Louise Penny walked the red carpet at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal on Thursday evening for the world premiere of Three Pines, a television show on Amazon Prime based on her popular series of mystery novels set around the life of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.
The show, according to its description on IMDb, follows Gamache “as he investigates cases beneath the idyllic surface of the Quebec village, Three Pines, finding long-buried secrets and facing a few ghosts of his own.” Three Pines also features several well-known Canadian actors.
The Amazon original stars Alfred Molina as the kind-hearted Gamache, a chief inspector for the SQ, Rossif Sutherland as Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Gamache’s protégée, and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, as Isabelle Lacoste, an Indigenous woman navigating her role within the SQ.
Penny told The Record faithful readers of her mystery novels will notice a difference in tone, sharing Three Pines is “a little bit darker.” However, she continued, like her novels, the show evolves, characters grow and change, and eventually the villagers begin to accept Gamache.
“There are some elements that are sort of in evolution that I would have liked Three Pines to be more representative of my books, but you know how it grows. You look at my books to begin with, Three Pines isn’t necessarily exactly the same village as it became later on,” Penny explained.
Asked about her experience working on the show, alongside showrunner and writer Emilia di Girolamo, Penny noted there was a lot of tension, shouting and fighting throughout the development process. This is her first experience working on television show, she continued.
Penny has previously had one of her novels, Still Life, adapted into a movie. However, she said, that “wasn’t the happiest of experiences.” But she also told The Record it was a blast working with Left Bank Pictures, who also produced The Crown. She called them the “gold standard.”
She used the same words to describe Molina, an actor with decades of experience under his belt and dozens of film and TV credits to his name. While she has bumped heads with the showrunner on occasion, it’s only natural to Penny, given her love for the world she created.
“I’m not totally sure as a writer I’ll ever have a completely happy experience just because I’m so wedded to these characters. It’s difficult to let them go and of course, the filmmakers have a perfect right to create their own version of the characters,” Penny told The Record in Montreal.