Mckenna Grace is stepping into the role of Jan Broberg starting in episode 5 of A Friend of the Family. The young actress spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about her preparation for the role and working alongside Jake Lacy, who plays Jan’s kidnapper Robert “B” Berchtold. Mckenna admitted that it was a “really complicated and layered thing to try and portray.”
Mckenna called Jake “one of the most incredible actors” she’s ever worked with and always felt “so safe” working with him. In order to dive deeper into Jan and B’s complex relationship, she would read Jan’s old diary entries and the letters written between Jan and B.
“Their entire relationship they were so close, but it was also based off of fear,” Mckenna said. But it’s just Jan didn’t entirely know. Does she love him? She does. She really did love him and care for him so much.”
She added, “I just think that that is what makes it so much more heartbreaking, [which] is that she really did care about him and trust him. That’s why it’s just so important to look out for these things and to be able to have an awareness and know these types of stories. But it was a really complicated thing to play and figure out with Jake, but I’m so lucky to have had Jake as a scene partner and a co-worker, and a friend and to be able to talk with Jan about it.”
Jan, whose real-life story is the basis for the show, serves as a producer on the series. Mckenna admitted that she “wanted to be close” to Jan to be able to portray her properly.
“That was my biggest thing signing onto the role was making sure that she was a big part of telling the story and making sure that she was okay with it,” Mckenna said. “I wanted to make sure that everything that I was doing was right for her because playing a real-life person is already scary, but it meant a lot how open and honest she was with me and how open and honest she was with all of us. It was amazing. All of us would talk about it on set after talking to Jan or after having her come and visit set and talk to all of us. She’s just so well-spoken and brilliant and strong. It’s amazing to see. She’s such a cool person, and I’m so happy to have her in my life just in general. Not even with playing her… I’m just happy to know her.”
The Peacock series chronicles the Broberg family as Jan is kidnapped multiple times over a period of years by their charismatic, obsessed family friend. B weaved a tangled web that impacted so many people around him.
Mckenna noted that she’s “honored” to be a part of something that is not only telling her story but also creating an awareness. Watching this, I hope people learn a lot about manipulators and about these types of people because it’s very easy to sit back and watch something and say, ‘If that happened, if that was me, this would have never happened. I would have never made that decision.’ That’s so easy to say and to judge someone based off of what you hear. But honestly, you never know. It could happen to any of us from anyone that we know. I hope that watching the show that people will learn.” New episodes of A Friend of the Family drop Thursdays on Peacock.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.