(June 13, 2016 – Toronto, ON) One of the most enduring stories ever written and a foundation of Canadian literature cherished around the world, Anne of Green Gables has stood the test of time as generation after generation has discovered the special charm of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s tales of Anne Shirley, the precocious little girl from an orphanage placed in the care of the uptight Marilla Cuthbert and her brother Matthew. Today the award-winning Canadian production company Breakthrough Entertainment announced their newly completed two-hour revival of this classic has found a home south of the border an an all-rights broadcast agreement with PBS. The American public broadcaster will air the production nationally on Thursday, November 24th at 8:00 p.m. ET as a special Thanksgiving family television event.
Directed by John Kent Harrison and based on the original script by Susan Coyne, this adaptation was filmed in Canada and stars critically acclaimed actor Martin Sheen. Sheen – who has appeared in blockbuster films like The Amazing Spider Man and The Amazing Spider Man 2, and walked through the halls of the White House in multi-Emmy winner The West Wing will portray Matthew Cuthbert, one half of the brother-sister couple that cares for Anne Shirley.
Produced by Breakthrough Entertainment in association with Corus Entertainment’s YTV and the author’s granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, who served as Executive Producer, Anne of Green Gables stars 13-year old newcomer Ella Ballentine as Anne Shirley, Canadian actress Sara Botsford as Marilla Cuthbert as well as Julia Lalonde, Kate Honig, Stefani Kimber, Drew Haytaoglu, Kyle Gatehouse and Linda Kash.
“Anne Shirley is the most widely-known fictional character in Canadian literary history,” said Nat Abraham, Partner and President of Distribution at Breakthrough Entertainment. “We’re thrilled to be working with PBS to bring this classical story to American audiences as well.”
Michael Kelley, SVP, Programming & Business Affairs, PBS, added, “The story and Anne character have become a staple of childhood innocence and inspiration. Breakthrough’s revival of this globally recognized literary story has delighted so many viewers in Canada and around the world and we are glad to secure this film for broadcast on PBS.”
First published in 1908, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables remains an iconic work of Canadian literature and has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. The eight-novel series is set in Prince Edward Island and has attracted of readers of all ages, who are inspired by the spirited redhead Anne Shirley.
Established over 30 years ago, Breakthrough Entertainment’s library boasts more than 40 feature films and 4000 television episodes which air on major networks and digital channels across the globe. The studio has been recognized with international awards including numerous Geminis, Canadian Screen Awards, and Canadian Comedy Awards.