In the 1960s, he was best known for playing the sprightly Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Today, film producer and director Ron Howard is accredited for directing films such as “Apollo 13,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code.”
In 1989, Howard directed the box-office movie, entitled “Parenthood.” The movie had a star cast with names such as Rick Moranis, Keanu Reaves, and Joaquin Phoenix.
The movie’s popularity soared, and so Howard decided to branch off from movie production and produce a television series named after the movie.
Although this series was cast with celebrities such as David Arquette, Thora Birch and Leonardo Dicaprio, it was cancelled after only 12 episodes in 1991.
Now, after almost two decades since Ron Howard produced the TV version of “Parenthood,” he has teamed up with Jason Katims to take a new approach to his new show of the same title.
Howard’s new “Parenthood” TV series is about the trials and tribulations of raising children.
However, it is not about just one component, such as the mother, the father, the children or the grandparents.
It is specifically written for all age groups because it is based solely on the aspect of parenthood.
The show is about a family, the Bravermans, who are in no way perfect.
Single mother Sarah Braverman is played by Lauren Graham, who is best known for her role in “Gilmore Girls.”
Graham’s costars include Mae Whitman (“In Treatment”), Miles Heizer (“ER”), Savannah Rae (“House”), Sam Jaeger (“Eli Stone”), Dax Shepard (“Baby Mama”) and Peter Krause (“Six Feet Under”), among many others.
Ron Howard, Lauren Graham and Jason Katims participated in a conference call with “The Quad,” where they answered questions from various collegiate journalists and writers.
Q. “After 20 years after the original “Parenthood,” why did you decide to produce a new series?”
A. (Ron Howard) “We tried a new television series a couple of years after and it couldn’t capture the scope of the family; it was a half-hour sort of sitcom approach.
“And it was frustrating in that way. We thought that was sort of the end of Parenthood.”
A. (Jason Katims)-“I think going back and looking at the movie again I felt that it was so rich and that. . . not only was the movie so wonderful, but the world that was created in that movie was so rich and so ripe with possibilities.
“And I kept thinking, I want to see more, I want to know more about them, I want to live with these people. And that to me is the key to [it].
“It seems like, ‘oh yeah, come up with a TV show,’ it seems like an easy thing to do. But it’s a very hard thing to try to figure out the ingredients that would make a good show.”
Q. “Since the new version of “Parenthood” is based on the challenges of being a parent in today’s world, did you relate your own experiences to the show?”
A. (Ron Howard) “All of our parenting experiences are going to come in to play and that’s Jason and the staff and all of us involved. But as it continues to grow it’s also going to be the actors.”
“What’s great about this is that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cast ‘gel’ from the first moment of life of a show the way this cast has.
“And so I know that this cast is going to carry their personal understanding of these relationships into the show in ways that the audiences are going to feel.”
Q. [to Graham] Do you feel as if your previous role on “Gilmore Girls” has helped you transition to this new role in “Parenthood?”
A. (Lauren Graham) “I have been reading scripts for two and a half years or three years . . . and there just wasn’t anything I connected to, and that’s including things that I was developing that maybe didn’t get to exactly the place I wanted them to.”
“In so many ways the experience of [Parenthood] is so totally different . . . so I think the fact that the circumstances are similar actually never remind me of each other at all.”
“This show is less about verbal kind of dexterity and long speeches and it’s more small moments and real behavior, and, you know, people reacting to each other in a moment. There’s a lot more silence.”
“It’s Sarah really struggling in her life and not in a great place and [she] hasn’t reached her potential in a lot of ways. The character I played in the past is sort of always winning in a way, so this is someone who has much further to go to reach any of her dreams and that was all appealing to me.”
“Parenthood” premieres on NBC, Tuesday March 2 at 10 p.m.
Steph Draifinger is a student at West Chester University. She can be reached at SD618671@wcupa.edu.