Romola Garai on The Miniaturist's Marin: "She’s full of secrets, she's layered; very conflicted"
The Miniaturist - BBC One's two-part adaptation of Jessie Burton’s internationally best selling novel
Interview with Romola Garai, who plays Marin Brandt in The Miniaturist.
What attracted you to the role of Marin?
It’s a very genre-bending novel; it appears to be like a costume drama we have seen before, but very quickly we realise that it’s not that. It’s about a woman coming into her own in a society that’s very patriarchal, it’s about a love affair, it’s about discrimination, and it’s about people trying to survive in an incredibly controlled state. It’s a thriller and it’s also a story about political and emotional awakening.
Marin is a particularly interesting character, I think she has one of the best arcs. When I first read the book, she was the character that stayed with me, and when I read the scripts I immediately remembered everything about her. She’s told in beautiful detail in the novel, which John has retained in the script. Marin is just a great character to play, it was a real treat.
Tell us about Marin.
One of the reasons I found her such a fascinating character is that she’s full of secrets and she's layered; very conflicted and has great faith, but also passions. The house they live in is essentially a tinder box of secrets that Marin has been sitting on to try and stop the secrets exploding out. However although it seems she is trying to keep a lid on it I think she believes that they could subtly break all the rules and be free within the house at least, if only her brother stopped acting so recklessly.
Hopefully audiences will question what is driving her hostility towards Nella. Marin needs Nella a lot to maintain the appearance of 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.
What was it like doing the scenes between Marin and Nella?
Tell us about Marin’s costume.
What makes The Miniaturist stand out from other period dramas?
I hope people will sit down to watch the show because it’s a pretty costume drama and will be surprised that it is actually rebellious and constantly bringing up important issues - and that they’ll be so engaged they won’t be able to look away.
The Minaturist will be shown on BBC One in late December 2017. Watch the trailer for the book below (not the BBC series):
December 2, 2017 7:59am ET by BBC One