LONDON, UK (April 19) – This evening, Disney+ hosted the UK premiere and Q&A for the highly anticipated National Geographic Limited series A Small Light. Stars Bel Powley (Miep Gies), Liev Schreiber (Otto Frank), showrunners Joan Rater and Tony Phelan, and director Susanna Fogel, all joined the Q&A on stage hosted by Natasha Kaplinsky.
A Small Light launches exclusively on Disney+ in the UK and Ireland on 2 May, with two episodes released weekly. Guests watched a preview of the first two episodes.
Additional cast at the event included Billie Boullet (Anne Frank), Amira Casar (Edith Frank), Ashley Brooke (Margot Frank), and Rudi Goodman (Peter van Pels). Other notable attendees included actors Douglas Booth (The Dirt, Mary Shelley), Sharon Horgan (Bad Sisters, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), Damien Molony (The Split, Brassic), presenters Ray Mears and Antoni Porowski, influencers Lily Pebbles, Amber Doig Thorne, Laura Pradelska, Ramzan Miah and India Harl, and historian Alice Loxton.
The series was discussed in depth by Natasha Kaplinsky, who received an OBE for her services to the Holocaust Commission. Opening the Q&A, Natasha said “It is going to reach an audience who may not know what happened within touching distance of our lives.”
Reflecting on her character, Miep, Bel Powley said, “I had to keep reminding myself that she really didn’t want to be put on a pedestal. That helped with the pressure and responsibility involved in playing a real person.” If she met her, Bel said that she’d ask, “how did I do? How did you do that? How were you so brave?” adding that she “would have loved to have met her.”
When asked why he chose to play Otto Frank, Liev Schreiber explained that “we’ve got to find a way to tell these stories to our kids. To find a way to remove some of that veneer, that gravitas, without being disrespectful to our grandparents. I went to school here (in the UK), and they say that we Americans wear our hearts on our sleeves. I really appreciate that idea, that suggestion that we’re all hardwired to do the right thing.”
On how she developed a story like this for the screen, director Susanna Fogel said, “we didn’t want to feel like we were making an oil painting out of every shot. These characters didn’t know the ending, they’re just putting one foot in front of the other, arguing with their friends, on either side of the bookcase.”
Joan Rater, executive producer and co-showrunner, noted that the team “wanted to show [Miep] as a human being. [We] wanted to see the moments of fear, and ‘oh god what have I done’. She said yes, and continued to say yes, even when she was scared, or tired, or didn’t want to.”
Based on an inspiring true story, Miep Gies was young, carefree and opinionated — at a time when opinions got you killed ― when Otto Frank asked her to help hide his family from the Nazis during WWII. Told with a modern sensibility, A Small Light shakes the cobwebs off history and makes Miep’s story more relevant than ever, forcing audiences to ask themselves what they would have done in Miep’s shoes; and in modern times, asking if they would have the courage to stand up to hatred. Some stood by, Miep stood up.
A Small Light is produced by ABC Signature and Keshet Studios for National Geographic. Executive producers and writers Joan Rater and Tony Phelan (ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, CBS’ Fire Country) serve as showrunners, DGA Award-winner and Emmy®-nominated executive producer Susanna Fogel (The Flight Attendant, Cat Person) directs multiple episodes, including the pilot, and William Harper executive-produces. For Keshet Studios executive producers are Peter Traugott and Lisa Roos, Alon Shtruzman for Keshet International, and Avi Nir for Keshet Media Group.
(Credit: Dave Benett, Getty for Disney+).
A SMALL LIGHT launches exclusively on Disney+ in the UK and Ireland on 2 May, with two episodes released weekly
Hashtag: #DisneyPlus #ASmallLight
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About National Geographic Content
Award-winning and critically acclaimed National Geographic Content, part of a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, creates and delivers riveting stories and experiences in natural history, science, adventure and exploration. Inspiring a deeper connection to the world, the content studio reaches 300 million people worldwide in 180 countries and 33 languages across the global National Geographic channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO), National Geographic Documentary Films, and direct-to-consumer platforms Disney+ and Hulu. Its diverse content includes Emmy® Award-winning franchise Genius, series Life Below Zero and Secrets of the Whales, and Oscar®- and BAFTA award-winning film Free Solo. In 2022, National Geographic Content was awarded eight News and Documentary Emmys, in addition to Life Below Zero’s Emmy win for Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program, it’s sixth Emmy overall. For more information, visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or follow Nat Geo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
About ABC Signature
One of the Disney Television Studios, ABC Signature produces many of ABC Entertainment’s most significant hits, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Station 19”; co-productions “The Good Doctor,” “A Million Little Things,” “The Rookie,” “The Rookie: Feds” and “Home Economics,” and late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” ABC Signature’s returning and upcoming series include “grown-ish” and “The Watchful Eye” for Freeform; “Godfather of Harlem” for MGM+; “Bad Sisters” and “Five Days at Memorial” for Apple TV+; “Fleishman Is In Trouble” for FX; “Reasonable Doubt” and “This Fool” for Hulu. For streaming service Disney +, series include “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,” “Big Shot,” “National Treasure: Edge of History” and the upcoming “Muppets Mayhem.”
About Keshet Studios
With offices in Los Angeles and New York, Keshet Studios is Keshet International’s (KI) US-based production arm, providing an international platform for distinct US voices, stories and talent. The studio draws on KI’s extensive catalogue, as well as its wide network of connections, to develop, produce and package content for the US and international marketplaces. As part of its ongoing production pact and first-look deal with Universal Television (UTV), Keshet Studios is co-producing the Fall hit La Brea (NBC) and David E Kelley’s The Missing (Peacock), while also co-developing several projects for various buyers, including After School Special, Ties That Bind, and The Stuntwoman with UTV. It is also shooting Echo 3, the US adaptation of Keshet’s When Heroes Fly, for Apple TV+.