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First look at Harvey Keitel, Melanie Lynskey, Jonah Hauer-King, Anna Próchniak, and Jonas Nay in Sky and Peacock Original Drama, The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Limited event series, based on the international bestselling novel, to premiere globally on Thursday 2nd May

First-look images of Harvey Keitel, Melanie Lynskey, Jonah Hauer-King, Anna Próchniak, and Jonas Nay in the upcoming Sky, Peacock Originals and Stan Original series, The Tattooist of Auschwitz have been released today.

The six-part series, based on the international bestselling novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, is inspired by the real-life story of Lali and Gita Sokolov, who met while prisoners in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during the Holocaust.

The images see Academy Award nominee Harvey Keitel as the modern-day Lali Sokolov, Jonah Hauer-King as Lali Sokolov in his younger years, Anna Próchniak as Gita Furman, Melanie Lynskey as Heather Morris, and Jonas Nay as Stefan Baretzki.

The series is set to debut globally on Thursday 2nd May across Sky Atlantic in the UK & Ireland and Peacock in the US and features a score from multi–Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer (Inception, Interstellar, Dune) and Kara Talve (Faraway Downs, Prehistoric Planet).

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the story of one man, Lali (Jonah Hauer-King), a Slovakian Jew, who, in 1942, was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the concentration camp where over a million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

Shortly after arrival, he was made one of the Tätowierer (tattooists), charged to ink identification numbers onto fellow prisoners’ arms. One day, he meets Gita (Anna Próchniak) when tattooing her prisoner number on her arm. They experience love at first sight, and so begins a courageous, unforgettable, and human story. Under constant guard from a volatile Nazi SS officer Baretzki (Jonas Nay), Lali and Gita became determined to keep each other alive.

Around 60 years later, Lali (Harvey Keitel) meets novice writer Heather Morris (Melanie Lynskey). Recently widowed, Lali finds the courage to tell the world his story. In recounting his story to Heather, Lali, in his 80s, faces the traumatic ghosts of his youth and relives his memories of falling in love in the most horrific of places. The five images released today showcase the scale and breadth of the production, as well as the remarkable attention to detail and authenticity of the series, which is executive produced by Claire Mundell through her company Synchronicity Films in association with Sky Studios and directed by Tali Shalom-Ezer.

Jonah Hauer-King as Lali Sokolov meets Anna Próchniak as Gita Furman for the first time (Credit: © Martin Mlaka / Sky UK)

Claire Mundell, Executive Producer of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Creative Director at Synchronicity Films, recalls: “We knew from the beginning that we wanted Jonah to play Young Lali. Once Jonah was on board, the challenge was on to find the perfect Gita. Anna was the most wonderful discovery for us during the casting process. She stood out so clearly and it became increasingly clear that only Jonah and Anna could portray the humanity, the spirit, the resistance, and the defiance of Lali and Gita. They have both delivered career-defining performances in this series.”

Jonah Hauer-King as Lali Sokolov, seen here as he boards the train to Auschwitz (Credit: © Martin Mlaka / Sky UK)

Director and Co-Executive Producer, Tali Shalom-Ezer, shares: “Claire and I talked about what a huge challenge it was going to be to make viewers believe in a love story that existed in this dark place and time. This was the task that I as director, Claire, Jacquelin and our team took upon ourselves, and I pray that we will be able to make viewers around the world believe in the wonderful love story of Lali and Gita.” 

Harvey Keitel as Lali Sokolov seen in his apartment in Melbourne (Credit: © Martin Mlaka / Sky UK)

Claire says: “To have Harvey join us is a dream come true. The commitment and authenticity with which Harvey approached the portrayal of Lali was breath-taking to watch. It was important that both young and old Lali were played authentically by Jewish actors who were able to deliver the part with nuance, empathy, compassion, and the complexity that we need from that character.”

Jonah Hauer-King as Lali Sokolov seen here walking through Auschwitz with German-born actor Jonas Nay as Nazi officer Stefan Baretzki, front right (Credit: © Martin Mlaka / Sky UK)

Tali says: “Because we’re recreating historical locations, as a first point of call, Claire and I went to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau alongside our amazing Heads of Department. I can remember discussing with David Katznelson, the cinematographer, and Nili Feller my lead editor, what a huge challenge it would be to recreate this concentration camp on screen.” 

Harvey Keitel as Lali Sokolov and Melanie Lynskey as Heather Morris walking through the streets of Melbourne (Credit: © Martin Mlaka / Sky UK)

Claire explains: “To play Heather, we needed an actress with innate empathy, inquisitiveness and openness, someone who could portray the mix of the incredible feat that the real Heather Morris took upon herself. Her role and relationship with Lali within the series is a clear example of how the screen adaptation differs from the book, as we’re framing the story from Lali’s real meetings with Heather in his Melbourne apartment. Lali unburdens to her what he can, but as he increasingly begins to trust Heather, he shares the full horrors of the trauma he still suffers as an elderly survivor.  Being introduced by a mutual acquaintance, they met over coffee and then proceeded to spend the next three years developing a relationship. I’m not sure if either of them realised at the beginning, but clearly what began is the telling of Lali’s and Gita’s beautiful love story.

“We began developing this story five years ago and I was struck by how the book became a bestseller during a time when awareness of the Holocaust was in decline. Our series tells one man’s story and experience of Auschwitz and how he found love in the darkest of places. It is a story that is as important today as it ever was.” 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is produced by Synchronicity Films in association with Sky Studios and All3Media International. Jacquelin Perske is Executive Producer and lead writer for The Tattooist of Auschwitz alongside episode writers Evan Placey (Associate Producer) and Gabbie Asher. Serena Thompson is Executive Producer for Sky Studios.

NBCUniversal Global TV Distribution and All3Media International are jointly handling international sales of the series. Stan, Australia’s leading local streamer is taking the Original rights to the series in their territory, with SkyShowtime taking rights for Nordics (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland), Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the Netherlands, and Poland.

The series will be available on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW in 2024 in the UK and Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.