Published February 28, 2005
"Diff'rent Strokes," (search) the popular '80s series that produced lots of laughs — and plenty of real-life heartache for its stars — will get the "Behind the Camera" treatment from NBC.
Shooting will begin in Vancouver this month on "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Diff'rent Strokes,'" (search) with original cast members Gary Coleman (search) and Todd Bridges (search) serving as consultants and appearing in on-camera interviews.
"Diff'rent Strokes," which aired on NBC from 1978-1986, was known as much for its off-screen drama as for its on-screen laughs — and for its young co-stars becoming poster children for bad behavior once the show ended.
Dana Plato (search), who played Kimberly Drummond on the series, died at age 34 in 1999 in what was ruled a suicide because of her longtime drug addiction.
The diminutive Coleman — who played Arnold Jackson and uttered the show's catchphrase-"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout?!" — ended up suing his parents for misappropriation of funds.
Bobb'e J. Thompson ("The Tracy Morgan Show") will portray a young Coleman — while Verda Bridges, the real-life sister of Todd Bridges, will play Bridges' mother.
On the series, co-star Conrad Bain (search) played a widowed Manhattan millionaire who adopts two orphaned brothers (Coleman, Bridges) from Harlem.
The "Diff'rent Strokes" movie will be the third in NBC's "Behind the Camera" franchise.