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A Small Light’s Liev Schreiber breaks down his unrecognisable transformation into Otto Frank

A Small Light, which premieres on Disney+ tomorrow (May 2), follows Miep Gies, who helped hide Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis during World War II.

Ray Donovan and The French Dispatch actor Liev Schreiber plays Anne's father Otto Frank, although you'd be hard pressed to recognise him due to a combination of prosthetics and body language.

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy about how his physicality transformed after three hours in the makeup chair, Schreiber said: "Having all that latex applied to your head will change you in many ways – visually, emotionally, and spiritually. But, you know, I had a great scene partner in Bel [Powley, who plays Miep]. Sometimes, acting really is like tennis, and she hits the ball remarkably well.

liev schreiber, a small light
liev schreiber, a small light

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"I think there was a piece early on about Otto's being German that touched me, that he was proud of being German, and that that was his identity. And just because he's Jewish, he's forced to be Jewish. And that's a horrible thing, to be forced to be something that you don't identify with. He wasn't a particularly religious person. He was very proud of being German. He loved the clothes, he loved the food, he loved the life.

"But it was taken away from him because someone said, 'No, you're a Jew. You will only ever be a Jew.' And that piece felt powerful to me. I remember when I was a kid, and my mom told me about the Holocaust, I remember thinking to myself, 'Why couldn’t I just say I’m not Jewish?'"

bel powley, a small light
Disney+

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He continued: "It was such an innocent thing to say, but so helpful. 'But why do I have to be that? Couldn’t I be something else?' No, you have to be that.

"And that sort of comes full circle, and you say, 'I want to be that and… I want to be proud to be that, but I also want to be this.' I'm actually a ballplayer – or I'm actually a cook – or I'm actually a talented musician."

A Small Light drops on Disney+ on May 2, following its premiere on National Geographic.

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