“It’s a big deal that [Amber Brown’s] Parents get divorced, and seeing it through the eyes of a child is very real.”
Bonnie Hunt is one of those hidden Hollywood talents. Do you know about his work from films like jerry maguire, the green MileAnd Jumanji, or you know his tv work, like his sitcom Bonniee and life with bonnie, But what you may not know is that Hunt is a Hollywood triple threat: an actor, director, and writer.
his latest project is Apple tv plus series amber brown, based on the popular children’s book series. Hunt directed, wrote, and executive produced the series.
“It’s a big deal that his parents get divorced and seeing it through the eyes of a child, his pain is so real,” said Bonnie Hunt Newsweek’s parting shot, “And that sadness, that longing, ‘When will this be back to normal?’ And as this first season gets on, [we’re] Getting a little closer to the acceptance that it probably isn’t.”
Hear the full conversation between Hunt and newsweekH. Alan Scott on the Latest parting shot, Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.
what inspired you to do amber brown,
It was actually my mother. A few years ago, she was encouraging me to write about this generation—because I am the aunt of many nieces and nephews, I have six siblings. So my mom was like, “You should write about being an aunt, because I hear all the laughter and they believe in you, and you talk to these young people because they need it.”
And then I started writing an outline. At the same time, I ran into one of the officers. He asked me what I was working on, I told him and he said, “Okay, we have this series of books, amber brownAnd so I took a look at them. And I got to talk to them [Amber Brown author] Paula Denzinger’s family will surely get her blessings.
I told him that I would like to set Amber in today’s time, as the books were written many years ago. I wanted to make her an artist, and apply my personal life and my experience with my mother to it, but the inspiration from the book is the heart, the humour, the wit. And he gave me his blessing. So I dove right in.
There’s something special in children’s literature, so whether you’re an adult reading this, you find that connection to childhood, that kind of nostalgic touchstone. when you first started reading amber brown Stories, what touched you?
It was interesting. It was translated into so many languages and so many people were reading it—I didn’t even know about books until then [the executive] Told me about them. I think it was a resemblance, a combination of both worlds, and being able to bring Amber to the present day and make her grow up, but keep the heart and soul of the family’s despair and expectations.
I mean it’s a big deal that his parents get divorced and seeing it through the eyes of a child his pain is so real. And that sadness, that longing, “When will this be back to normal?” And as this first season gets on, [we’re] Getting a little closer to the acceptance that it probably isn’t.
I’ve had many conversations with my mutual friend Danny Pellegrino everything iconic Podcast and book author How Do I Remember This?: Unfortunately True StoriesHow much we love your work. when i saw you jerry maguire, I didn’t care for Renee Zellweger, although I love her, and I didn’t care for Tom Cruise—I just wanted to be you. I wanted the film to be told from your perspective.
I’m so lucky to have fans like you, because we know each other, you know? We just get it, we speak the same language. And it’s so much fun when people get it. That’s what I love.
Even when my shows didn’t work, people got it, even if it was six episodes, one season, two seasons. And I see them at the grocery store and they’ll remember a few lines or a few moments and that’s all I need to pay. I like that part of it.
We meet each other, and I’m so happy I worked as hard as I did in the early ’90s [on Bonnie], I was the first to do all this, right? Star and executive producer on a show. I had to go to all the unions, I had to get everything approved because no one had ever done this. I just wanted to be the storyteller and look at it completely and do something different where the actors were having so much real and overlapping dialogue and shooting it like a single camera using additional cameras. All that stuff is normal now.
I’ve always felt that you played a lot of mothers or wives or sisters, great supporting characters, which gave you a lot to work with. But sometimes I was like, “I want to see her in the lead role in a movie right away.” You definitely excelled in the voice work and you did a lot of interesting things with Pixar. But have you ever felt like you were pigeonholed with some of those movies?
I think you can see it like this. But you know, I’m a blue collar kid, kid from the city of Chicago. I was a nurse for seven years. An oncology nurse, I worked in an emergency room. I still volunteer as an advocate for newly diagnosed cancer patients. I have never completely given up my nursing background to become a storyteller.
to be part of [Hollywood] Magic, which meant a lot to me and still does today. I love getting lost in a great movie or a great drama or a great TV show. I did rain Man And jerry maguire I played with Tom Cruise Tom Hankswife in the green Mile, cheaper by the Dozen with Steve Martin, Jumanji With Robin Williams.
Yeah, maybe I was the second banana or the character actor. But boy, is this the company you keep. Just good time with great people. And those are the memories I hold dear. They’re very valuable, much more than whether it was a starring role or not, you know? These are the people.
What do you get from directing? what do you get from making something like your movie return to me,
Back to my wonderful mom – she always told me, “Bonnie, be mindful of the energy you’re going to put into the world. Because it can have a ripple effect.” And I think the ripple effect is what I love.
When I’m at the grocery store, and someone comes up to me and they’ll say a line, something I wrote that really stayed with them. like with return to me, Does it make people happy? Do they feel like they can relate to something I wrote? Because that stuff was so powerful to me as a kid; Some movies and TV shows show that I was exactly like, “Oh my god, I love these guys.” and while i was writing return to me, [MGM asked] “What’s the movie?”
And I said, “I’m not sure yet, but I’m going to write something where I think people want to crawl across the screen and be with those people.” That was my goal.