Disney+ announced TODAY that Bel Powley (“The Morning Show”) as the protagonist, Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) and Joe Cole (“Peaky Blinders”) will star in National Geographic’s fact-based, scripted series ” A Small Light.”
Produced by ABC Signature in partnership with Keshet Studios, “A Small Light” will focus on the real-life story of Miep Gies, who played a vital role in the cover-up of Anne Frank and her family. Previously announced, executive producers and writers Joan Rater and Tony Phelan (“ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy,” “Council of Dads”) will serve as showrunners and executive producer Susanna Fogel (“The Flight Attendant,” “Cat Person”) will direct. several episodes including the pilot. Principal photography will begin this summer 2022 in Prague and Amsterdam.
The powerful eight-episode limited series tells the remarkable story of twenty-something secretary Miep Gies (Bel Powley), who didn’t hesitate when her boss Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber) asked her to hide it. , he and his family, to the Nazis during World War II. For the next two years, Miep, her husband Jan (Joe Cole), and several other everyday heroes watched over the eight souls hidden in the Secret Annex.
It was Miep who found Anne’s diary and saved it so she and Otto could later share it with the world. The title of the series comes from something Gies said late in life: “I don’t like being called a hero because no one should ever think you have to be special to help others. Even an ordinary secretary, a housewife or teenager can turn on a small light in a dark room.”
Powley will play Miep Gies, Otto Frank’s loyal, funny, outspoken, and utterly ordinary secretary. While Anne Frank was writing her beautiful coming-of-age story in the annex, Miep was living hers on the other side of the secret library. Miep hid his heroic work from friends and family while struggling with the daily pressures of work, daily wartime life under Nazi occupation, and a new marriage. Gies, who died in 2010 at the age of 100, was an unlikely heroine whose inspiring story is timeless and deeply humanistic.
Schreiber will play Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father, who fled Germany in the 1930s when the rise to power of the Nazis made life dangerous for Jews. Otto remained the most optimistic member of the hidden: he was the rock, the father figure, the boss. After the war, he maintained this optimism upon his return from Auschwitz and waited for his daughters to return. When he learned that they were both dead, it was Miep who gave him Anne’s diary which she had saved from the hands of the Nazis.
Cole will play Jan Gies, Miep’s bold and devoted husband. A social worker in war-torn Amsterdam, Jan was uniquely placed to serve those most affected by the Nazi occupation, including Jews. For two years he helped Miep deal with the Franks and four other people hiding in the attic of Otto’s business, Opekta. As a partner in life and in their secret endeavors, he was Miep’s one and only confidant.
The screenwriters are Rater and Phelan. DGA Award-winning and Emmy®-nominated Fogel will direct the pilot as well as additional episodes. Executive producers are Rater, Phelan and Fogel; Peter Traugott of Keshet Studios; Alon Shtruzman of Keshet International; and Avi Nir of Keshet Media Group.
Powley is represented by Curtis Brown, UTA and Jackoway Austen. Schreiber is represented by Untitled and UTA. Cole is represented by B-Side Management and WME.
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National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content through an unparalleled portfolio multimedia assets. NGP combines National Geographic’s global television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic media and consumer assets, including National Geographic magazines.