Julian Lerner chatted about playing ‘Brad Hitman’ in ABC’s The Wonder Years, a reimagining of the classic series of the same name.
Welcome Julian and thank you for taking the time to chat with us again!
Julian Lerner (JL): Thank you guys for having me again.
What have you been up to since we last spoke earlier this year?
JL: Well, I’ve been filming The Wonder Years. I’m still doing Alma’s Way which is coming out on PBS. I’m also doing this podcast called From Now – so cool, oh my gosh. It’s this sci-fi, fun adventure-type podcast. Definitely go check it out! Basically yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to.
Currently, you star as “Brad Hitman” in The Wonder Years reboot which premiered on ABC in September 2021. For anyone who is unfamiliar, could you describe the show and your character?
JL: This show, The Wonder Years reimagined, depicts the social and family life of a 12-year-old boy growing up in Montgomery, Alabama. It is told through the eyes of Dean (Elisha ‘EJ’ Williams) and is narrated by his grownup self. My character… I mean, he’s funny, fun, loves his friends. He’s just up for anything.
As you were not yet born while the original Wonder Years (1988-1993) was on air, had you ever seen it before landing the role of Brad? Was Fred Savage (an EP on the 2021 series) recognisable to you at all?
JL: Actually, the second I booked the show, I started binge-watching right away. I’m thinking, “Oh my God, it’s so good. It’s amazing.” I could really relate to the kids, when they laughed I laughed. When it was awkward, I could definitely relate to that. When the drama hits, it really hits hard.
To any fans of original The Wonder Years who might be hesistant to check out this new version, what do you think they would enjoy about it?
JL: There are definitely similarities and differences, right? The similarities are that it’s funny, it’s uplifting, they talk about real issues on the show. It’s through the perspective of a kid. The differences… it’s more about social justice of the 1960s. It’s through the lens of a black family. They get to experience stuff like, “Oh wow, I remember that!” Or, “That’s really cool! I like how they did that.” The changes make it maybe more interesting, in a way.
Your castmates include the likes of Dulé Hill and Don Cheadle. Were you at all intimidated to work with actors of that calibre?
JL: Definitely, of course. It’s so cool to work with actors who, you know, have big names and I can really learn from them. It’s just great to act with them. I think it really helps my acting because the scene looks like real life when they’re acting. It helps me to act when I’m in a scene with them.
Should this iteration of The Wonder Years continue for many years, what would you like to see happen to Brad?
JL: I mean, I don’t know! It’s really cool to see what happens but it can go either way. Maybe they’re going to incorporate some stuff that did happen. Or, they make take Brad in a whole different direction. It’s going to be really, really cool to see that happen.
Away from The Wonder Years, are there any other projects you have lined up?
JL: Like I said earlier, Alma’s Way comes out on PBS. Definitely go watch it! I think people are really going to like it. It’s Sonia Manzano from Sesame Street, based on her life growing up in The Bronx. I play Lucas in it, one of her friends. I really hope people are going to like it. There’s also some singing in it, which is pretty cool.
Thanks again for taking the time, Julian. Take care and stay safe!
JL: Thank you so much!