Jonah Hauer-King tries to navigate a ‘World on Fire’

PBS ‘Masterpiece’ drama revisits World War II

Jonah Hauer-King of ‘World on Fire on Masterpiece’ Sunday on PBS

Q: What’s your take on how World War II is depicted by “World on Fire on Masterpiece”?

A: Normal life went on a lot of the time, and certain priorities shifted, and others didn’t. What was interesting for me was learning about how people of our age, and of our generation, went through this war and how it changed them — because it was such extreme times for all of them. They were all kids, and they were all growing up, and they were all going through the kinds of things that we go through now of friendship and heartbreak and falling in love and making these terrible mistakes. But the stakes are so high.

It really was just fascinating, reading some stories about teenagers and people in their early 20s at that time … and the every-day juxtaposed with these very extreme and urgent experiences that they were going through as well.

Q: What do you make of the love triangle that your “World on Fire” character Harry is enmeshed in?

A: It was a really interesting and very challenging aspect of the role, because on the surface, I found it very difficult to understand. It’s not a position I’ve ever been in. When you’re building a character, you’re trying to make sense of someone and understand their actions and their feelings and sympathize and empathize, and I was finding that very difficult.

But that really encouraged me to dig deeper into his psyche and to look at his upbringing and how that might have affected him, because someone that falls in love with two people — aside from the fact that they’re both very bright, wonderful, charismatic people — it speaks to me that someone that is capable of doing that perhaps doesn’t know himself fully.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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