The filming of Anne Frank’s Diary has just finished. Not surprisingly, it’s affected us all very strongly. For six weeks the actors and crew have been closeted in the claustrophobic annexe – three rooms and an attic – that was the Frank family’s hiding place for two years, from 1942 to 1944. It has been reproduced faithfully in a film studio in the East End, and whilst outside the pile drivers have been banging away, laying the foundations of the Olympic city, within those rooms eight people were struggling for survival while Europe was being laid waste around them. Modern bombardments have taken the place of the old ones.
Ellie Kendrick, the young actress playing Anne, has been living in my house during filming. At six in the morning she has been creeping downstairs to be driven to the set; it’s been the strangest sensation, having her in the house. Rather wonderful, really, for I’ve been feeling very close to the actors in their incarceration, and on the last weekend accompanied them to Amsterdam for two days of shooting exteriors – the Frank family’s journey to their hiding place, and Anne’s view of the outside world through the curtains of the annexe. A gigantic rain machine was installed outside the Anne Frank Museum, the streets were roped off, and various extras, including myself and various members of the crew, sauntered around being passers-by and Gestapo officers.
It has rather overwhelmed everything else, but I shall be talking about “Pride and Prejudice” at the Nantes Film Festival on 6 December, if anyone is anywhere near Nantes, and speaking at Adelaide later on in the winter, if anyone happens to be there. No news on Shirley Porter or “Tulip Fever” (no change there, then), and various other script projects lie dormant like the flat rosettes of plants in my flowerbed. “These Foolish Things” might now be shooting next autumn, in India.
And before I forget. “In The Dark”, my latest novel, would make a lovely Christmas present. Nice cover, too.
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