Miep Gies, played by Bel Powley, and Otto Frank, played by Liev Schreiber, watch as Nazi soldiers march down the street in Amsterdam. (Photo credit: National Geographic for Disney/Dusan Martincek)
National Geographic has a new limited series celebrating an unsung heroine in the Anne Frank story in A Small Light.
Based on the true story, A Small Light follows the story of Miep Gies, the young woman who hid the Frank family during World War II and preserved Anne’s indelible diary.
During the Television Critics Association, National Geographic presented a behind-the-scenes featurette on the production and actors of the series.
The panelist in attendance included Live Schreiber (Otto Frank), Bel Powley (Miep Gies), Joe Cole (Jan Gies), creator/showrunner Tony Phelan, creator/showrunner Joan Rater, and executive producer/director Susanna Fogel.
“We started this project about six years ago; Miep gave a lot of interviews in that past that was translated and did our research,” explained creator and showrunner Tony Phelan on the story research.
Bel Powley explained why she was eager to play the main character.
“I loved this story and script. Miep is an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. Before she was put in that situation, she was a normal young girl. She’s a party girl. She loves dancing. She’s a fiercely independent young woman, and I can relate. It’s about finding the humanity in it,” said Powley, who portrays Miep Gies.
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“That’s the journey of the series. When Miep was asked to be saved by Otto, she did it right away. Not everyone would. That drives us to understand that a 4’11 blue-collared woman, recently married, said yes for two years,” said showrunner and creator Joan Rater. “She was an immigrant and bonded with Otto [Frank]. It was needed to be told.”
“I have a personal connection to this story. The retelling of these stories to make it fresh and compelling,” said Powley, who is also Jewish. “We need to make this relatable and know being banged on the head with historical facts.”
“As a Jewish American who gets offered a lot of Holocaust stuff. It’s my job to reinvent. Whatever you think you know about this story, I’m going to try to figure out something that you haven’t seen yet, “said Liev Schreiber, who is also Jewish and portrays Otto Frank. “This is not the Anne Frank story taught in elementary school. It gives you a broader perspective on what it means to be Jewish.”
A Small Light premieres in the spring on National Geographic and Disney+.
Watch the featurette below. Let us know what you think of it.
Source: National Geographic