Interview with Jan Broberg and Nick Antosca: A friend of the family | Pretty Reel

Jan Broberg helps bring his heartbreaking life story to the screen with A Friend of the Family. The biographical miniseries chronicles her early years during which Robert Berchtold, a close friend of her family, attempted to kidnap her on several occasions and preyed on her family.

Jake Lacy leads the cast of A Friend of the Family alongside Anna Paquin, Colin Hanks, Lio Tipton, Mckenna Grace, Hendrix Yancey and Austin Stowell.

Before the premiere of the show, . sat down exclusively with creator Nick Antosca and author and real-life subject Jan Broberg to discuss A Friend of the Family, the enduring importance of telling your story, and more.

Breaking up a family friend

.: What I’ve seen of A Friend of the Family so far has been phenomenal. Jan, it’s probably a surreal thing to see come to life. How did you work with Nick to bring your story to the screen?

Jan Broberg: Well, Nick called me three years ago about what it was, it must have been so long ago, or a little longer than that. We started talking about the importance of telling a story, my story, our family story, in a way that others could relate to it, not just check it off their list like, “It could never tell me.” ‘happen’, because it happens to many, many, many, many people. This is the most common type of child abuse, the predator is someone you know, someone you may already love and trust, you met in a place of trust, they are your neighbors, they all look like nice ones.

When you can psychologically dissect how groomers work, how predators work, how psychopaths work, you might see that person who is part of your family, your neighborhood, your congregation, the sports team of the school, so you can prevent this from happening to yourself. child, or at least you can know that you can start on the road to recovery. We were lucky, we survived, we healed, and we tell our story, honestly, vulnerably, exposed like this for a long time. I have amazing family members, and I knew they needed to be shown that way, and it was really important to me and Nick, and the team did that.

Nick, what really spoke to you about the story for wanting to be the one to really help adapt it to the screen?

Nick Antosca: When I saw the documentary, I had this reaction similar to most people. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story, because it’s so terrifying, so haunting, and so weird. I wanted to understand how it could have happened and understand what it felt like when it happened. From a writing and storytelling perspective, it’s deeply compelling. But as terrifying as it may sound and as bizarre as it may initially seem, the more you think about it the deeper you dig.

For me it was reading Jan and his mother’s book, the first book, there’s something uncomfortably relevant and very human about it. Because we all have vulnerabilities that can be used against us by someone we love and trust, by a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a monster. It’s a hard thing to admit, so I wanted to learn more, and I wanted to do it in partnership with Jan and her family. The first thing we did was contact them.

Another thing I want to say about this is a psychological horror story, it’s a thriller, it’s scary and it’s intense, but you go all the way, it’s also the story of ‘a family that overcomes something and comes to a place of healing, a place of forgiveness and greater understanding. It’s a place where the monster lost its power, and that’s why it’s so important to tell.

What was it like finding the perfect cast to bring this wonderful on-screen family to life?

Nick Antosca: It was difficult, because it’s so important. These roles are so complex, they’re so delicate, and it takes such vulnerability on the part of the actors, and finding young actors to play Jan, if we didn’t do that, we couldn’t do the show. If we couldn’t find an actor who could commit to the role of B, and who could make the audience understand how to love and trust and be charmed by this man, the storytelling just wasn’t going to work. So we were so dependent on that cast and we were incredibly lucky. I thank God for them, they were amazing.

Jan Broberg: Look, it was like watching my family members. It was an amazing experience, because of their care in telling the story. They wanted to know things, they reached out, we FaceTimed [for] little questions. “What would your father play on the piano to wake you up in the morning”, because that’s what he did. “What were his funny words. People cared who the characters were, and I cared that they were fully formed human beings, even Berchtold is a fully formed human being, and it was important to show how well they fit in.

Because that’s the truth with predators right now in 2022 that’s why I keep telling the story I have a book and a podcast show and other ways to keep telling the story , so that others can tell theirs, because it’s someone they know, it’s someone from their family or their immediate entourage. It’s such a scary and embarrassing place when you haven’t seen it as a parent, or when you come out of your childhood and try to make sense of what happened to you and heal from your trauma. I’m really attached to this hope, to peace, to the peace that there is hope. But it takes work and it takes coming together to raise awareness and possibly prevent it from happening. It is still endemic in our society today.

About a family friend

A FAMILY FRIEND is based on the heartbreaking true story of the Broberg family, whose daughter Jan was kidnapped multiple times over a period of years by a charismatic and obsessed “friend” of the family. The Brobergs — dedicated to their faith, family, and community — were completely unprepared for the sophisticated tactics their neighbor used to exploit their vulnerabilities, tear them apart, and turn their daughter against them. This is the story of how their lives were forever changed – and how they survived.

A Family Friend airs new episodes Thursdays on Peacock.

Interview with Jan Broberg and Nick Antosca: A friend of the family | Pretty Reel