After an extensive global casting search, fourteen-year-old Irish Canadian actress Amybeth McNulty has been cast as the precocious and imaginative Anne Shirley in Anne, the eight-episode drama series for Netflix and Canada’s CBC. Also cast in the series, based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic novel Anne of Green Gables, are Geraldine James and R.H. Thomson. The show, produced by Northwood Entertainment, is in production in Ontario, Canada after early filming in Prince Edward Island.

Irish-born McNulty was picked after the producers saw over 1,889 girls from around the globe for the role of Anne.

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“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 breathtaking,” said executive producer/showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett. “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 love and acceptance and her place in the world. The series centers on a young orphaned girl in the late 1890s who, after an abusive childhood spent in orphanages and the homes of strangers, is mistakenly sent to live with an aging sister and brother, Marilla and Matthew Cuthber, played by Jamels and Thomson. Over time, 13-year-old Anne will transform their lives and eventually the entire small town in which they live with her unique spirit, fierce intellect and brilliant imagination.

McNulty started acting at the early age of six. She has appeared in the feature film Morgan starring Kate Mara and in the TV series’ Agatha Raisin for Sky and The Sparticle Mystery for CBBC in the UK. She also starred in London’s Regent’s Park production of The Sound of Music. She is repped by The Lisa Richards Agency.

The classic Anne of Green Gables has seen scores of adaptations over the years, with the Anne Shirley character played by actresses beginning with Mary Miles Minter in the first appearance of the character in the 1919 silent film Anne of Green Gables. More recently the role has been played by Megan Follows in three of the four CBC Television film adaptations by Kevin Sullivan, and Barbara Hershey playing the character in the fourth. In 2005, Sullivan produced an animated reimagining of the story with McKenzie Sullivan providing the voice of Anne; and most recently this year, Ella Ballentine starred as Anne Shirley in Canadian film L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad, Flesh & Bone) is penning the entire first season of Anne and executive produces alongside Miranda de Pencier. Niki Caro is helming the two-hour premiere episode.