Logan Lerman Had His 'Grandfather in Mind' Making 'We Were the Lucky Ones': 'A Tribute to Him' (Exclusive)

"There is a different sense of connection to the story when it's something so personal that really lines up with your family's history," Lerman tells PEOPLE

<p>Hulu</p> Logan Lerman in


Logan Lerman in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

While Logan Lerman has taken on many roles in his career, his character in We Were the Lucky Ones hits especially close to home.

Starring as Addy Kurc in the new Hulu limited series - based on the novel by Georgia Hunter about her Polish-Jewish family’s experience surviving the Holocaust - Lerman says the show and his character “resonated” with him.

“I read the book and fell in love with Georgia’s family story. 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,” the 32-year-old tells PEOPLE about his character.

Detailing his grandfather’s experience during the Holocaust, Lerman says, “My grandfather was born in Germany and at seven years old he fled Germany with his family, his parents and his sister, and went on this long journey seeking refuge and found refuge in China. And it's an incredible journey and story that he experienced.”

Related: Joey King Says 'There Is a Lot of Hope' in Her and Logan Lerman's Holocaust Drama We Were the Lucky Ones

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p> Logan Lerman in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Logan Lerman in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Lerman explains that he found “similarities” between Addy’s and his grandfather’s stories.

“I saw similarities in Addy’s journey. Although Addy’s journey was solo, he was alone, he was longing for his family and hoping that they would survive or did survive and was really grappling with the guilt of getting out of Europe while also just struggling day to day to figure out if he's going to make it to refuge," he says. "So as a character, I thought that was really interesting and there was a lot for me to work with on the page.”

He adds about the similarities between the plot line and his family’s story, “I think that there is a different sense of connection to the story when it's something so personal that really lines up with your family's history…. it resonates in a different way when you're making it. And the whole time I had my grandfather in mind and it was a tribute to him in a lot of ways.”

Along with the connections between his character and his grandfather, Lerman notes that Addy’s personality was “exciting” when deciding to take on the role.

“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," the star explains. "And I thought that was just an interesting character and someone to portray someone I haven't played before…. It just seemed exciting character-wise."

<p>Courtesy of Hulu</p> (From left) Halina (Joey King) and Addy (Logan Lerman) in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Courtesy of Hulu

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

Related: Joey King Calls Holocaust Tale We Were the Lucky Ones 'Deeply Personal': Some Nights 'It Was Really Hard' (Exclusive)

Despite many emotional and harrowing scenes, Lerman tells PEOPLE that filming We Were the Lucky Ones was a “joyous” experience for him and the rest of the cast - including his co-star and longtime friend Joey King.

“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," he says.

While Lerman recognizes that not everyone has a similar story they can relate to, he says he thinks people can apply the show to “human suffering in any crisis or conflict.” He adds, “At the center of this story is a family just trying to survive so they can be reunited, and longing for what they had before the war started. What really carries them through the experience is this undying hope that they maintain for years. And I hope that that resonates with viewers in some way.”

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

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