Everything to Know About Joey King, Logan Lerman and the Rest of the 'We Were the Lucky Ones' Cast

From their career highlights to their respective family Holocaust stories, here's what to know about the cast playing the Kurc siblings in the new Hulu series

<p>Courtesy of Hulu</p> Joey King (left) and Logan Lerman in

Courtesy of Hulu

Joey King (left) and Logan Lerman in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

We Were the Lucky Ones tells the true story of the Kurcs, a Polish-Jewish family who endured unspeakable hardships as they were separated from one another during the Holocaust.

The limited series, now streaming on Hulu, is based on the novel written by Georgia Hunter, which she was inspired to write after learning she was a quarter Jewish and that her family had a history she had never previously known.

“At a family reunion, I found myself around a table with my mother’s generation - she’s one of 10 first cousins - and they were telling stories about the war and their parents being born in Siberia or hiking over the Austrian Alps while pregnant or having an illegal wedding or escaping a ghetto, a false ID,” Hunter recalls to PEOPLE. “I knew I needed to write it down in order to do the family story justice and also so that I could preserve it for my kids someday. It took me eight years before I got the courage to do it."

Joey King, known for her work in The Act and The Kissing Booth, stars as Halina Kurc in the series, while Logan Lerman, who plays Hunter’s grandfather Addy Kurc, is known for his roles in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Percy Jackson.

As viewers watch the family’s separate survival stories after being torn apart in 1937, they get to know the intricacies of each Kurc with the help of specific details Hunter passed along to the actors.

“We were very careful to get the specifics right from start to finish. I spent a lot of time with the cast answering their questions and sending them any bits of information that I had, photographs, documents, music,” Hunter says. “And often they'd ask questions that really got to the core of who these people were, who they were playing, what were their quirks.”

Hunter tells PEOPLE that she is “lucky” to have this specific cast playing her family members. “They were all so committed… I feel so lucky to have fallen into the best possible hands with everybody involved."

Below, get to know the actors who played members of the Kurc family in We Were the Lucky Ones.

Joey King as Halina Kurc

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p>

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Joey King is no stranger to the big screen. The 24-year-old actress began acting at age 4 and landed her first lead role at just 9 in the 2010 movie Ramona and Beezus, starring alongside Selena Gomez.

King has covered many bases as an actor, having starred in projects from Netflix's Kissing Booth movies to playing Gypsy Rose Blanchard in The Act. But working on We Were the Lucky Ones offered her a new opportunity.

Speaking to PEOPLE in this week’s issue, King, who is Jewish though not religious, says she feels lucky to be part of show that explores her heritage. "I was always really proud to be who I am, but working on a show where it's the theme 24/7, you are dealing with this heavy subject matter and your own background tied with it, it was a really beautiful thing.”

While King's character Halina is very committed to her Judaism as she is fighting to survive, the actress says she is “still figuring out” her beliefs. “But I do feel a really loving tie to my Judaism. It's the tradition that is my favorite part because I always say I love all the holidays and all the traditions because it's just a reason to get together with my family.”

The actress, who got married in September to Steven Piet, says her family was there for her as she filmed the fraught World War II series. “There were some nights where it was really hard, and I would call my sisters or my husband or my mom and just talk through what the day was like, call my husband on FaceTime while we watch a comedy special together on FaceTime or something like that,” she recalls.

King adds, “That was surprising for me 'cause I'm usually very good at separating them. Obviously, my ancestry has a big tie to that, so it was a very deeply personal set to be on.”

Logan Lerman as Addy Kurc

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p>

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Logan Lerman also made his acting debut at a young age, having appeared in commercials in the mid-1990s before getting cast in two movies in 2000: What Women Want and The Patriot. Since then, Lerman, 32, has gone on to star in numerous action, comedy and romance films.

A longtime friend of King’s - he attended her September wedding in Mallorca, Spain - Lerman tells PEOPLE the show was a welcome reunion. “It's nice to be on a journey like this with one of your friends," he says. "In between filming, we just had a good time together.”

He adds of King and the rest of the cast, “There were challenging scenes, challenging days, but this was a really joyous production… on the hard days, we were there for each other and looked out for each other's health, mentally, physically, whatever it was. We cared about each other."

Lerman has his own personal family history with the Holocaust. He says playing Hunter’s grandfather Addy, who moved to France to become a composer but worked as an engineer, made him feel connected to his own grandfather. “It really resonated with me in a personal way because Addy, who is Georgia Hunter's grandfather in real life, his story really resembled my grandfather's story and I hadn't seen that explored before,” he tells PEOPLE.

Addy’s personality also spoke to Lerman. “He's a big personality and he can handle a room and one of his means of survival was finding a way to become the entertainment. And I thought that was just an interesting character and someone to portray someone I haven't played before."

Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Genek Kurc

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p>

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Harry Potter fans might recognize Henry Lloyd-Hughes from his appearance in The Goblet of Fire as Roger Davies. Since then, the 38-year-old English actor has gone on to land roles in The Inbetweeners, Unrelated and Anna Karenina.

Preparing to play Genek Kurc, the eldest sibling of the family, the actor tells PEOPLE Hunter provided him with Genek’s “firsthand account” of what happened to him in the Gulag as research for the role, including a meticulous, "blow-by-blow account of what the rations were, what the timings were, what they were expected to do.”

Connecting the series to modern times, Hughes says, “I think it's a show about love. It's a show about hope and it's a show about family. And I think you can transpose those elements to any situation all over the world and anything that's happening.”

He adds, “This group of people experienced horrendous hardships in a way that they never imagined, and yet somehow were able to come together at the end of it. And I think that's a wonderful message.”

Hadas Yaron as Mila Kurc

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p>

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Israeli actress Hadas Yaron knew from the get-go that playing Mila - the Kurc sibling who was pregnant when the war began - was a role she wanted to take on. “I just had to be there because growing up I knew so much about the Holocaust and this time in history, so I had that all already in me. I'm also a granddaughter of two Holocaust survivors, so these stories I'm very, very familiar with,” she tells PEOPLE.

Yaron, 33, says that the plotline resembling her family story was “very meaningful."

"It was really different to work on something that you actually feel so connected to," she says. "Even though we're just reenacting a scene and it's not real and we're all in costume, when you see it in front of your eyes … I was like, this is what my great grandfather saw in his last moments. This is actually something that happened to him. And now 80 years later, I'm an actor pretending, and it was very surreal."

Despite the work being difficult at times, Yaron says that the cast was always “there for each other. We bonded so immediately. We were doing game nights and went to play tennis together and we had walks across the city. It's really important to vent, to just have fun in between and remember that we're just living our lives and we have each other.”

Amit Rahav as Jakob Kurc

<p>Courtesy of Hulu</p>

Courtesy of Hulu

This is not the first time Amit Rahav has been involved in a show that connected him to his Judaism. The 28-year-old Israeli actor is best known for his role as Yanky Shapiro in the 2020 Netflix series Unorthodox.

Taking on the role of a Hasidic Jew in Unorthodox was “wild” for Rahav. “It was wild because I’m very secular and it is quite the opposite of my daily life and style,” he told Variety in a 2020 interview. “Once I put on the clothes and the payot [the sidelocks that Hasidic men grow], I suddenly felt right. In some way, I got to know the character much better.”

After Unorthodox, Rahav said he felt compelled to take on the role of Jakob Kurc, a lawyer-turned-photographer who is in a loving relationship when World War II begins.

“The book is just so amazingly written, and Georgia is so talented with describing the small details and emotions. It felt that it was really transcribed into the script, and naturally, it was really well-written,” he told ScreenRant.

“Also, there's so much humor in the show, which is so unexpected, which I love the fact that there's a lot of air in this periodic drama. It really was a no-brainer for me to join this project. Every single character is so well-written. I really think that it's just the greatest project and a no-brainer, the moment you get it.”

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We Were the Lucky Ones is available to stream on Hulu.

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