“Amber Brown” is Bonnie Hunt’s spin on a successful young adult series featuring 11-year-old Amber Brown as she copes with her parents’ divorce.
Hunt entered this smart, entertaining, enduringly popular (10 million-plus copies sold) world serendipitously.
“I was writing a show about being an aunt. My mom was encouraging me to write for that generation,” Hunt, 60 and best known for writing and starring in “Life with Bonnie” and movies like “Cheaper by the Dozen,” began.
“She was, ‘You have all these nieces and nephews and I always hear you on the phone giving them advice. You should speak to that generation, write for them.’
“At the same time I started doing that, I ran into an executive who asked, ‘What are you working on?’ When I told him he says, ‘Well, we have the right to the series for Amber Brown.”
Paula Danziger’s series began in 1994 and ended with her untimely death in 2004. It was revived years later for three more books by her two best friends.
“I read the books,” Hunt said, noting differences. “Amber’s a lot younger in the books so I met with the family and fortunately they gave me creative license to make the show and the character very personal for me. It’s based very much on my relationship with my mom, my experience being an aunt.”
Hunt smiled, “The heart and soul is there from the books. The humor, circumstances and everything is a combination of all of us. I mean Amber’s older in the series and it’s takes place in present day because it was written years ago, before social media and everything. The world’s changed a lot.
“And I made her an artist who as she does her sketches we see full animation. She copes with life through art and music.”
Carsyn Rose stars as ‘Amber Brown’ on Apple TV+. Bonnie Hunt is the series’ creator and writer, based on the series of children’s books.
As the creator and writer who developed the AppleTV+ series, what does Hunt hope viewers take away?
“I tried to write a story full of pathos and humor, one everybody could watch it and get comfort, love and laughter.
“I mean, I used to watch ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ with my parents. I would see them watching that classic television show full of love, humor, smarts and community. And in that moment, these two blue collar folks who are raising seven kids in the middle of the city would forget all their problems.
“I’d see this joy and laughter and connection with these characters. And I remember thinking, it seems so magical to me. I hope somehow I can do a little percentage of that.”