A new movie version of Miriam Toews’ Kirkus-starred 2014 novel, All My Puny Sorrows, has started production in Ontario, according to Deadline. The film stars Sarah Gadon and The Newsroom’s Alison Pill, with Mare Winningham, Gotham’s Donal Logue, and Anne with an E’s Amybeth McNulty co-starring. No prospective release date was announced at this early stage.
The novel tells the story of two sisters who grew up in a small Canadian town where their progressive family faced disapproval from strict Mennonite elders. Yolandi Von Riesen went on to be a professional author of books about a female rodeo rider, and her sister, Elfrieda, is now a concert pianist who suffers from suicidal depression, just as their late father did. Yoli goes to visit Elf after the latter tries to kill herself, and the writer looks back over their eventful, difficult lives. Kirkus’ review called it a “masterful, original investigation into love, loss and survival.”
Gadon and Pill, who are both Canadian, star as the sisters, although it was not announced which role each actor will play. Gadon may be best known for her role as the titular murderer in Alias Grace, the 2017 CBC/Netflix miniseries of Margaret Atwood’s Kirkus-starred 1996 novel, but she recently gave a wonderful performance as a Patty Hearst–like bank robber in last year’s film American Woman, based on Susan Choi’s 2003 novel. She also appeared in the 2012 movie version of Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel, Cosmopolis, and the Hulu miniseries of Stephen King’s Kirkus-starred time-travel tale, 11/22/63. Pill had a memorable supporting role in the 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, based on the graphic-novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
Canadian filmmaker Michael McGowan will write and direct All My Puny Sorrows, and it will be his first book adaptation. His most recent project was the 2015 Netflix SF TV series Between, which he created. Toews’ latest novel, Women Talking, was published in the United States last year and also received a Kirkus Star.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.