“The joy that’s in the show comes from family, with the love and kindness everybody spreads,” admits Elisha “EJ” Williams about “The Wonder Years.” He was joined on our recent webchat by co-star Saycon Sengbloh, who adds, “I love that that the families are able to join together in the show. The camaraderie in that neighborhood. Not all people have that in this era. People don’t trust each other. We don’t talk as much; everybody’s texting. That type of socialization is beautiful to see represented.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“The Wonder Years” is a reimagining of the Emmy-winning series from 1988. While still set in the late 1960’s, this incarnation tells the story of a middle class African-American family in Alabama. Williams plays Dean, the 12-year-old, who is looking back on his childhood through his adult version (voiced by Don Cheadle). Sengbloh plays Dean’s mom Lillian. She explains, “We’re looking back to this era in 1968 through the lens of the 2020s. There’s so much that we know about how things end up.”
EJ, who is experiencing his own wonder years as he makes the show, reflects, “Something I’ve definitely learned is nobody’s exactly the same. On the show, you have everybody coming from different backgrounds. They all find those pieces they can relate to each other on. Dule Hill (who plays Dean’s father) and Saycon are coming from a similar era but different backgrounds. It’s just beautiful to see how everybody plays together; the different stories and different advice. When you put it together it’s one beautiful masterpiece.”
Sengbloh reveals, “EJ just falls right into character. He knows how to ride that line in being a nerdy kid but also a cool kid. In my own personal life, I ride that line as well. I do some pretty cool stuff but I also do some pretty nerdy stuff. We all have different types, and we’re all enjoying our life in a different way. EJ fell right into it very easily. And I get a chance to fall into my character playing his mom. We were having milkshakes in a scene. We had a lot of milkshakes, because we were filming the scene over and over. It was just fun how we relate to each other. EJ has always got jokes. We just fell into it really naturally.”
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