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When “The Fosters” co-creators Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg were pitching their “traditional family drama with a non-traditional family,” it was important to them to offer a fresh perspective on age-old ideas and questions for their characters.
It’s a formula that has been successful for the series throughout ABC Family-turned-Freeform’s multiple network rebrands and 100 episodes.
Story - Moms - Stef - Lena - Adams
Starting with a story about two moms (Stef and Lena Adams Foster, played respectively by Teri Polo and Sherri Saum) raising a house full of children, the creators knew they wanted a range of family members to open up the emotional struggles for the characters and offer more baggage to be unpacked.
“What’s it like to be the younger brother of a golden boy has been in every drama that’s ever been, but what’s it like to be the younger, adopted brother of a biological golden boy?” Paige says of characters Jesus (played initially by Jake T. Austin but recast midway through the series’ run with Noah Centineo) and Brandon (David Lambert). “We wanted a little bit of everything: we wanted a son who was born biologically from a previous marriage, we wanted some kids who had been brought into the family by adoption but were there a while, and then we thought [it would be] an interesting pilot premise if this girl came into the family and mixed things up.”
Girl - Callie - Maia - Mitchell - Teenager
That girl was Callie (Maia Mitchell), a teenager who was plucked out of a juvenile detention hall after being attacked by a bunch of girls. Prior to being sent to juvie, she and her brother Jude (Hayden Byerly) were living in an abusive foster home while her father was in jail for killing her mother in a drunken-driving accident.
Taking on such serious subject matter opened up the story ideas, but also made “The Fosters” a tough sell...
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