Showing posts with label Featured. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Featured. 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.

May 16, 2024

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

Photograph of The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid with a cup of tea and cupcakes

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables: The Enchanting Island that Inspired L. M. Montgomery is a book by Catherine Reid explores the environment of Prince Edward Island and how L.M. Montgomery used nature as a source of creativity to write Anne of Green Gables. Published in 2018, the book is filled with lush photography, biographical information about L.M. Montgomery, and L.M. Montgomery's own photos and quotes. It was published by Timber Press in Portland, Oregon, which is part of the Hachette Book Group. The book was acclaimed as one of Smithsonian magazine’s Ten Best Books About Travel of 2018.

Here's the book's description from the Hachette Book Group:

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables explores L. M. Montgomery’s deep connection to the landscapes of Prince Edward Island that inspired her to write the beloved Anne of Green Gables series. From the Lake of Shining Waters and the Haunted Wood to Lover’s Lane, you’ll be immersed in the real places immortalized in the novels.

Using Montgomery’s journals, archives, and scrapbooks, Catherine Reid explores the many similarities between Montgomery and her unforgettable heroine, Anne Shirley. The lush package includes Montgomery’s hand-colorized photographs, the illustrations originally used in Anne of Green Gables, and contemporary and historical photography.


“This book will be treasured by Montgomery’s legions of fans.” —Carolyn Strom Collins, author of The Anne of Green Gables Treasury; editor of After Many Years: Twenty-one “Long-Lost” Stories by L. M. Montgomery

“In L. M. Montgomery’s beloved book, Anne of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island, Canada, played a role that is arguably just as important as the series’ protagonist, Anne Shirley. Wanting to bring the island to life years later, author Catherine Reid explores the very places that inspired Montgomery and became immortalized in her prose.” —The Smithsonian Magazine

“There’s something deeply satisfying about seeing gorgeous pictures of sunsets, shores, and gardens alongside snippets of Montgomery’s musical, flowery prose. Reid’s love letter to Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery, and Prince Edward Island is sure to delight. Anne enthusiasts will learn more about what inspired Montgomery, while nature lovers will find a kindred spirit in Reid, who clearly has a passion for all things green and growing.” —Booklist starred review

“This is not just a book filled with beautiful photos; it’s a satisfyingly rich and layered combination of the visual and intellectual. Readers will gain a new appreciation not only for Montgomery but also for the landscape that meant so much to her.” —Library Journal

“Whether you read the Anne saga growing up (particularly popular with young girls) or are brainstorming now for a summer vacation jewel, this new The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables is certain to delight. Author Catherine Reid exuberantly jumped into Montgomery's archives—her journals, scrapbooks, photographs—to create this lush tribute to Montgomery, Green Gables and PEI. It is graced with positive quotes, poems and anecdotes; festooned with fascinating history; dressed in scores of images from yesteryear and today. . . . Reid herself deserves ample applause for this wet-kiss, well-crafted ode to all that makes Prince Edward Island and its most esteemed native resonate with readers and visitors. Oh, Canada!” —Forbes

“For readers looking for a deeper understanding of the book, the author, and how they both came together to create a timeless classic, this is a must-read. Filled with beautiful colour images and original illustrations from the book's 1908 edition, The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables is an easy, enjoyable read, but it is packed with much more fascinating information than your average coffee-table book. . . . readers are prompted to reflect on how the landscapes of their worlds speak to their own internal lives.” —The Cardinal Press

Image credit:
Photograph of The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Timber Press.

Purchase and read The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables:

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid

Created May 16, 2024.

May 14, 2024

Becoming Green Gables

Becoming Green Gables: The Diary of Myrtle Webb and Her Famous Farmhouse by Alan MacEachern

Becoming Green Gables: The Diary of Myrtle Webb and Her Famous Farmhouse is a book by Alan MacEachern that will be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in June 2024. Myrtle and Ernest Webb owned the farm that their cousin L.M. Montgomery based "Green Gables" upon. According to The Green Gables Diary website: "In spring 1924, Myrtle Webb began keeping a diary about her life on an ordinary farm in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. Ordinary but for one thing: it was growing famous as the inspiration for Anne of Green Gables, written by her cousin L.M. Montgomery."

MacEachern's book tells "The story of the family whose home inspired Anne of Green Gables and how that literary connection enriched - and upended - their lives." His book examines the history of Green Gables and how the popularity of L.M. Montgomery's novel affected the Webb family and tourism to Prince Edward Island.

A digital exhibition that will accompany the book called "The Green Gables Diary" will launch this spring at:

Here's the description of the book from McGill-Queen’s University Press:

In 1909 Myrtle and Ernest Webb took possession of an ordinary farm in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. Ordinary but for one thing: it was already becoming known as inspiration for Anne of Green Gables, the novel written by Myrtle’s cousin Lucy Maud Montgomery and published to international acclaim a year earlier. The Webbs welcomed visitors to “Green Gables” and soon took in summer boarders, making their home the heart of PEI’s tourist trade. In the 1930s the farm was made the centrepiece of a new national park - and still the family lived there for another decade, caretakers of their own home. During these years Myrtle kept a diary. When she first picked up the pencil in 1924, she was a forty-year-old homemaker running a household of eight. By the time she set the pencil down in 1954, she was a seventy-year-old widow, no longer resident in what was now the most famous house in Canada. Becoming Green Gables tells the story of Myrtle Webb and her family, and the making of Green Gables. Alan MacEachern reproduces a selection of the diary’s daily entries, using them as springboards to examine topics ranging from the adoption of modern conveniences to the home front hosting of soldiers in wartime and visits from “Aunt Maud” herself. While the foundation of Becoming Green Gables is the Webbs’ own story, it is also a history of their famous home, their community, the nation, and the world in which they lived.


“Humorous in some places and a tearjerker in others, Becoming Green Gables captures an untold story about the famed Green Gables and home-grown tourism prior to the founding of the national park.” Catharine Anne Wilson, author of Being Neighbours: Cooperative Work and Rural Culture, 1830-1960

“Becoming Green Gables provides an appreciation of the complex grassroots history of one of Canada’s most beloved historical sites.” Melanie J. Fishbane, author of Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery

I am looking forward to reading this book and the launch of the digital exhibit.

Image credit:
Book cover of Becoming Green Gables: The Diary of Myrtle Webb and Her Famous Farmhouse by Alan MacEachern from McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Official website:
The Green Gables Diary

Purchase and read Becoming Green Gables:

Becoming Green Gables: The Diary of Myrtle Webb and Her Famous Farmhouse by Alan MacEachern

Created May 14, 2024.

January 08, 2024

Anne of Green Gables and the Newness of Tomorrow

Drawing of Anne Shirley running down a red road on Prince Edward Island from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables

"Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

The new year is a time for reflection and renewal. It provides an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, dream big, set goals, and make changes. Everything feels fresh, and the world is full of possibilities.

Anne Shirley felt this way with each new day. She didn’t have to wait for the new year to begin. Instead, Anne started her mornings with those feelings of freshness and renewal.

In Anne of Green Gables, Anne feels disgraced after baking Mrs. Allan a cake that she flavored with liniment instead of vanilla. Anne lamented, "I shall always be pointed at as the girl who flavored a cake with anodyne liniment." Mrs. Allan comforts Anne saying, "My dear little girl, you mustn’t cry like this...Why, it’s all just a funny mistake that anybody might make." Anne responds forlornly, "Oh, no, it takes me to make such a mistake." After they talk more, Mrs. Allan helps turn things around so that Anne finds some enjoyment in the evening.

Later, Anne tells Marilla, "Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" The ever-practical Marilla responds, "I’ll warrant you’ll make plenty in it...I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne."

In Anne of Avonlea, Anne arrives home at Green Gables after a hard day teaching. She recounts her day to Marilla who listens to the whole story. Marilla responds by quoting Anne’s old words back to her: "Well, never mind. This day’s done and there’s a new one coming tomorrow, with no mistakes in it yet, as you used to say yourself. Just come downstairs and have your supper. You’ll see if a good cup of tea and those plum puffs I made today won’t hearten you up."

At first, Anne cannot take Marilla’s words to heart, and she responds, "Plum puffs won’t minister to a mind diseased." But, in the end, Marilla’s words and her delicious plum puffs worked wonders, and Anne did hearten up over their cheerful supper. Then Anne "had a good sleep that night and awakened in the morning to find herself and the world transformed."

As she got dressed for the new day, Anne sings,

"Every morn is a fresh beginning,
Every morn is the world made new,"

Anne Shirley believed that the world could transform over night. Isn’t it nice to think of a new, fresh day with no flaws, blunders, or misunderstandings? No matter how bad a mistake might feel, one can start fresh and begin again tomorrow.

Image credit:

Drawing of Anne Shirley running down a red road on Prince Edward Island from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables.

Purchase and read Anne of Green Gables:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables Book Set by L.M. Montgomery

Created January 8, 2024.