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Melanie Lynskey reveals how husband Jason Ritter and daughter filled her with 'joy' amid emotional scenes in The Tattooist of Auschwitz – exclusive

The award-winning actress portrays author Heather Morris in the six-part series

Megan Bull
TV Writer
May 2, 2024
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Melanie Lynskey delivers a standout performance in The Tattooist of Auschwitz – a powerful and harrowing account of the Holocaust. Recalling the real-life love story of Slovakian Jew, Lali Sokolov, and Gita, the girl he falls for while working as a Tätowierer; Jonah Hauer-King and Anna Próchniak are the heart and soul of the series.  

The Tattooist of Auschwitz – trailer

Oscillating between two timelines, the first depicts Lali and Gita’s fight for survival in Auschwitz, while the second jumps 60 years into the future. As an 80-something Lali – devastatingly portrayed by Harvey Keitel – shares his story with Heather Morris (Melanie Lynskey), it’s through their intimate conversations that we discover what happened.

Melanie Lynskey as Heather Morris© Sky
Melanie Lynskey felt a "big responsibility" to represent Heather Morris, who served as a story consultant

Ahead of the show’s premiere, Melanie, 46, recalled the pressure she felt portraying Heather – the beloved author behind The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and a story consultant on the series. 

“I did feel a big responsibility because I think it really mattered to Heather. She was approving the costumes and it was something that was very, very important to her to feel represented,” the actress told HELLO!

“There's a character who's on the page and there's the real-life person and they're a similar person, but they're not exactly the same. So you have to make a decision every day or every scene or every line about how much you're serving the story.” 

Melanie Lynskey and Harvey Keitel in The Tattooist of Auschwitz© Sky
The actress felt the weight of Lali's story during filming

For Melanie, Helen serves as an “audience surrogate” in the series, culminating in a “collective reaction” between the character and the viewer. “It cuts back to Heather listening and the audience has been at home listening and you’re processing as she's processing,” noted the star. 

During her scenes with the legendary Harvey Keitel, Melanie felt the true weight of Lali’s story and like her co-stars, tried to decompress. For Jonah Hauer-King and Jonas Nay, music was a helpful tool, but in Melanie’s case, spending time with her husband, actor Jason Ritter, and their daughter, was invaluable. 

Melanie Lynskey and Jason Ritter at the red carpet premiere of Candy. © Getty
Melanie with her husband Jason Ritter

“I was so lucky that my husband and my daughter were with me in Bratislava, and our sweet nanny who travels with us, Sally. I would come home to my three family members and just feel so filled with joy in seeing their faces,” said Melanie. 

“My daughter's five, so I'm not gonna sit there and weep in front of her, but she's a very empathetic little person. Sometimes you just need to come home and have a bit of a cry and have someone ask what you want for dinner and I mean, I was coming home to the best possible little bubble of happiness and joy. I'm just feeling so fortunate to have that.”

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