Jonah Hauer-King Is Going from Prince Eric to the ‘Tattooist of Auschwitz’

The role for the British Jewish actor is a personal one, as his maternal grandparents fled Poland in the 1930s.

Last summer, the world collectively swooned over British Jewish actor Jonah Hauer-King as the dreamy, sing-songy Prince Eric in the live-action “Little Mermaid.” His latest role, however, is anything but a fairytale.

Yesterday, Peacock released the trailer for “The Tattooist of Auschwitz,” an upcoming drama series inspired by the lives of Holocaust survivors Lali (or Lale) and Gita Sokolov. The series is adapted from the 2016 book of the same name by author Heather Morris. The show spans two timelines. The first focuses on a modern day Lali Sokolov (Harvey Keitel) as a he recounts his experience at Auschwitz-Birkenau to Heather Morris (Melanie Lynskey). In the second timeline, the viewer sees those memories come to life with Jonah Hauer-King playing a young Sokolov as he survives the Holocaust, is forced to tattoo numbers on other prisoners at the camp and falls in love with Gita (Anna Próchniak), a Jewish woman he tattoos.

Hauer-King does not utter a word in the teaser trailer. And yet, his performance looks like it’s shaping up to be a powerful one. Gone are his windswept, dark waves of hair and tan, sanguine complexion from playing Prince Eric. Head shaved and appearance gaunt and haggard, Hauer-King’s eyes expertly convey the horror — and hope — of Lali Sokolov’s story.

“It was a surreal experience, having your head shaved every day and putting on that prison uniform and going to an Auschwitz set,” Jonah, whose maternal grandparents were Jews who fled Poland in the 1930s, told W Magazine last spring. He added, “Because of my own personal connections to that time, it just felt impossible for it not to be hugely impactful and draining.”

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz” will premiere on May 2.

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

Read More