EXCLUSIVE: The Wonder Years pilot is adding to its cast.
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Kid actors Milan Ray, Julian Lerner and Amari O’Neil are joining ABC’s reboot alongside Elisha “EJ” Williams, who will play Dean Williams, the new Kevin Arnold.
The Wonder Years single-camera comedy reboot pilot comes from Dave exec producer Saladin Patterson, Fred Savage and Empire co-creator Lee Daniels.
Written by Patterson and directed by Savage, the reboot of the classic 1980s family comedy-drama is set in the same era as the original. It looks at how the Williamses, a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, AL, in the turbulent late 1960s made sure it was the Wonder Years for them too.
Psych alum Dulé Hill and In the Dark’s Saycon Sengbloh star as Dean’s parents. Laura Kariuki (Black Lightning) is Kim Williams, Dean’s teenage sister.
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Ray, who recently had roles in Amazon’s Troop Zero and HBO’s Charm City Kings, plays Keisa Clemmons, the apple of Dean’s eye. She’s confident, smart, self-possessed and is not afraid to speak her mind and doesn’t take any guff from anyone.
Lerner, who recently appeared in Netflix’s Yes Day opposite Jennifer Garner, Edgar Ramirez, and Jenna Ortega, and O’Neil, who has appeared in Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19 and The Mayor, play two of Dean’s best friends.
Lerner plays Brad Hitman, a smart, good-natured kid with a sense of humor. He’s described by Adult Dean as “rhe Pee Wee Reese to my Jackie Robinson. That is, if Pee Wee Reese were Jewish and Jackie Robinson couldn’t catch a fly ball.”
O’Neil plays Cory Long, who had everything figured out when he hit puberty on the early side. He knows a whole lot more about fitting in than Dean does – and constantly offers Dean advice.
Patterson and Savage executive produce along with Daniels and Marc Velez via Lee Daniels Entertainment. The original series’ co-creator Neal Marlens serves as a consultant. 20th Television is the studio.
Ray is repped by Paradigm and Manning Entertainment. Lerner is repped by Teri B Talent Management, Paradigm and Goodman Genow Schenkman Smelkinson. Christopher. Amari is repped by Gem Entertainment Group and A3 Artists Agency.
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