So Lainey emails this morning to see if this is an article I’m interested in writing. Which is exactly the way it goes any other day, with any other article, except that the subject heading wasn’t “This?” or “Do you care?”
The subject heading was “Anne Shirley”.
SO FORMAL. As though it wouldn’t do to address Anne with any but the utmost seriousness. But she’s not alone. This is serious business. The Anne of Green Gables musical is an enterprise in itself. All of Anne is. Remember a couple of years ago, when there was a proposal to run two competing Anne shows in Charlottetown? I thought it was going to come to fisticuffs.
As it is, the musical has been running in PEI since time began (actually 1965), though I saw it in Toronto circa 1992. “Who wants to put their shoes on/not me, my friend” was the line I remember most clearly. It’s just been announced they’re going to turn the musical into a movie – in fact, one of the producers is the daughter of one of the musical’s authors. So I can bet there will be faithfulness to the play but...in this age of franchises and adaptations and going to see the movie six times in the theatre – is Anne going to hold up?
I mean, of course Anne holds up on screen, we know that. The original TV movies (we won’t speak of the abomination that is the 3rd non-canon one, nor any newfangled remakes) are so spectacular still that I got distracted reading transcripts of them while I was writing this article.
But still – that was a time before On Demand and Netflix marathons and Girls. Is Anne misfit enough for today’s youth? Will there be enough of a new fan base to make it worth it? There is not going to be a hint of sex or impropriety. Puffed sleeves will necessarily still be a plot point. If we go musical, which I assume is a possibility, is it going to capture the same spirit that High School Musical did if the songs are about broken slates and carrots?
Am I cynical today? Maybe a little. I will go see this movie several times, of course, because if it’s a musical, then it’s obvious why, as I would have loved Pitch Perfect without any of the boob jokes. And if it isn’t, then I guess the question is, can they find an Anne?
Megan Follows is 45 and people are still clamoring for her return. Can it be done again? Or has the moment for Anne kind of passed?
I mean, it’s not just because everyone (really me) is asqueal about Julia today that I say this, but really, maybe compelling redheads come along once in a generation, if that. I assume they will be casting a real redhead, of course. No dye job is going to cut it here. All you teen gingers out there ought to bone up on your earnestness and see if maybe you can gear up to take on such a high-attention, truly beloved role.