Hulu’s We Were the Lucky Ones: Exploring All Shooting Sites

‘We Were the Lucky Ones’ chronicles the true story of a Jewish family being torn apart at the beginning of World War II, fighting to survive and find their way back to each other in a four-continent-spanning tale of family, love, and resilience. The Kurcs are a successful Jewish family peacefully residing in the Polish city of Radom. When Hitler invades the nation and begins prosecuting its Jewish citizenry, some family members manage to escape while others go into hiding or are imprisoned in concentration camps.

Helmed by showrunner Erica Lipez, the Hulu show is based on Georgia Hunter’s eponymous novel about her grandfather, Addy. Actor Logan Lerman offers a compelling portrayal of Addy in the show. As the story follows the Kurcs’ search for surviving family members over the years, the saga takes us across nine years and four continents, likely generating questions regarding the shooting sites behind the enormous project.

Where is We Were the Lucky Ones Filmed?

‘We Were the Lucky Ones’ was filmed in Bucharest, Romania, and across the cities of Malaga, Cadiz, and Jerez in Spain. Principal photography began in December 2022, and the first season was wrapped up with 123 days of shooting by June 15, 2023. Georgia Hunter was on set every step of the way and was a constant reference point for the team because of her personal experiences with the people depicted by the cast, as well as her deep research into the subject matter.

When asked about her favorite scene on set, Hunter recalls seeing the cast as her family and all of them coming together for the dining scene. “To me, I will never forget being on set that day, (seeing them) as a family together,” she said in an interview. “It wasn’t even when we were rolling, but in between takes. Watching this cast, around the table, chatting, bickering, loving on each other, as a family already.” Narrating their own experiences behind the scenes, the cast members told a similar story of forming close bonds over their work and the considerable shooting schedule. Let us take a look at the shooting sites used to retell this true story.

Bucharest, Romania

The production team ventured to the Eastern European country of Romania and set up shop in its capital city of Bucharest to shoot a large portion of the series there. Situated on the banks of the river Dâmbovița in south-eastern Romania, the city has a cosmopolitan landscape with modern architecture standing alongside monuments of its rich history and cultural heritage. The shooting for ‘We Were the Lucky Ones’ in Bucharest largely takes place in massive sets built by the production team under production designer James Merifield; these depict World War II-era backgrounds in the show. Also, a major chunk of the sequences with settings of Poland, France, and Eastern Europe are filmed here.

“Our production designer and team built a massive back lot in Bucharest that was this maze of buildings that became three different cities in Poland,” explained Erica Lipez in an interview. “It was a true feat, but we had all these other locations that were supposed to be in these very diverse environments.” Bucharest itself has a considerable history with the war and the Holocaust. Near the Great Synagogue, the Holocaust Museum recounts the harrowing stories of the Jewish people’s suffering during the Second World War. The Holocaust Memorial, on Strada Anghel Saligny 1, stands as a sober reminder of the atrocities and honors the lives lost.

Malaga, Spain

The team makes clever use of the geography and architecture of the Spanish city of Malaga, among others, to depict various theaters in the Kurcs’ saga, including Italy, Brazil, and West Africa. Located in the southern region of Andalusia, Spain, Málaga is a port town that is known for its distinctive vacation atmosphere and being the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. The cast of the show was spotted driving antiquated vehicles and shooting at historical sites. While not as prominent as in other Spanish cities, Málaga also has a Jewish heritage reflected in its historic Jewish quarter.

Other Locations in Spain

Filming of ‘We Were the Lucky Ones’ is also carried out across the Spanish cities of Cadiz and Jerez. Cádiz boasts a wealth of historical sites and architectural treasures that were utilized in ‘We Were the Lucky Ones.’ Jerez de la Frontera is a city steeped in culture and history. The historic center features elegant palaces, churches, and squares, reflecting the city’s Moorish and Christian heritage.

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