On Friday, the actors appeared onstage at a Television Critics Association panel and opened up about what led them to the World War II story rife with heartbreak, hate and hope.
“I think it’s important to tell these stories for every generation, this is about when hate goes unchecked,” Lerman, 32, said.
“Being able to explore a role that touches on my own ancestry, it’s very personal,” King, 24, shared.
King and Lerman — who previously worked together on the 2022 film Bullet Train — are both Jewish and said that telling these “personal” stories becomes more and more important as the years pass, especially when they are told from the point of view of those who were oppressed.
Lerman said it was the “new angle” that the limited series explores that really resonated with him as his own grandfather fled Germany in the 1930s and traveled all the way to China until the end of the Nazi regime. He says that stories like these are promising ways to keep the conversation alive surrounding the horrific topic.
“The younger generation, my generation — Gen Z — they don’t really know or care about the Holocaust,” King said Friday, adding that she hopes this series will help to shed light on the tremendous and true story of the Kurc family.
Lerman plays Addy Kurc, the real-life grandfather of Georgia Hunter, the author of the book of the same name that the series is based on. King plays Halina Kurc, Addy’s sister. The show and the book follow the Kurc family during World War II as they are separated and struggle to find each other again — determined to survive and reunite.
“We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century’s darkest moment, the human spirit can endure and even thrive. The series is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds,” a description for the series reads.
In spite of some of the very serious and disheartening topics tackled on the show, the cast and crew say they hope the audience is left inspired and feeling hopeful by the end of the series.
“At its core, our show is a story about courage,” added Hunter, 46, whose book is a New York Times bestseller and has sold more than 1 million copies.
“There is a lot of hope in this show,” King said.
Watch the trailer for the new limited series in the player below:
We Were the Lucky Ones hits Hulu on March 28.