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In the 1990s, when mobile phones were far from ubiquitous and social media still years away from catching on, Soleil Moon Frye did something very few were doing at the time — she carried a video camera everywhere she went.
The actress who booked her first acting job at 5 years old before cementing herself as a star with the iconic TV series Punky Brewster (1984-1988) enjoyed rare views as the time while navigating Hollywood as a teenage actress with a cadre of famous friends. Frye, 44, had no plans to share the footage and she eventually locked it away in a vault where it stayed for more than 20 years — until now.
“I often wondered if things had happened the way that I remembered them and I finally decided to unlock the vault,” she said of the decision to examine the footage which led to the idea for a full-length feature based on what she found. “What started as a documentary about my friends and our lives soon became a coming-of-age story about myself that has changed me forever.”
The world will soon get to soon what Frye has come up with. Hulu has licensed U.S. rights to Frye’s original documentary, titled KID 90. Composed from hundreds of hours of footage from that decade, it is said to serve as a blueprint of Frye’s life and includes videos along with voicemails, audio recordings and diary entries she had also preserved. The doc features new interviews with lifelong friends David Arquette, Balt Getty, Brian Austin Green, Stephen Dorff and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and others. Also featured: Never-before-seen footage of Harold Hunter, Justin Pierce, Danny Boy O’Connor, Jenny Lewis, Jonathan Brandis, and many others. Another longtime friend, Linda Perry, is on board to craft an original score.
Frye is producing KID 90 alongside alongside STX Entertainment with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions’ Jennifer Davisson and Phillip Watson serving serve as executive producers. STXinternational retains international distribution rights. Said Frye of her team: “I feel incredibly blessed to have had such amazing support by some of the most creative people and I am enormously grateful to Appian Way, STX, and Hulu, whose belief in me as a director and artist has been supported since the beginning of this project.”
Hulu’s vp of documentaries Belisa Balaban said the film aligns with the company’s interests to “elevate powerful and relevant stories about the human experience” while expanding its slate of original docs like Minding The Gap, Ask Dr. Ruth and Hillary. “Soleil’s deeply personal film provides a window into her unique experience of growing up in the public eye, with all of its rewards and challenges,” said Balaban.
On the STX side, Jason Goldberg, who is also Frye’s husband and will take an executive producer credit, said the film will resonate with anyone who grew up in the ‘90s. “This is a captivating and compelling film that has been a work in progress since the 90’s and has been literally coming together for the last 30 years,” said Goldberg. “What is remarkable is that, Soleil had the presence of mind to know how this footage might be used one day. She has such a natural eye for detail and a caring, loving approach to capturing the lives of the people around her. As a filmmaker, she has brought a unique voice to assembling that footage and recreating that era in this story as she depicts that time and place.”
Frye previously directed Wild Horses and the doc Sonny Boy. She reprises her role in the multi-camera/hybrid reboot of Punky Brewster with UCP for NBCUniversal’s new streaming platform, Peacock. She will also next be heard in the animated The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder for Disney+.
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