Back in 1984, a little girl named Punky Brewster showed up on TV screens and danced her way into our hearts. Now, that spunky kid is all grown up with a family, and its star Soleil Moon Frye is surprised she gets to revisit the character 37 years later.
“I still feel like a teenager!” the actress, now 44, tells ET Canada. “I don’t care if I’m 88 and people are still calling me ‘Punky’. Because I love Punky and Punky is a part of me. I don’t know where I end and she begins. We are the same in so many ways. And I’ve always wanted to bring back Punky and it was just the way the universe aligned and the stars aligned to have it come together during this time.”
The new W Network sitcom sees former foster kid Punky navigating a new set of challenges, including co-parenting a brood of kids with her ex-husband, played by Freddie Prinze Jr. Another familiar face in the reboot is Cherie Johnson who played Cherie, Punky’s BFF in the original series.
It’s that original “Punky Power” that brought Prinze Jr. back to acting.
“I was done with acting. I didn’t announce it or anything. I just took another job,” he explains. “And when I had kids, I quit that and became a full-time stay-at-home dad.”
It took a little convincing from friends to get the actor, 44, to come round to “Punky Brewster”, but meeting with Frye did the trick.
“A mutual friend of Soleil and myself, Brian Austin Green, who everybody knows and loves, called me up — and he said, ‘Hey, you lazy’ — he cussed. And he goes, ‘I know you’re not reading anything but they really like you, they are remaking ‘Punky Brewster’ and they really like you for this role and you should meet Soleil cause if you meet her you’re going to do it and you’ll fall in love with her.”
Though Punky may be all grown up, Frye promises the “Punky” reboot will share a lot in common with the original 1984-to-1988 series.
“It was so important throughout the whole process to stay true to the original and to really show the perspective of who Punky would grow into and what would her family look like today,” she says. “I’m so proud of it.”
“Punky Brewster” debuts on W Network on March 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.