Fredericton — Following the recent success of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and CBC’s Alias Grace, two television adaptations of works by acclaimed Canadian author Margaret Atwood, the Government of New Brunswick hopes to get in on the action.
“It seems like everybody wants to get some of that hot, steamy Atwood action lately,” Premier Brian Gallant told The Manatee yesterday. “So it wasn’t easy for us to get our grubby, sweaty hands on her fertile assets.”
He slapped his desk and bit his lower lip before adding, “Goddamn, is she ever an attractive woman.”
Continuing their philosophy of quantity over quality, Gallant’s government has purchased the exclusive television rights to three of Atwood’s lesser known works.
In hopes of having both series launched before 2018, the province quickly hired local filmmaker Andrew Walker to handle the projects.
“When they first asked me to head this project, I thought, shoot, this is a heck of a step up from doing online unboxing videos for Northern Exposure DVDs,” said Walker, chuckling to himself.
He stopped to think for a moment. “Turns out it wasn’t, really.”
The first adaptation, shot in Newcastle in late August, is a serialized narrative about Stinky the Skunk and his “big, smelly butt,” which, Walker says, is “always getting him into trouble.”
“There is a really solid story arc running through these first few episodes,” said Walker. “You would never guess that she was only six when she wrote it.”
The second series, which was shot concurrently in Shediac, is an eight-episode reworking of her weekly grocery list.
“For that one, we just got a local actress to dress up like a shopping cart and read out the list,” Walker explained. “That one kind of sucks, but don’t tell anyone I said that.”
Starting Nov. 3, new episodes of the first series will be posted to www2.gnb.ca every Friday. They will be accessible to any Canadian subscriber of the newly created streaming service Brunsflix. As of yet, the Atwood programs are the only content generated for the platform, which is currently priced at $29.99 a month.
If these first two series prove successful, then Walker says that they will rush into production on the third and final Atwood property acquired by the province, her 2008 Looney Tunes wall calendar.
“We see it as sort of an autobiography, in a way,” he said. “It allows us to piece together, day by day, her life between January 2008 and February 2009, since it has those two extra months at the end — Tweety and Foghorn Leghorn.”
He continued, drawing comparisons to Atwood’s other famous works. “We consider that a huge bonus. Remember the famous epilogue in The Handmaid’s Tale? It’s kind of like that, I think. I dunno, I never read it.”