the screen adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, she shared a photo on Instagram of a worn marble staircase inside the Kingston Penitentiary. “To think that she walked these stairs,” Gadon wrote, referring to Grace Marks – the inspiration for Atwood’s novel – who spent some 30 years imprisoned there.
Gadon (BA 2014 Innis) plays Marks in a six-hour miniseries set to air this fall on CBC in Canada and Netflix internationally. Shot in Toronto and around Ontario from August through November, Alias Grace tells the true story of Marks’s conviction for the brutal murder of her employer and his housekeeper in 1840s Upper Canada. She was later exonerated for the crime.
Gadon, who has been acting since childhood, continued to work while studying part time for her cinema studies degree at U of T. She has gained widespread recognition for her roles in two David Cronenberg films: A Dangerous Method in 2011 and Cosmopolis in 2012. While filmmaker Cronenberg (BA 1967 UC) doesn’t direct this mini-series, he does have an undisclosed acting role. Fellow alum Margaret Atwood (BA 1961 Victoria) also makes a cameo appearance.