ES: You beautifully captured the essence of Anne going from an outgoing, clever, vivacious young girl to a teenager enduring the most horrific of circumstances. There is a turning point when Anne understands the fate of her best friend. For a first-time actress, that had to be quite the undertaking. How did you tackle this?
MP: It was really natural. I had something in me. When I read (the book), I knew who she was. She was exactly who I had been as a teenager. (Like Anne), I was the one who got into trouble and opened my mouth. People would always say I was crazy, angry and feisty. I fought with everyone for what I wanted, and Anne did that too.
When I met (Anne's father) Otto Frank, we sat together and had a moving experience. He was so intelligent and truly sensitive and kind. I just kept thinking that, "If he doesn't like me, I won't do the part." At one point I was sitting with my thumb clenched between my index and middle fingers. He looked down at me and I looked at him and he was making the same fist. He said that Anne used to sit like that all the time.