Hadas Yaron talks We Were the Lucky Ones

Mila (Hadas Yaron), shown, in We Were the Lucky Ones -- “Lvov” - Episode 102 (Photo by: Vlad Cioplea/Hulu).

Hadas Yaron spoke with Solzy at the Movies in early April to discuss the new Holocaust survival series on Hulu, We Were the Lucky Ones.

An interesting tidbit about the series is that it reunites Yaron with Michael Aloni from Shtisel. Not only this but once again, the two are portraying husband and wife. The actress talks about working with Aloni and how she found out that the duo would be reuniting to work on the series. She also discussed what drew her to the role of Mila and what she looks for in a character. Additionally, she talks about some of what the cast did to lighten the mood when they were not on the set in Romania.

Based on Georgia Hunter’s bestselling novel, the series tells the story of how one family was determined to survive the Holocaust and reunite with each other. It’s not a show that I would recommend binge watching. It would be best to spread episodes out over the course of a few days. The series runs eight episodes in total.

All episodes of We Were the Lucky Ones are now streaming on Hulu.

It’s so nice to meet you. How are you doing?

Hadas Yaron: I’m good. How are you?

All things considered, I’m doing well, which seems to be the answer for the past six months.

Hadas Yaron: Yeah, it’s been like this for a long, long time.

I watched all eight episodes just before the series premiered on Hulu and thought it could not be more timely or relevant.

Hadas Yaron: Yeah.

What was it about We Were the Lucky Ones that drew you to the role?

Hadas Yaron: Well, for me, it’s a very personal story because it’s like the story of both my grandmothers, from both sides. It’s just also just a beautiful, beautiful book and amazing, beautiful team working on the show. Everyone was just the best people, soul wise. I’ve never worked with such good people before in my life so I’m very grateful for that. I think it’s just an important story to tell, always. But every story that something that actually happened to people and stories that allow us to just view things from—because this whole thing is so big and when you go into more intimate moments of it, it just gets you closer to it so it’s always important.

How familiar were you with Georgia Hunter’s book before taking on the role?

Hadas Yaron: When I signed on, I already read it, but when I first got the call for this, I didn’t read the book. I mean, it had been a best seller in Israel. When I started the process of casting, I read it.

Outside of the book, did you do any particular prep for the role heading into production?

Hadas Yaron: Well, reading the book was really helpful because it gives you just so much depth and richness that is also in the script, but also just whenever I want to—you have a scene that’s like a page and then when I go to the book, there’s five pages of it, inner-dialogue, thoughts, and moments, so that really helped. Other than that, it was just doing the job. I really know all there is to know about that time of history because I come from a place that is built on that and I grew up surrounded by survivors and so I almost felt like in the past decade, I haven’t read anything about it or touched materials like books, films—I was like, enough is enough, this is history. I can’t have this Holocaust thing around me all my life. But I just got back to reading some stuff, seeing some documentaries, and mostly just because it’s written so well, you just have to bring yourself to it and just say the words words, feel the feelings and you’re there.

What do you typically look for in a character when you’re reading a script?

Hadas Yaron: I look for something interesting. I mean, I look for something that makes me feel something. That makes me maybe even laugh or just makes me curious about how to do it. I also really like it when I read something and it just comes naturally to you because it’s nice when it comes naturally to you. Of course, it’s work and people do like character work but it’s just nice when you read something and you just feel you know how to say it. I think the writing is the most important thing. I feel like you can’t go wrong with writing so also for this, I was just like, writing is so good, there’s no way that we’re going to be bad at this. Sometimes, you do things that where the writing is not the best and you’re like, Oh, I hope I come off okay, because it’s mostly I think the writing creates at all. The writing is 80% of the job. It’s so important.

Nechuma (Robin Weigert), Halina (Joey King), Mila (Hadas Yaron), Selim (Michael Aloni), Herta (Moran Rosenblatt), Genek (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) and Jakob (Amit Rahav) in We Were the Lucky Ones -- “Radom” - Episode 101.
Nechuma (Robin Weigert), Halina (Joey King), Mila (Hadas Yaron), Selim (Michael Aloni), Herta (Moran Rosenblatt), Genek (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) and Jakob (Amit Rahav) in We Were the Lucky Ones — “Radom” – Episode 101. Photo credit: Vlad Cioplea/Hulu.

The series gave you an opportunity to not only reunite with Michael Aloni but play TV spouses again.

Hadas Yaron: Of course. Of course it did, which was really, really great. We laugh about it all the time. It was really great to work with him. When you work in the same country then you just go to set, you do the thing, and then you say goodbye at the end of the day, although we really—Michael is a really, really good partner. I remember that for Shtisel, we lived close by—we were neighbors, like two streets away from me, so I’d meet him in the street all the time. But also, when we were doing Shtisel, we met in this coffee shop near our house and we read our scenes. But then, it’s kind of like, we just say hello in the local bar or something. When you work together in a project abroad, that’s something really special about working abroad that I really enjoy is that you get to spend breakfast together and after set, you hang out and then you’re just together all the time. It was a really good reunion. We really enjoyed it.

At what point did you know that you were going to be reuniting on the series?

Hadas Yaron: After I was cast. It’s funny because they had two options and the other guy was also someone I know, like really good friend of mine and was like, maybe I’ll do Selim. I was like, Oh, that’s amazing. I actually didn’t know about Michael and then I had a Zoom with Erica Lipez and Tommy Kail just before going to Romania, and they were like we cast Michael. I was like, Really?!? Yeah, it was great.

With the series focused on such heavy themes, what was the mood like when you all were not on set?

Hadas Yaron: The mood was really good, actually, because we are all really friendly people and also, we really bonded with each other. We bonded before we even got to Romania. We had this one Zoom of the cast just to get to know each other, to be like, these are our faces, introduce each other—Hi, I’m Hadas and I play Mila—and that’s what we did. Immediately after that, Henry sent us an email, Hey, guys, does anybody play tennis? I would love to play tennis when we’re in Romania. We’re like, Yeah, sure. When we got to Romania, we went to play tennis. We did tours in the city. We had dinners every night. We had games nights—we played every game possible and we just hung out all the time. Basically, it was just fun. We really loved each other. Even on set, it was fun, just in between takes, and then you go back to where you have to go.

You’ve won an Ophir Award in the past. How do you manage to stay grounded?

Hadas Yaron: I just am. Awards are important because they help shine a light on something. That’s actually something really nice that Tommy said to us. It helps shine a light on something you want people to see. But awards are just like, it’s an award. I don’t want to be disrespectful but I have a few awards that are at my mom’s house. She used one of them because it has such as big box and she put a just clock on it and used it as a (inaudible). I’m really happy. You do want to get awards because you’re like, someone likes what I did and it’s nice to feel that but I don’t know. That’s who I am. We’re all people. Doesn’t matter.

All episodes of We Were the Lucky Ones are now streaming on Hulu.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.