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THE MINIATURIST On MASTERPIECE

Airs Sundays, Sept. 9-23, 2018 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Anya Taylor-Joy as Petronella Brandt

Credit: Courtesy of The Forge/Laurence Cendrowicz for BBC and MASTERPIECE

Above: Anya Taylor-Joy as Petronella Brandt

Special Feature: The Making of The Miniaturist: 6 Surprising Must-Knows

Golden Age Amsterdam comes alive in all its opulence and repressed sensuality in an adaptation of Jessie Burton’s bestselling novel “The Miniaturist,” starring Anya Taylor-Joy ("Split," "The Witch"), Romola Garai ("Churchill’s Secret," THE HOUR) and Alex Hassell (GENIUS: Picasso, "Suburbicon").

Gorgeously filmed on location in The Netherlands and the U.K., the three-part drama airs Sundays, Sept. 9 - 23, 2018 on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

Taylor-Joy plays a young bride who receives mysterious packages from a reclusive maker of miniatures — tiny objects that appear to predict the future.

THE MINIATURIST also features Paapa Essiedu ("A Midsummer Night’s Dream," UTOPIA), Hayley Squires ("I, Daniel Blake," CALL THE MIDWIFE) and Emily Berrington (HUMANS, "The Inbetweeners 2").

THE MINIATURIST Series Preview

Anya Taylor-Joy stars in this adaptation of Jessie Burton’s bestselling novel about a young woman married off to a wealthy merchant in morally conflicted 1600s Amsterdam. THE MINIATURIST premieres Sunday, Sept. 9, 9/8C on MASTERPIECE on PBS. #MiniaturistPBS

Critics were captivated when the miniseries recently aired in the U.K. The Telegraph (London) applauded it as “an evocative, spellbinding drama big on atmosphere,” and in another review compared the production to “a Daphne Du Maurier potboiler as painted by Vermeer.” The Guardian (London) praised THE MINIATURIST as “mesmerizing.”

Set in 1686, when the Dutch Republic was one of the world’s richest and religiously zealous nations, The Miniaturist captures the paradox of extreme wealth combined with puritanical abhorrence of the pleasure that riches make possible.

Petronella Oortman (Taylor-Joy), called Nella, is the unwitting victim of this clash of values. A naïve eighteen-year-old from a bankrupt aristocratic family in the provinces, she is wooed by Johannes Brandt (Hassell), a handsome and prosperous merchant looking for a wife.

Photo credit: Courtesy of The Forge/Laurence Cendrowicz for BBC and MASTERPIECE

Alex Hassell as Johannes Brandt

The two wed, but he dispenses with nuptial intimacies to depart immediately on a business trip, arranging for her to join him at his mansion in Amsterdam a few weeks later.

When Nella arrives, Johannes is still away, leaving her in the care of his grim and overbearing sister, Marin (Garai), and the household’s two controlling servants: the housekeeper Cornelia (Squires) and Otto (Essiedu), a former slave who was freed by Johannes.

THE MINIATURIST: Scene

Petronella Brandt arrives to her eye-opening new life in this scene from Episode 1 of The Miniaturist. See the premiere Sunday, Sept. 9, 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS. #MiniaturistPBS

So begins Nella’s virtual imprisonment in the residence where she had expected to be in charge.

After Johannes returns, he remains emotionally cool to Nella, giving evasive reasons.

Nonetheless, he shows his affection by presenting her with a singular wedding gift: an exquisitely crafted cutaway model of the very house where she is now living, and he instructs her to furnish it as she likes by calling on the services of one of the local makers of miniature objects — a miniaturist.

With nothing else to do, Nella embraces this odd amusement.

Photo credit: Courtesy of The Forge/Laurence Cendrowicz for BBC and MASTERPIECE

Anya Taylor-Joy as Nella

The miniaturist that Nella selects (Berrington) communicates only by letter and with the first order includes items that Nella didn’t request: a tiny cradle, a replica of Johannes’ dog and a miniature upholstered chair exactly like the one where Nella is sitting as she unwraps the package.

Without direction, the miniaturist keeps sending new creations, including dolls replicating Johannes, Marin, Cornelia, Otto, and others, with details that hint at closely held secrets.

Photo credit: Courtesy of The Forge/Laurence Cendrowicz for BBC and MASTERPIECE

left to right: Romola Garai as Marin, Paapa Essiedu as Otto, Hayley Squires as Cornelia and Anya Taylor-Joy as Nella

Amsterdam is a city full of secrets, which Nella proceeds to unlock thanks to clues from her unseen artisan. In a community where authorities regard sugar as sinful, gingerbread men as idolatrous, and certain sexual behaviors as grounds for execution, secrecy can be a life-or-death matter.

THE NOVEL:

Published to wide acclaim in 2014, “The Miniaturist” is Jessie Burton’s debut novel, inspired by her visits to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where an elaborate 17th-century dollhouse is on display.

One can’t help but admire the artistry of this antique cabinet — and wonder at the hidden obsessions, incidents, and secrets that spawned its creation.

THE MINIATURIST: Adapting the Novel

Author Jessie Burton discusses the origins of her novel and the cast reflects on the layered, lavish story. See the premiere of THE MINIATURIST Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS. #MiniaturistPBS

EPISODE GUIDE:

Episode 1 airs Sunday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. - Nella marries to rescue her family from financial ruin. Her rich husband is not all she imagined, plus he gives her a very peculiar wedding gift.

Episode 2 airs Sunday, Sept. 16 at 9 p.m. - Johannes makes a confession to Nella, promising no more secrets—but his enemies are already closing in. Otto disappears, and Marin reveals her own secret.

Episode 3 airs Sunday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. - Johannes is on trial for his life. Marin also faces a life-or-death struggle. Nella takes charge of the sugar stockpile and the household.

THE MINIATURIST: A Sumptuous Period Thriller

Romola Garai, Alex Hassell, Paapa Essiedu and the cast explore why THE MINIATURIST is no ordinary costume drama. See the premiere of The Miniaturist, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS. #MiniaturistPBS

WATCH ON YOUR SCHEDULE:

Episodes will be available to stream on demand for a limited time after broadcast. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn more and activate your benefit now.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION:

MASTERPIECE is on Facebook, Pinterest, and you can follow @masterpiecepbs on Twitter. #MasterpiecePBS #MiniaturistPBS

CREDITS:

A Forge production for the BBC co-produced with MASTERPIECE. Adapted by John Brownlow and directed by Guillem Morales, Gethin Scourfield is the producer. The executive producers are Kate Sinclair and George Faber for The Forge, Elizabeth Kilgarriff for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE. Filming took place in both Holland and the U.K. It is distributed internationally by all3media.

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