Mckenna Grace interview: ‘A Friend of the Family’
“I learned so much about myself and about acting, because I had to push myself to places that I hadn’t gone before,” reveals Emmy-nominated actor Mckenna Grace (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) about her role in the nine-episode limited series “A Friend of the Family.” For our recent webchat she adds, “It was really emotionally and sometimes physically exhausting. But I am just so proud to have gotten to tell Jan’s story and gotten to play her and portray her story.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
In the Peacock original true crime drama “A Friend of the Family,” which was created by Nick Antosca, Emmy nominee Jake Lacy (“The White Lotus”) portrays Robert “B” Berchtold, a close friend and neighbor of the Brobergs, a close-knit family with strong Christian values that prove to be all too forgiving and naive. In 1974, after B kidnaps their daughter at age 12, he relentlessly pursues a relationship with her and shockingly manipulates his way back into their good graces and then kidnaps her again at age 14. The stranger-than-fiction story co-stars Oscar winner Anna Paquin (“The Piano”) as Mary Ann Broberg, with Emmy nominee Colin Hanks (“Fargo”) playing husband and father Bob Broberg and Grace portraying the teenage version of Jan Broberg in the latter half of the series after newcomer Hendrix Yancey originates the role in the first half of the series, playing Jan as a child.
“One of the scariest things about taking this role was that not only am I playing Jan, a real life person who’s a big part of this production, and telling her family story, but it’s a story that’s really dark and has a lot of heavy subject material,” Grace admits. “I’m also coming in halfway through the shoot because I’m Jan in her older years. So, I’m also coming in after they’ve already gotten to know each other and everybody’s been shooting for two months and developed bonds, so I was terrified,” she says, adding that despite her fears about taking over the role from another actor, she cherished the time they worked together because it reminded the actor of when she would often play the younger version of a character in a film or series. “As a child actor who has played a lot of younger versions of people, it was so exciting for me to have like a younger version of myself. That was mind blowing,” she says. “It was so cool to get to know her and to be able to work with her. There was about a 2 week overlap and I just tried to spend a lot of time and pick up on the little things that she does.”