Author Georgia Hunter ‘Started Bawling' When Watching Logan Lerman Film “We Were the Lucky Ones” (Exclusive)

Lerman plays a character inspired by Hunter's grandfather on the Hulu series, adapted from her novel of the same name

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p> Logan Lerman in

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Logan Lerman in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Georgia Hunter is looking back on seeing her novel, We Were the Lucky Ones, become a Hulu series — as well as what it felt like to watch the actors bring it to life.

The author's 2017 book, which is based upon her relatives’ experience, follows the Kurc family, who are scattered across the world during the Holocaust. In the Thomas Kail-directed TV series, Logan Lerman plays Addy, a composer who is living in France at the start of the war, and who was inspired by Hunter's grandfather, Eddy.

For Hunter, who served as a co-executive producer on the series, seeing the Perks of Being a Wallflower actor step into the role was an emotional experience.

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


Logan Lerman in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

“I will never forget seeing Logan for the first time,” she tells PEOPLE. “It was a scene where he was waiting outside the Polish embassy in France to try to get permission to go to return to Radom to see his family for Passover.”

Hunter learned from her family members that her grandfather’s mother, Nechuma, wrote him a letter at the start of World War II, telling him that it was too risky to come home for the holiday. He tried to find a way back to Poland anyway.

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

“The camera just zoomed in on his face and he's sitting outside the embassy waiting for his name to be called,” Hunter recalls. “He just looked so haunted and tormented at the fact that he's been there, he's going every day to try to get this visa to return. I just started bawling the second I saw his face. It just brought it home. I had imagined it, but seeing it, there's nothing like it.”

<p>PictureGroup/Disney</p> Georgia Hunter (left), Joey King, Logan Lerman (center), Erica Lipez and Thomas Kail


Georgia Hunter (left), Joey King, Logan Lerman (center), Erica Lipez and Thomas Kail

"He's such a phenomenal actor,” she says of Lerman. “And in the way he embodied my grandfather, and in that moment in particular, I also saw what the show would be…seeing it all on that monitor for the first time, I was just completely bowled over by the beauty of it.”

Hunter's grandfather didn’t talk about his Jewish upbringing, so Hunter developed the plot for We Were the Lucky Ones from stories she learned from other relatives through a school project and family reunions.

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

The author learned how her grandfather, his four siblings and parents survived the war in ways that one publisher deemed almost too extraordinary to be believed — from creating false IDs to holding a secret wedding under cover of night.

<p>Penguin Books</p> 'We Were the Lucky Ones' by Georgia Hunter

Penguin Books

'We Were the Lucky Ones' by Georgia Hunter

“I went into this particular project as a family historian, not really as an author,” Hunter says. “I had never written a book before, so I set out in 2008 to unearth and record the family story.” Her nearly decade-long research process involved interviewing family members, spending extensive time in museums and archives, and traveling to her ancestor’s hometown in Poland.

Throughout her time on the show, Hunter says that the cast, which features all-Jewish principal actors, had many questions about the real people they were portraying, and that their curiosity paid off in her eyes.

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

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“I am in awe of the way the entire cast has brought their characters to life,” Hunter says. “They're such a beautiful ensemble.”

We Were the Lucky Ones is now streaming on Hulu.

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