Mckenna Grace On Why She's 'Honored' To Appear In The Handmaid's Tale - Exclusive

Mckenna Grace is a regular on our screens, having appeared in everything from "The Handmaid's Tale" to "Young Sheldon" to "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." She's back on our screens once again, this time in Peacock's true crime drama series "A Friend of the Family," which is based on the real-life abduction of Jan Broberg.

Jan Broberg was abducted twice by a close family friend, when she was 12 years old and again at 14. Grace plays a 14-year-old Jan in "A Friend of the Family," and the series explores how such a terrifying ordeal happened to a normal family living in the suburbs, at the hands of someone they trusted implicitly. Understandably, the series isn't always easy to watch, but Grace's delicate portrayal of a young Jan Broberg helps bring the true story to life in a very real, but never sensationalized, way.

In an exclusive interview with The List, Mckenna Grace opens up about the similarities and differences between appearing in "A Friend of the Family" and "The Handmaid's Tale."

Telling 'important' stories

In both "A Friend of the Family" and "The Handmaid's Tale," Mckenna Grace plays a young woman facing abuse at the hands of others. Discussing her experiences filming both shows, Grace tells The List, "It was very different because they're two very different characters ... But "Handmaid's" and "A Friend of the Family" are probably two of my favorite things I've ever done. I love being a part of them both because they're such important stories to tell, and it's important to get this out there. I'm honored."

Grace also knows it's important that she's playing characters she's close to in age so that the audience is confronted with the very real and horrifying situations that some young women face. "It's an honor to be able to play these characters," she says. "It's convenient for productions and whatnot to hire 18 to play younger because of working hours but also so that people aren't uncomfortable with it." 

While both sets featured intimacy coordinators to ensure the safety of the cast, Grace hopes that viewers do feel uncomfortable watching what her characters go through. "If we're actually uncomfortable with scenes that we're watching in TV shows, why aren't we doing something for the young women who are going through this [in real life]?" she asks. "I'm just happy to be a part of this and to be able to play characters that are so important."

New episodes of "A Friend of the Family" premiere on Peacock on Thursdays through November 10.