We Were the Lucky Ones Star Joey King on Facing Antisemitism at Age 12


Joey King has nothing against method acting – it’s just not for her.

Especially for projects like her latest, the Holocaust series “We Were the Lucky Ones.”

Based on Georgia Hunter’s best-selling novel of her family’s fight to survive the Holocaust, Logan Lerman stars as Hunter’s grandfather Addy alongside King as his younger sister Halina. Rounding out the cast are Sam Woolf, Robin Weigart, Lior Ashkenazi, Hadas Yaron, Amit Rahav and Eva Feiler.

“I think anyone who is a method actor is truly so brave and amazing, but I’m personally not a method actor,” King tells me on this week’s episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast. “And when shooting a show like this, I just don’t know how I could be because having those moments of release in between setups and in between takes with your friends [is needed].”

“Sometimes you need that release at the snack table with each other…because it got really dark,” she continues. “It would get so sad and there would be times where you just didn’t know when it was going to hit you. Everyone had different moments where we’re all sitting there having a nice time together, just filming a scene and then someone’s hyperventilating and crying because it’s a wave that washes over you.”

Hulu also made trauma therapists available for cast and crew on set. “They would come and check on each of us a lot, which I thought was so great,” King says.

But at the end of the day, it was the cast leaning on each other that King feels made the hardest days bearable. King’s movie nights with co-stars were particularly helpful: “We’d watch ‘Finding Nemo’ because we just needed to.”

King, 24, says she first experienced antisemitism when she joined Instagram at age 12. “Within the first couple months I got my first antisemitic remark and it would dip in terms of how frequent or how much it would happen, and it would kind of roller coaster in terms of how often I would experience it, but that was shocking when I was that age,” she recalls. “Now I just expect it because antisemitism is not the only thing I experience in terms of bullying online. So it almost feels like one of many symptoms of a grand diagnosis of horrible Internet people. I’m saddened, but I’m not really surprised.”

King’s career has spanned many genres — from leading the action-fantasy “The Princess” and Netflix’s “Kissing Booth” trilogy with Jacob Elordi and Taylor Zakhar Perez to her Emmy-nominated work as Gypsy Rose Blanchard in “The Act.” One of her next films is the Richard LaGravenese-directed rom-com “A Family Affair” with Nicole Kidman and her childhood crush Zac Efron.

“To say I was a [‘High School Musical’] fan would be a gross understatement,” King says. “To say I was obsessed would be a little bit more accurate.”

Last year, King starred in her second Taylor Swift music video, with the first being the music superstar’s “Mean” video back in 2012. Swift directed King and Taylor Lautner in the video for her single “I Can See You.”

“She had her vision, but also loved seeing what the actors come up with and do on their own and wants to make sure she got it,” King says of Swift. “But she does a few takes and when she has it, she has it. She’s a confident director.”

You can listen to my conversation with King on “Just for Variety” above or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.



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