Joey King says making 'We Were the Lucky Ones' was important so that people don't forget the Holocaust

For Joey King and Logan Lerman, who star as siblings torn apart by World War II and the Holocaust in We Were the Lucky Ones, making the limited series was personal.

In the eight-episode series, premiering March 28 on Hulu and adapted from Georgia Hunter’s 2017 book of the same name, King stars as Halina Kurc, the youngest daughter of a Jewish family in Poland. Lerman plays her musically gifted brother Addy, who is based on Hunter’s grandfather.

“There was a closeness because this cast is Jewish, and we all have our own story and connection with our family to this period of time in history,” King told Yahoo Entertainment.

“I feel like there were just so many moments where you feel so close to the material, you feel so deeply connected and affected by the scenes that you’re shooting,” the actress said. “You can’t help but be so overwhelmed by that emotion, and also your own personal heritage with it.”

Executive produced by Erica Lipez (The Morning Show), who also serves as showrunner, along with Thomas Kail (Fosse/Verdon) and Jennifer Todd (Memento), We Were the Lucky Ones follows one family of five siblings, their spouses and their parents as they’re separated across Europe and South America while trying to survive as Jews targeted during World War II.

Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Hadas Yaron, Amit Rahav, Sam Woolf, Michael Aloni, Moran Rosenblatt, Eva Feiler, Lior Ashkenazi and Robin Weigert round out the cast.

Hunter’s best-selling novel drew from what she learned herself as a teenager, when she discovered that she descended from Holocaust survivors. Her grandfather Eddy had changed his name from Addy and died before sharing his stories with Hunter, who learned them from her maternal grandmother while working on a high school English assignment.

“It’s mind-blowing to think about,” Lerman told Yahoo Entertainment. “Sometimes it keeps me up at night just thinking about the memories of being on set and walking through these recreations of the ship that Georgia’s grandfather actually went on with his daughter, with Georgia’s mom.”

Lerman added, “It adds a different level of connection to the material at the end of the day. It’s crazy to think about, but it’s a true story, and that’s what makes this an important story and something that really stands out for me out of any project I’ve worked on.”

While both King and Lerman marveled at the opportunity to embody real-life characters in the series, they acknowledged that it’s important for younger generations to continue to learn from these stories.

“This is one of many stories from this period of time,” King said, “and I feel like it’s such an honor to tell this family’s story because it’s so important to keep the knowledge alive, and I’m proud that we’re doing that.”

“Our characters — which is crazy to think about, they were real people — have very unique circumstances and very unique perspectives on this period of time in history,” Lerman explained.

King stressed the importance of sharing these perspectives, and connecting with young people now.

“Pretty soon all of the survivors who are Jewish from the Holocaust will be gone,” she said. “They’re all very old, and they were very young when it happened, and it will be then up to us — the people who are around — to keep telling different perspectives of this story so that people don’t forget that it happened.”

We Were the Lucky Ones streams March 28 on Hulu.

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