Behind-the-scenes of 'Anne Frank,' ABC's controversial miniseries

By Alice M. Lee
May 11, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Anne Frank

type
  • TV Show
Genre

Those familiar with Anne Frank’s famed diary know that it concludes with the Nazis finding the 15-year-old and her family in a Netherlands hideaway — but there’s much more to the story. ”Anything on Anne Frank ends rather meekly with them leaving the attic,” says Ben Kingsley, who plays Anne’s father, Otto, in ABC’s miniseries Anne Frank (premiering May 20). ”That is not how it ended at all. It ended horribly.”

Based on Melissa Muller’s 1998 biography, the movie profiles Frank (14-year-old Hannah Taylor Gordon) from her childhood to her final days at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The idea was ”to draw the Anne before she went into hiding and the entire canvas of what wasn’t in the original versions,” says exec producer Hans Proppe, who took over after Steven Spielberg vacated the post in deference to the Anne Frank Foundation, which owns the diary’s rights and hasn’t sanctioned ABC’s project. (As a result, the film can’t directly quote Frank’s journal.)

”I didn’t really know who she was,” admits Gordon (Jakob the Liar). ”But after playing her, I really feel that I could talk to her.” The role also found Gordon braving her first screen kiss (with costar Nick Audsley). Says the actress: ”Everyone was smiling and saying ‘Ohhh, that was so lovely,’ and it was just like ‘Uhhhh!”’

Upping the discomfort factor was the 60-day shoot in wintry Prague. ”It was cold and miserable,” says Brenda Blethyn (fellow attic dweller Auguste van Pels). ”But at the end of the day, we’d go to our trailer and get warmed up. That’s where it hits you: Those people had to tolerate it. It’s just terribly heartbreaking.”

Anne Frank

type
  • TV Show
Genre
Premiere
  • 05/20/01-05/21/01
Status
  • In Season
Performers
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  • Anne Frank
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