In the new National Geographic limited series A Small Light, the famous story of The Diary of Anne Frank gets told from a new perspective centered on Miep Gies (Bel Powley), who worked as a secretary to Anne’s father Otto (Liev Schreiber) and hid his family to keep them from being taken by the Nazis.
Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Ashley Brooke, who plays Otto’s older daughter and Anne’s sister Margot, about portraying a real person about whom there’s not all that much known:
“Honestly, I didn’t know that much. And I thought that was a bit odd, because I had Anne’s diary in my room since I was a little girl. I think I read it when I was quite young, so a lot of the details, I think, started to slip my mind as I got older. But I think that’s what happens, that’s why you need stories like these to keep going on, because they’re so important and you do start to forget history. I think a lot of it started from ground zero. I did as much research as I could. What I found a bit difficult was that there weren’t that many firsthand accounts of Margot. You have Anne’s diary, Miep has her account, Anne Frank Remembered¸ which I also read, but I knew they were all perspectives of Margot. Margot actually had a diary of her own. I kept trying to go back to the fact of, what would really be in Margot’s diary?”
She also stressed the significance of an early scene featuring Miep and Margot trying to cross a checkpoint:
“That scene definitely sets the tone of the project in a certain way. There’s a bit of a gravity to it. I think, for me, tapping into that emotion was all in the writing. That’s just a testimony to Joan and Tony, who are the showrunners. Really, it was all on the page, what we were trying to do with that scene. We knew how nerve-wracking this moment was. What I found so lovely was how there are these bits of light moments as they’re trying to pass this checkpoint that are almost a little funny to be saying at a time like this. But if you think about it, when you’re really nervous, sometimes you say weird and out of place things.”
Watch the full conversation below.
The first two episodes of A Small Light premiere Monday, May 1st at 9pm on National Geographic. New episodes debut every Monday and will stream the next day on Disney+.