EXCLUSIVE: Revelations Entertainment has acquired Thunder, Hunter, and Me, a four-part docuseries about how a chance connection four decades in the making helped open up the pathway for love and healing.
The project follows the blossoming friendship between Melora Hardin (The Office, Transparent) and Hunter Austin, a longtime fan of Hardin’s 1977 series Thunder, about a young girl and her beloved stallion. As trust grew between the women, Austin felt comfortable enough with her new friend to reveal she had been raped at the age of 7 by a stranger in a park bathroom and the effects it had on her life.
The pair go on a powerful journey towards healing in the docuseries, formatted like a video diary, with Hardin serving as director. A trailer can be seen above.
Hardin and Revelations Entertainment CEO Lori McCreary spoke with Deadline about Thunder, Hunter, and Me, Austin’s resilience, and what they’ve learned about themselves along the way. The interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
DEADLINE: Melora, tell me about this docuseries and why you hope people will watch even though the subject matter is so difficult?
MELORA HARDIN: This is an invitation for others to do their own healing. I’m not standing on a soapbox and telling you this is how you have to do it. It’s really just like looking through a keyhole because I picked up the camera so early in the experience. I would say 85 percent of it is completely self-shot during private moments between Hunter and me. There was no crew around. This is really just a picture of friendship showing how these two friends did this.
Lori and I were talking about this yesterday. Who is the person you would go to when you’re a child and have experienced sexual abuse? You hope you can go to your parents and that they will show up for you. But often, children stay quiet and a lot of women do, too. If they’re going to talk, they often will speak to their girlfriends.
There’s a picture here in this documentary that shows you how you can show up [for your friends]. What both Hunter and I really feel motivated us the most in making this was to shine a light on the healing aspect and the way [trauma] can really sort of imprison a part of your life for a very long time.
Hunter was frozen at 7 in terms of how she dealt with intimate relationships. We want to show people that if you can go into the darkness with somebody holding your hand, you can heal. We hope it will inspire people to do their own healing, find their own path, and talk to the people they feel safe with.
DEADLINE: Lori, what was it about the documentary that touched you?
LORI McCREARY: One of the extraordinary things about Hunter and Melora coming together is their bravery. Many times this could have happened to friends and in the end, you realize there’s a story to tell. But they thought about it so early in the process. I don’t know how you get this kind of transformation on screen unless you have the foresight they did, which is, “Wow, this is going to be a big journey. Let’s document it in case this can help someone else.” That to me was so inspiring.
I get teary-eyed thinking about it because you see when you get to the end, there’s a physical transformation, not only a spiritual transformation. I’ve seen it so many times and each time I see it, I find something new that hits you at the core. That’s why I’m so proud to be associated with this. We may all know somebody who perhaps went through this and I feel like it could be transformational in a lot of ways.
DEADLINE: Melora, how is your friend Hunter doing now?
HARDIN: Hunter and I continue to grow and transform. She’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. The thing that’s extraordinary about Hunter, and why we say all the time that we couldn’t have done this with anybody else, is the way she showed up with so much desire and hunger. She was literally starved for change. All she needed was someone willing to go on this journey with her. We were a perfect match.
We talk about it in the documentary about how she’s on the fast track—she didn’t want to waste any more time. She has a lot to give. She continues to grow and change so fast. Today, we’re still very close. We talk and see each other all the time. She keeps getting better all the time.
DEADLINE: Lori, did watching Thunder, Hunter, and Me teach you anything about yourself?
McCREARY: Yes. I think female friendships are not to be trifled with, and, are also to be leaned into. When I look at it I think of a handful of women that I could go to if something happened to me today. It’s such a love story to female friendships and to how we process with each other. How vulnerable we can be with each other. It’s different than, “We gotta go find who did this to you and fix it.” It’s about, “Let me take off what’s been binding you or whatever you feel has been binding you. Let’s see if we can lift those protections we’ve put up to help us live fully into who we are.”