Summary
Novel to Screenplay
On Location
Relationships on the Set
Actors on their Roles
Applause and Awards
Film Stills
Publicity Poses
Candid Shots
Wallpapers

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES: THE SEQUEL (1987)

Summary

Released in 1987, Kevin Sullivan's "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel" (also known as "Anne of Avonlea") is a worthy adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery's novel, Anne of Avonlea, continuing where the first installment, "Anne of Green Gables" ends. In this sequel, Anne Shirley leaves Avonlea to become a schoolteacher at a ladies college, after Diana Barry's marriage and Gilbert Blythe's departure for medical school. While at the school, Anne faces a number of challenges from a weathy family of Pringles, a stern principal determined to sour Anne's cheerful outlook on life, as well as a proposal from a dashing Morgan Harris! This is a rare sequel that rivals the humor, emotion, and elegance of its predecessor. Megan Follows returns to her memorable role as Anne, while Colleen Dewhurst (Marilla Cuthbert), Jonathan Crombie (Gilbert Blythe) and Schuyler Grant (Diana Barry) reprise their familiar characters. Oscar-winning actress Dame Wendy Hiller appears as the prickly Mrs. Harris, matriarch of the Pringle clan.

This film is made for television and not rated.


From Novel to Screenplay

Surprised by the popularity of the first "Anne of Green Gables" miniseries, screenwriter/director/producer Kevin Sullivan immediately decided to produce a second installment. However, this time he opted to depart somewhat from author Lucy Maud Montgomery's storyline: "Montgomery's works didn't lend themselves to filmmaking other than the first novel. The Sequel was an original story based on characters and settings from later L. M. Montgomery books." 1 That jumble of plots and subplots is at least partially explained by the fact that "Anne of Avonlea" is a consolidation of the final three novels in Montgomery's series: Anne of Avonlea (1909), Anne of the Island (1915) and Anne of Windy Poplars (1936). As Actress Megan Follows remarks: "Individually, the later books weren't all that good," Follows admits. "They all had interesting things in them, but not enough to sustain an entire mini-series. So they took the best from each and condensed it into a single year." 2 Follows adds: "The best parts are taken out and put together, you see. The first two hours are still the younger Anne; then she moves to Avonlea, and then comes love and romance." 3


On Location

Actress Megan Follows recalls shooting the scene in which Anne and Diana chase a jersey cow and end up falling into a heap of mud: "They wanted to have a stunt double actually do the fall and then I'd have mud painted onto my face for the rest of the scene. But I wanted to do it myself, so there I go flopping into the mud. When I came up, the mud had formed a perfect oval that framed my face. It looked more fake than anything any makeup man could've painted on. They ended up having to touch it up so it would look real." 4

The filming of this second "Anne of Green Gables" enterprise turned out to more difficult than the first shoot, since the unexpected success of "Anne of Green Gables" prompted executives to exert more control over the sequel. Even Director/Producer/Screenwriter Kevin Sullivan confesses: "It became a chore." 5

Follows also differed with Sullivan on how to end the second "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel." Their conflicts reportedly delayed shooting for an entire day. In particular, Follows thought the ending, in which Anne finally confesses her love for Gilbert, was rushed: "By the time these two get together, you feel like saying, 'All right, already. Do something.' [Sullivan and I] may not have shared the same vision. ['Anne' is] so much a woman's piece... There were certain things that meant a lot to me that may not have been as important to Kevin. I cared very much about that show. Maybe I cared too much." 6

Follows found it difficult to divide her time between the "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel" set in southern Ontario and the set of at American film, "A Time of Destiny." Follows remarks: "It was pretty hectic. I was taking red-eye flights and staying up thirty-six hours at a time. I got food poisoning on my way back from San Diego once -- I [vomited] my way across the continent back to the set." 7

One of the worst things about filming the second "Anne" installment was having to wear a corset everyday. Follows recalls that she could barely breathe for six hours every day on the set, and that after the shoot completed, she happily burned her corset!

Because of the professional differences between Follows and Sullivan that arose during the filming of the second film, Follows admits that she had not expected to play the beloved Anne Shirley again. Follows remarks: "I, like probably many other people, have gone through some interesting journeys with Mr. Sullivan." 8 However, a decade after the second installment, Follows and Sullivan reconciled. Follows remarks: "At one point [our differences] were resolved, so we were able to move forward." 9Follows even starred in "Under the Piano," a Sullivan Entertainment production between the second and third "Anne" films.


Relationships On and Off the Set

Of her onscreen beau, Jonathan Crombie, Megan Follows affectionately remarks: "Jonathan is an absolute sweetheart. He's not afraid to show that he's vulnerable and nervous. I love his enthusiasm. He made me laugh, which I really needed." 10Follows adds that Crombie is "extremely funny." 11

After the first two "Anne" installments, Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie both starred in the lead roles in the highly acclaimed Stratford Festival's "Romeo and Juliet," except they did not star opposite each other. Follows played Juliet in 1993, and Crombie took on Romeo in 1997. Follows and Crombie also missed each other in promoting the "Anne" films on television. Both volunteered to help out on PBS fund drives. However, an Anne-Gilbert reunion couldn't be scheduled, and they appeared separately.

On the late Colleen Dewhurst, Follows recalls: "I had a wonderful time working with Colleen and I was also fortunate enough to do another project with her later, a film called 'Termini Station.' I've always been incredibly grateful for my time and experience working with her. She was an extraordinary lady." 12


The Actors on Their Roles

Actress Megan Follows remarks of the continued popularity of her character: "People are definitely very attached to, and fond of, that character. There's always been an element of that alive and well in my life. My kids get a sense of that, I guess. But, of course, you can't impress them. As long as I'm a hero to them, that's my main goal." 13

Despite her enduring popularity, Follows adds: "I've never felt weighed down by Anne. What I've found is that she's opened many doors and allowed me to do things I otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to do. It's a tribute to the type of character she is. Within her, there's myriad different things that get to be expressed. She's not really a 'type'; there's a lot of complexity to her, and there are a lot of different types within her personality." 14

Of the "Anne" films, Jonathan Crombie fondly remarks: "[The films] explored very real characters and very real emotions. These characters had the capacity to be cruel, to be loving, to be confused, to be happy, to be selfish, to be generous. But there's also another feeling, where it takes you to another land -- partly because of the scenery, partly because of the different time, and partly because of the way they handled it -- about a girl who, through her imagination, brings you into fairy tales. Everybody, whether they like it or not, has a little bit of that in them. Even the most logical mathematicians have that part that just makes them want to, you know, dance in the [and] pretend that they're a chivalrous knight." 15

Crombie also remarks of the second film: "One of the nice lines in the film is, 'It's not what the world holds out to you, it's what you bring to it.' I really like that. [Through the film] you understand where home is, a part where you don't have to go roaming to mountains, to different worlds, to realize that happiness can be right here with what you're doing and the people you already know. You don't have to be swept off your feet by a knight in shining armor to fall in love. You can fall in love with your best friend... It takes both worlds. Marilla, for whom everything is black and white, gets to learn that there's gray in the middle and some beautiful colors. Anne, through different characters, especially Gilbert, learns that she can keep her imagination." 16

Crombie researched the character of Gilbert and remarks that he was a combination of a few men in L.M. Montgomery's life -- a farm boy she once loved and a scholar she respected.

Although Gilbert fights with Anne in the first film, Crombie remarks that he preferred Gilbert's character in the second film, when he isn't as headstrong and steps back to patiently watch Anne through her growing stages.


Applause, Awards and the Aftermath

Kevin Sullivan remarks that the "Avonlea" miniseries turned out to be a "a huge television event in Canadian history." 17 Both "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Avonlea" remain the highest rated television broadcasts in Canada, with an audience of 5.7 million viewers tuning in for the second installment. The film series has since been aired in over two hundred countries! Actress Megan Follows also won the 1988 Gemini Award (equivalent to an American Emmy Award).

The "Anne" films have boosted tourism in Prince Edward Island to all-time highs and have inspired an entire theme park in Japan! In addition, Sullivan Entertainment continues to receive numerous requests from couples that want to get married on the set.


Film Stills


Publicity Poses


Behind the Scenes and Candid Photos


Desktop Wallpapers


Footnotes: 1. Unknown source; citation pending. 2. Daniel Brogan, "Megan Follows Grows Up with 'Anne' Role," Chicago Tribune (May 19, 1987). 3. Ann Hodges, "Megan Follows Returns as Anne in Encore to 'Green Gables' Hit," Houston Chronicle (April 11, 1987). 4. Brogan, supra. 5. Unknown source; citation pending. 6. Unknown source; citation pending. 7. Unknown source; citation pending. 8. Unknown source; citation pending. 9. Unknown source; citation pending. 10. Unknown source; citation pending. 11. Unknown source; citation pending. 12. Dick Gordon, "Megan Follows' Anne Shirley Comes Home Again," This Morning (March 5, 2000). 13. Unknown source; citation pending. 14. Unknown source; citation pending. 15. Unknown source; citation pending. 16. Unknown source; citation pending. 17. Unknown source; citation pending.