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Martin Sheen stars in PBS’ ‘Anne of Green Gables’

Martin Sheen stars in PBS' new version of the children's classic. Credit: PBS

By ,> > > ,> > Martin Sheen says he believes many young people aren�t familiar with his work, but that�s likely to change this Thanksgiving.The Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning veteran actor who played President Josiah Bartlet on �The West Wing�� and now co-stars in the Netflix comedy �Grace & Frankie,�� is adding a television credit sure to be appreciated by all ages. In a new PBS version of the classic Lucy Maud Montgomery story �Anne of Green Gables�� (Friday at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on WNET/13), Sheen and Canadian talent Sara Botsford portray Prince Edward Island siblings who take in spirited orphan Anne Shirley (Ella Ballentine). She has a major effect on them and vice versa in the tale, which includes Montgomery�s granddaughter Kate Macdonald Butler among its executive producers.�I didn�t realize how revered this character is until I came here,�� Sheen says of his role as the quietly benevolent Matthew Cuthbert during production in Canada. �I�m really the only person in the cast who�s from the United States, and everyone here is enamored of this great, classic literary work. I�m new to the bargain, but they�ve been very generous in their support and their praise.��In turn, Sheen has high praise for young actress Ballentine as the new Anne. �Oh, well, I adore Ella,�� he says. �She�s very much a modern teenager, yet she still has a strong discipline. She�s no child, she�s a professional actress, and she has the bulk of the work here. She�s in practically every scene, and she has tons of dialogue. She�s on the mark every day, though she has very long hours; she has schooling as well, and she�s been an extraordinary colleague. I�m just so deeply moved and impressed by her.��Sheen also enjoyed working with Botsford, particularly in enacting a brother and sister of that age: �They both are confirmed bachelors, I guess. They gave up on any aspiration they ever had of having their own families, so when Anne comes in, she really churns up a lot of feelings that have laid dormant with these old folks for all their adult lives. This firebrand gives them the blessing of her presence, and gives them an opportunity to grow in ways they could not possibly have known before she got there.��


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