“A Small Light” tells the story of the Frank family from an entirely new perspective. The 8-part mini series stars Liev Schreiber, Bel Pawley, Billie Boullet and more. It premieres May 1st on Nat Geo, then will be available on Hulu and Disney+.
Most everyone knows the beautiful and tragic story of Anne Frank and her diary. What many don’t know, is that her diary wouldn’t exist without a young woman who worked for Anne’s father, named Miep Gies. Based on an inspiring true story, Miep Gies was young Dutch woman who was lighthearted and opinionated (just remember having opinions during the reign of Hitler most certainly could get one killed). Miep’s boss, Otto Frank asked her to help hide his family from the Nazis during WWII, which would be a hard decision for most but not for Miep – she knew it didn’t take special person to do the right thing. Miep and her husband Jan Gies, along with a few other helpers, provided them with food, clothing, and other necessities, and kept their hiding place a secret. They risked their own lives to do so, as helping Jewish people was punishable by death under Nazi rule.
Miep and Jan continued to care for the Franks and the other occupants of the hiding place for two years, until they were discovered and arrested by the Nazis in 1944. Miep managed to save Anne’s diary from the hiding place and gave it to Otto Frank after the war. The diary was eventually published as “The Diary of Anne Frank” and has become one of the most widely read and influential books in the world.
After the war, Miep continued to work for Otto Frank and his family and remained a close friend to them. She received numerous honors for her bravery, including the Order of Merit from the German government and the Yad Vashem Medal from the Israeli government.
A Small Light Interviews:
Join Pop Style TV at the New York City premiere of A Small Light premiering on Nat Geo May 1st. A Small Light is a story of Miep Gies, the woman who hid the Frank family during World War II.
Hello, Bel. You look absolutely stunning tonight. I mean, is this the role of a lifetime, or what?
Yeah, it is. I’ve been working for 15 years. People, most of my career haven’t been making shows about people like Miep. It’s really an honor to play her, and finally, people are interested in making shows about women.
No, I love it, and I love you in the Morning Show. You’re my favorite character.
Why do you think it was so important to tell the story from this perspective?
Because it’s new and it’s one of those stories that we have to find new ways to tell it and I mean, the diary wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Miep. I think they’re, as we can see, these things have a way of repeating themselves, and so being able to recognize the patterns and know how our humanity triumphed in the past and can triumph again, I think is a really great message.
I mean, this is an incredible role. How did you even manage to get into character and out of character day after day shooting this?
You know what, that was a bit difficult, I won’t lie. What I tried to do, I just tried to do as much research as I could. I really looked into her diary. Audrey booked it and read it as much as I could. I also got my mom to read me it as well, so I could just have it from three different blur versions.
I also decided not to look at any other interpretation of Anne. I wanted it to be true to myself, and I also decided not to read Miep’s autobiography because I didn’t want her perspective on Anne to sway me in any way. So really, I just tried to get into her mindset and the way she thought and thought about things and how different things trigger her. That’s how I really went into route with it.
To click off, I mean, that one was hard. I’d say some days I really didn’t, and it was hard to leave her behind. But I mean, being definitely with Ashley and the amazing cast that was around me, you get to do things that are just a bit different that Anne wouldn’t do necessarily. It was easier just to switch off from it, and it’s something, obviously I’ve learnt. I’ve done theater growing up and many different things, so I’ve learnt the skill to switch off from the character quite easily. So it’s a skill.