After auditioning over 1,800 girls from around the world, Netflix, Northwood Entertainment and CBC have announced the casting of fourteen-year-old Irish-Canadian actress Amybeth McNulty in the lead role of Anne Shirley in the upcoming series AnneAmybeth initially auditioned for the series online from her home in Donegal.

Netflix and CBC have joined forces with showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett and Miranda de Pencier’s Northwood Entertainment for the highly anticipated dramatic television series Anne, based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s timeless classic novel Anne of Green Gables. CBC greenlit the eight-episode, one-hour series earlier this year. The show will stream globally on Netflix and be broadcast in Canada on CBC in 2017.

Award-winning director Niki Caro (Whale Rider, McFarland USA, Zookeeper’s Wife) has signed on to direct the two-hour premiere episode. Caro teams up with three-time Emmy® Award and Golden Globe winner Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad, Flesh & Bone), who is writing the entire first season of the series produced by Miranda de Pencier (Beginners, Thanks For Sharing) under her Northwood Entertainment banner. Netflix hopes that this all-female powerhouse trio makes Anne one of this year’s most anticipated television series. Production begin in September in Ontario, Canada.

Speaking on the casting executive producer/showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett said:

Amybeth is a wonderful and sensitive actress who embodies all of Anne’s qualities. She’s soulful and inquisitive, mercurial and passionate. Her ability to convey pain and joy is breath-taking. Amybeth is Anne for a new generation.

Anne is a coming-of-age story about an outsider who, against all odds and numerous challenges, fights for acceptance for her place in the world and for love. The series centres on a young orphaned girl in 1890, who, after an abusive childhood spent in orphanages and the homes of strangers, is mistakenly sent to live with an elderly spinster and her aging brother. Over time, 13-year-old Anne will transform their lives and eventually the small town in which they live with her unique spirit, fierce intellect and brilliant imagination.

Commenting on the series Elizabeth Bradley, Netflix vice president of content, said:

Anne Shirley is one of Canada’s greatest gifts to the world, known and loved internationally, so we’re thrilled to be working with the CBC and Northwood to bring this charismatic character to both new and old fans around the world.

Director Niki Caro added:

I am thrilled and inspired to be joining this incredibly talented team, and honoured to collaborate on material that brings this iconic character to life in such a bold, fresh, and exciting way.

Moira Walley-Beckett said:

I adore Anne! Exploring and expanding her story with new depth for a new generation has been exhilarating!

Miranda de Pencier, who brought the idea of the series development to Walley-Beckett, the CBC, and Netflix under her Northwood Entertainment banner was keen to add:

Moira Walley-Beckett has written eight riveting, funny, emotional, surprising, beautiful hours of television. With the extraordinary talent of Niki Caro at the helm, we can’t wait to deliver our show to Netflix, CBC and the world. Netflix as our global partner means Anne’s indomitable spirit can now enter homes and hearts all over the world.

While the new series will honour the foundation of the novel held as a Canadian treasure and global phenomenon, Anne will also chart new territory. Anne and the rest of the characters will experience adventures reflecting timeless issues including themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.

Walley-Beckett and de Pencier developed and will executive produce the series. Alison Owen (Saving Mr. Banks) and Debra Hayward (Bridget Jones Diary, Les Miserables) are also attached to executive produce and Susan Murdoch will produce.

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