Showing posts with label Actors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Actors. Show all posts

May 24, 2024

Megan Follows on Playing Anne of Green Gables

Megan Follows as Anne Shirley in the 1985 Anne of Green Gables miniseries

Megan Follows is known for playing the outspoken, imaginative and talkative Anne Shirley in the 1985 TV miniseries Anne of Green Gables, which was based on L.M. Montgomery's novel. In December 2023, Follows reminisced about how playing Anne Shirley changed her life in a podcast conversation with the CBC's Tom Power. In the introduction to the podcast, Power mentions how the conversation made him rethink Anne of Green Gables and consider how radical the story was then and how relevant it still is today. I loved their conversation. Give it a listen!

Sometimes actors dislike being identified with a particular role, but not Megan Follows. She expressed gratitude about playing Anne Shirley and emphasized how great it was to play a character that was "a girl that got to express rage." When asked about her relationship with the character, Follows responded, "I love Anne...She and I have a great relationship. We're tight. We're bosom buddies. I think she's an extraordinary character, and uhm, I always felt incredibly grateful to have played her and to have been introduced to a strong-willed, female-driven story where you got to be number one from the point of view of a story." Often, Follows reflects, women are the appendage in stories and not the backbone or driving force. In contrast, Anne has a driving force to belong and to be seen for herself, and Follows believes that this is what resonates with people.

Megan Follows delved back into L.M. Montgomery's stories in preparing to record an Emily of New Moon audiobook a few years ago and then to direct a new Audible Anne of Green Gables audiobook featuring Michela Luci, Catherine O’Hara, Victor Garber, and Sandra Oh. Follows remarks that her deep dive back into the stories allowed her to discover "the subversiveness of the text." She had previously understood Montgomery's humor, but now she observed her way of pointing out hypocrisy through Anne. Follows feels that the power of the character scares people.

Follows sees Anne's compulsive talking as coming from a dark place where Anne chooses to go toward the light, not out of naivety, but for her own survival. As an example, she mentions how Anne planned to sleep in a cherry tree at the train station. She believes that Anne came up with this idea for safety, but that Anne focused on the beauty of the blossoms because she was terrified to be abandoned and alone in the world. Follows says that Montgomery used poetry because children don't actually speak this way.

Follows also reflected on her amazing experiences working with Colleen Dewhurst (Marilla Cuthbert) and Patricia Hamilton (Rachel Lynde). She discussed how Richard Farnsworth (Matthew Cuthbert) was only available for six days of filming, so she worked very long hours with him to film his scenes. Later, she did scenes with a grip stand with a hat on it as a stand-in. Follows also talked about the raspberry cordial scene with Schuyler Grant, who played Diana Barry. They were giving Grant glasses of watered down grape juice or Ribena, and she really did get sick after filming the scene multiple times. Follows briefly mentioned that her heart always smiles for Jonathan Crombie and that they laughed a lot.

Power asked Follows about her audition for Anne. Strangely, the day after her audition, her tape disappeared, and she had to redo her audition at the last minute. Follows mentions that there was another actress who was the first choice for Anne Shirley and that she had to fight for the role. Luckily, she had advocates at the CBC and someone at PBS who believed that she was the right fit for the role.

Later, when asked about how the success of the miniseries affected her, she reflected that she is grateful that she did a good job playing Anne, and that she has received a tremendous amount of goodwill because of the character and how much the character and writing mean to people.

Toward the end of the conversation, Follows talked about how she is currently developing a limited series on the life of L.M. Montgomery, her legacy and the power of her writing. I can't wait to hear more.


Image credit:

Photograph of Megan Follows as Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables © Sullivan Entertainment.


Created May 24, 2024.
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