In his lengthy career, Freddie Prinze Jr. was part of many memorable projects, from the Scooby-Doo movies to I Know What You Did Last Summer to the disturbingly amazing The House of Yes. In recent years, he took a break from live-action acting to focus on fatherhood, making limited TV appearances on top of voice work in projects such as the excellent Star Wars Rebels. That all got flipped around when Prinze joined the cast of Peacock's Punky Brewster revival alongside returning star Soleil Moon Frye, and the actor has an awesome story behind why he agreed to take it.
As seen and heard in the video above, it was more a series of interesting moments and unpredictable coincidences that led Freddie Prinze Jr. to the role of Punky Brewster's semi-slacker ex-husband Travis. It's quite the ripping yarn to hear in its entirety, as it's very much like a shaggy dog story, but one that actually involves a positive outcome, rather than something jokey or disappointing. For those who didn't or can't watch, here's how he started the tale:
Interestingly enough, Freddie Prinze Jr.'s name was apparently being considered by the Punky Brewster producers, despite his lack of intentions by way of landing big TV jobs. That possibly came by way of Beverly Hills 90210 and Masked Dancer vet Brian Austin Green, who co-starred with Prinze on the 2000s sitcom Freddie, and who was also good friends with Punky Brewster herself, Soleil Moon Frye. (Fun fact, Green will appear in Frye's home-movie documentary Kid 90, which debuts on Hulu.) But despite the advice of a good friend to dig into the script, Prinze was like nahhhh.
Of course, Freddie Prinze Jr.'s negligence didn't go unchecked for very long. He continued, saying:
So now Freddie Prinze Jr. had two of his best friends, one of whom being his wife, telling him that it was a no-brainer to try and land the role on Punky Brewster's revival. All that was left for him to do was meet Soleil Moon Frye, and the bizarre circumstances behind that first meeting were what immediately convinced him to take the gig. Here's how Prinze explained it:
How many times in life can someone say that an impromptu Back to the Future-themed proposal at Universal Studios was the reason they decided to take a big job? Definitely not the case for me, I gotta say. In fact, none of my jobs involve Back to the Future's long-lasting legacy, except for the one gig at the sports almanac. But I lost that one before I even got it, so go figure. (Womp womp.)
In the end, Brian Austin Green, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Soleil Moon Frye were the holy trinity that convinced Freddie Prinze Jr. to agree to Punky Brewster, and we can only assume the Universal Studios usher also went by three names. Maybe her middle name was "Kismet."
Grab the family and be sure to check out all 10 episodes of Punky Brewster's revival on Peacock. And if you happen to need a Dungeons & Dragons campaign written up, Prinze might just be your guy, if he's not working on Season 2.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.