BBC One’s two-part adaptation of The Miniaturist is set in 17th century Holland

Did you read Jessie Burton’s novel?

Yes, shortly after it came out and I thought it was really interesting, with very strong feminist themes.

Time passed and then an email popped into my inbox with the subject, The Miniaturist. I was very excited!

What is it all about?

It’s about a woman coming into her own in a society that’s very patriarchal. It’s about a love affair, discrimination, survival in an incredibly controlled state.

It’s also a thriller and story about political and emotional awakening. Tell us about your character Because the story is told through her sister-in-law Nella’s eyes [Anya Taylor-Joy], you meet a woman who seems very cold and intimidating.

Then gradually you get this drip-feed of information about her; you see she’s been helping her wealthy merchant brother Johannes Brandt run the business.

You learn that they were orphaned at a young age. She’s very intellectual, well read and not married – very unusual at the time.

What makes this story so exciting?

The house they live in is essentially a tinder box of secrets that Marin has been sitting on.

Marin needs Nella to maintain the appearance of it being a normal household but it’s also very important that Nella is afraid of her so that she doesn’t try digging and discovering the secrets that they are all trying to keep. Because if anyone finds out then their futures are ruined.

Did you get bored wearing the same costume every day?

I had to wear a black cap all the time and I couldn’t really hear what anyone was saying. And I talked incredibly loudly because I couldn’t hear myself, so essentially I was shouting at the other actors!

I only had one costume until a very late stage of the story.

It is typical of the Puritan values from that period [1686] which rejected anything that smacked of luxury.

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