The following article was published a few days ago on CTV.ca:
New ‘Anne of Green Gables’ coming to CTV
Updated Tue. Oct. 16 2007 10:27 AM ET
The perennially freckled and red-haired Anne Shirley will return to television in 2008, with a new three-hour movie set to debut on CTV.
Actor Hannah Endicott-Douglas is shown in a handout photo. (CTV)
“To say that we are excited about bringing the Anne of Green Gables franchise to CTV would be an understatement!” said Kevin Sullivan, president of Sullivan Entertainment.
“Ivan Fecan and I created the “Avonlea/Family Hour” franchise on CBC in the early 90s and together we made it into one of Canada’s most successful weekly television events.”
In addition to the film, CTV has acquired the entire “Anne” catalogue, including the original 1985 mini-series.
The movie is a prequel to the “Anne of Green Gables” series, entitled “Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning.”
Picked from over 1,000 hopefuls, Toronto native Hannah Endicott-Douglas will play the new Anne.
The search for the star included an open casting call on YouTube and a cross-Canada audition tour that lasted for three months. Sullivan, an award winning filmmaker, personally selected the winner.
Endicott-Douglas has also appeared in “The Good Witch” and “Samantha: An American Girl.”
Academy Award nominee Barbara Hershey will also appear in the film as Anne later in life, in her 50s. Rachel Blanchard also stars as Louise.
Sullivan has written a completely new screenplay for the three hour movie, which follows Anne’s life before arriving at Green Gables. Sullivan is also directing and executive producing the feature.
“Anne of Green Gables is an enduring and endearing worldwide franchise,” said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.
“We welcome Anne with great respect and look forward to the world premiere of ‘A New Beginning’ on CTV.”
CTV’s acquisition includes:
- Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning (TV Movie, three hours)
- Anne of Green Gables; Anne of Green Gables – The Sequel; Anne of Green Gables – The Continuing Story (Mini-Series; 13 hours)
- Road to Avonlea (TV Series; 91 hours)
- Road to Avonlea Christmas (TV Movie; two hours)
- Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series (TV Series; 13 hours)
- Anne, Journey to Green Gables (Animated Feature, two hours)
- The Magic Flute Diaries (Feature, two hours)
- Mozart Decoded – The Magic Flute Diaries Documentary (Documentary, 1 hour)
- Anne Trilogy Documentary (Documentary, 1 hour)
“Anne of Green Gables” and “Road to Avonlea” have been broadcast in over 140 countries around the world and have won numerous awards including four Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Award, CableAce Awards and numerous Gemini’s.
“Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel” originally aired in 1987 and has remained the highest rated mini-series ever to air in Canada with an audience of 5.4 million.
Also, the following article appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:
Three-month search yields new Anne of Green Gables
Maria Kubacki, CanWest News Service
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Her red hair may come from a bottle but Hannah Endicott-Douglas is a natural for her new role as Anne Shirley.
The 12-year-old blonde actress from Toronto has been chosen to play one of Canada’s most beloved cultural icons in a prequel to the original Anne of Green Gables mini-series starring Megan Follows. It’s a series she is intimately familiar with, having played out scenes from it with her older sister, Vivien, since she was a toddler.
“I’m a very big Anne fan. I have been for a very long time,” said Hannah in a telephone interview from her home in Toronto on the eve of her first day of shooting.
It was Vivien who usually played Anne, while Hannah portrayed the supporting characters.
Now it’s Hannah’s turn to be Anne, and 16-year-old Vivien will play Violetta, a character at odds with Anne in the beginning.
Hannah has read L.M. Montgomery’s classic novel and says what she likes about Canada’s favourite fictional orphan is “her way to look on the bright side, her imagination and her fiery temper.”
The Grade 8 student, who dyed her hair for the role, was crowned the new Anne after a three-month search by Sullivan Entertainment, which included an open casting call on YouTube, a cross-Canada audition tour and nearly 1,000 audition submissions from Canada, the U.S., England and Australia.
“She was the one who had the shine,” said writer/producer/director Kevin Sullivan, the man behind the original series. “She’s spunky, she’s got a tender heart,” said Sullivan in a telephone interview.
But Hannah — whose previous television credits include The Good Witch and Samantha: An American Girl Holiday — also had a quality Sullivan saw in Follows, and in the young Sarah Polley (who starred in another Sullivan Entertainment series, Road to Avonlea). “This kid is a pro,” he said.
Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning is based on an original screenplay by Sullivan and focuses on Anne’s life before she came to Green Gables. The screenplay draws on elements in Montgomery’s novel but Sullivan admits he had to make a lot of it up. “It’s a three-hour movie.”
Hannah plays the young orphan, and Emmy and Golden-Globe winning actress Barbara Hershey (The Portrait of a Lady, Hannah and Her Sisters) portrays a 50-something Anne looking back on her life.
Rachel Blanchard (7th Heaven, Clueless) plays Louisa Thomas, a character mentioned in Montgomery’s novel; additional casting will be announced soon.
Production has begun and the movie will premiere on CTV in 2008 in time for the 100th anniversary of the publication of Montgomery’s novel.