Interview: Tyler Hilton Talks Music Collaborations And His Guilty Pleasures


Tyler Hilton, 28, is known first and foremost for his music talent. His raspy tone and alternative lyrics in songs such as ‘Missing You,’ ‘You’ll Ask For Me’ and ‘Glad’ are just some of his fan favorites. Backstage before a Rock The Schools Concert at the Gramercy Theater on Nov. 18, I got the chance to chat with the musician before his upcoming album hits stores in January.

Sitting at the Buddah Lounge with him in New York was like drinking beers with an old friend. His humor and charm is what one would think One Tree Hill’s Chris Keller would be like, minus the whole jerk attitude and Haley James trouble maker side. So check out the interview here. Tyler cued us in on how he comes up with those repeat worthy songs and why you won’t catch him partying on Thursday nights.

You’ve worked with so many people musically. Who would you still love to collaborate with?

Jack White. I’d love to do like a folk record with Jack White and Gillian Welch or Ryan Lambert or something. I think that would be great. I think Jack White’s cool. I think he likes the same kind of music as I do. There’s something about him that’s real rootsy and raw and I dig it. I mean of course Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne and sh*t but I just don’t think they’d ever do it…And then I would love to play with John Mayer at some point too. I love that dude. Any time I get the chance to work with him is awesome.

Absolutely love your cover songs! Your ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon is one of my favorites. What’s one of yours?

It’s always the last song that I do that’s my favorite. The recent one that I posted ago a couple of weeks ago was this Wilco one, called ‘Reservations.’ I really like that one. It was just something I was playing around with in the studio and my girlfriend just happened to be there and she filmed it and the video looked cool so I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll post that online.’ I love that song. So that’s my favorite right now.

What’s your process like when you get the inspiration to write a song?

Sometimes it starts with a lyric or an idea. Sometimes it’s a musical thing that inspires a lyric. It kind of works both ways. Most of the time I start with music inside some kind of feeling and then the feeling—I just say gibberish things with that feeling in mind and then I just head it off. It’s kind of like free styling up to the point where it makes sense. I just try to keep focused on that feeling and listen to the music and then make records that way. I never play or write the lyrics. I don’t know what happens. They just come to me and I make sh*t up and then at some point it just makes sense and then I’m like amazed. [Laughs] You know? I just still can’t believe I write songs. I’m shocked that I do sometimes.

That’s hilarious. Have you ever performed with your One Tree Hill alum Bryan Greenberg before?

Yea, he went on tour with me a while ago and tonight we’re going to sing a song together. We did on tour all the time, an Oasis tune.

Which one?

‘Wonderwall’ we’re going to do. You know, it’s just fun. It’s an old tune but its just—everyone does it—but we, when we first got together we jammed and that was one that we connected with. And just for fun. And just for nostalgic reasons for Tree Hill endings, I wanted to sing with him again tonight.

Absolutely love that! And what are your three passions besides music? What are your Ologies?

I like cooking a lot. I really like food and drink a lot. I just love that.

Do you have a certain type?

No, I really just dig—I love cooking, I love wine. I love whiskeys and tequilas. I just love that stuff a lot. Not like drinking and partying. Like just tasting things. That’s the only art form that I’m passionate about. I’m not that great of other things. Another thing I just love to do is like literally just reading. I read a lot. I literally don’t know. I mean singing and playing guitar and everyone knows it. So I don’t know. It’s just like reading, cooking a lot and I’m going to be honest, watching TV. I watch a lot of TV.

Any guilty pleasures?

Thursday nights are my favorite night on TV ever. We’ve got Parks and Recreation. I like 30 Rock. I love New Girl. I love Allen Gregory, that cartoon. I love Family Guy of course. Thursday night is a big night for me.

Like ‘leave me alone on Thursday.’ [Laughs]

Yea! It was tough for me last night. I was out. [Laughs]


Interview: ‘Salute Your Shorts” Venus DeMilo Revisits Camp Anawanna, Chats About Current Work


Venus DeMilo has been in practically every 90s sitcom that every kid was and still is obsessed with. Not to mention the biggest cult following series on Nickelodeon. Yep! You guessed it. Venus played Telly Radford on the 1991 Nickelodeon series Salute Your Shorts! The tomboy we all loved to watch alongside Donkey Lips and Bobby Budnick continues to work in the industry and was kind enough to chat with Ology on what she’s been up to.

Since her role on Salute, Venus could be most recognized for her appearances on Family Matters, Sister, Sister, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Smart Guy. She most recently did a 26 episode stint on The Bold and the Beautiful starting in 2000 and guest starred on Judging Amy too.

So get ready for some Camp Anawanna talk. Venus was more than willing to talk about everything from the classes she took on set to how she even ran home from school to watch the show herself. Nickelodeon needs to bring back the series. Every kid deserves a little summer camp experience with Dr. Kahn. So check out the interview here and stay tuned for a Salute exclusive with some of her other cast members!

We’ve got lots of Salute Your Shorts to get to! You lived in Inglewood, Calif. during the show and still do right?

VENUS DEMILO: Pretty much my whole life! When I was shooting the show I was here. I went to college right down the street from where I currently live. I’ve pretty much stayed in the same zip code my whole life.

Where did you go to school?

Loyola Marymount University. Yeah, I went to high school right around there. I’ve been able to stay in the same area. My parents live about three blocks away from me.

 That’s crazy. But nice! Is Judging Amy the last thing you acted in?

Well, I have a commercial running right now for Pine Sol. I’m still in the game. I do commercials and stuff more. Theatrically—other than doing short films—that was kind of the last thing I did. I still audition a lot and I still go out.

Is acting your first priority?

It always is. It’s kind of a weird. You love it and you hate it. But I wake up in the morning and that’s who I am. No matter what else I have going on. I would say that’s what I’m doing.

Its great to have something you’re so passionate about. You’ve done so many television shows in the past. What was your experience like on Family Matters?

 Working on Family Matters was great. Working with Jaleel [White] and the other actors, we were really young and we had a great time working together on the set and growing up together. It was great. It was a lot of fun. That was one of the best television shows I’ve ever worked on.

Was it with a live audience?

 Yes. I think there were a few seasons where we would shoot it in front of two live audiences but they got it down to I think 4-day work weeks. So it was a great time.

You were on Bold and the Beautiful. Would you say you like soap opera’s better? What’s the difference between that and a show like Family Matters?

 With a soap opera you can shoot up to two to three episodes in one day. That pace is a lot faster…you do it one time and that’s it. Then move on. So that experience was wonderful for me because now anything that comes my way I know I can do it, because I had that experience of just going though something one time and knowing that will go on TV in a few days. That was the greatest acting workshop as far as memorization, getting my lines down and knowing your blocking within a scene immediately. That was great. I did about 26 episodes of Bold and the Beautiful.

 Everyone must recognize you as Telly Radford from Salute Your Shorts! How old were you at the time? What was the schedule like?

 I was in junior high going into high school. So 8th and 9th grade when I was shooting…Two days a week we were on location. Every once in a while we would have night shoots and that was so much fun because that meant we came in at four in the afternoon and we wouldn’t have school that day and we would be shooting the entire night. It was like a big slumber party, we just had a blast. I remember I was taking typing at the time so I had to have a typewriter on the set. Which made sure I was able to get my typing lessons in. We had a great time.

Did you take classes on set?

 We had one tutor. We had to get three or four hours a day before 4 p.m., so anything after 4 p.m. we didn’t have to go to school, which was cool. We all had our own curriculum. We would go in and do our homework and joke around.

So it’s almost like you went to school together?

We all had our own individual tutoring program. We all had different subjects. So we weren’t doing everything together, but we were all in the same room acting crazy together. We had some great teachers on set so we had some cool experiences.

Did all of you do table reads?

 Yeah. We would get a new script and before the week was out, we would go over the scripts and just laugh. It was great to see what was going to happen in the next week.

It has such a cult following! Did you think at the time it would get that big?

 No, no. I thought it was cool and I would always come home and watch it when it was on. It wasn’t until I got into high school and even a little bit after that, when we had stopped shooting that people would recognize me from that. And I have a body of work and people would say, I know you from somewhere. And I would name a few shows, and then I would say Salute Your Shorts and they would say, ‘That’s what it is!’ Family Matters, no. Sister Sister, no. Bold and the Beautiful, no. Salute your Shorts, yes! There are so many walks of life. You can’t pick out a Salute your Shorts fan out of the crowd. They’re just like everyone. Its just great the kind of people- everyone who likes the show is a cool cat- they’re really funny.

Michael Bower, Donkey Lips, was saying how nice the fans were too. He’s extremely nice himself.

 Yeah he’s a sweetheart and that’s why I’m still in contact with him. I mean I’ve seen him at an audition before but I could just call him out of the blue and he’ll be like, ‘Oh, if you’re in the valley come on out!’ He’s a real nice guy.

What do you think about these 90s shows coming back to TeenNick? Would someone contact you if that ever happened with Salute?

To tell you the truth, I know its on iTunes. And I heard one of our writers talking about it and talking to Michael I found out about it. I had no idea unless I’m actually looking it up. There’s no one calling me saying ‘Hey they’re going to put it back on the air.’ No, it’s an old show and they shelved it and they’re doing whatever they want with it.

Would you be happy if the series made it to air?

Oh definitely! I love the show. I would love to see it everywhere. I know fans have access to it but I would love to see it on the air.

Do you have all the episodes on tape?

No! When we were working we got like a gag-reel on a VHS Tape that the editors had put together. As far as episodes go, back when I was on it I watched it and I taped it. It’s not like they were like, ‘Here’s a DVD disc set for the 25th anniversary.’ [Laughs] That hasn’t really happened.

[Laughs] Well what do you think about the shows out there now?

I don’t really watch the shows on now. I think there would be a place on TV for Salute Your Shorts but it’s hard to say. Oh, would you recreate it? It kind of is what it was. We have to appreciate it for that. We had all these different walks of life together, put them in a show together and had everyone get along and had a good time. You really see that in the show. You don’t see too much of that now. You see shows with one star, not so much an ensemble. It’s just not there. I wish it was and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of that.

I really hope it comes back! What are you up to now?

I’m mostly commercial working right now. I’ll probably get back to doing episodic television work. I always love comedy. It’s a little bit different. The market I was in a long time ago, it was a different time. The shows that were on appealed to a certain generation, so now I’ve had to work myself out and figure out, who am I going to appeal to now? Now I’m going out for young mom and that’s just really weird to me. I just did this Pine Sol commercial and I got to go to Universal Studios, and I did my own stunts. It was amazing. It was great fun. So anything I get to do, I’m definitely going to take the opportunity. It’s just a lot of friends. The props guy from Salute Your Shorts was the props guy for the commercial. It was crazy.

That must have brought back memories! What a small world. Are there any shows out there right now you would be interested in working on?

I should be able to answer that really quickly! [Laughs] I really like CSI. Comedy wise, it’s tough because the sitcoms now come and go overnight. But I do like a lot of the series on right now like CSI. I could definitely see myself being a serious character. As an attorney or a doctor. You never know!

What else besides acting do you like to do?

I’ve worked in post-production as a producer, producing movie trailers. So that’s what’s kept me busy. In between there I’m auditioning and going out for stuff.

That’s really cool. What have you produced?

For the last summer I did RingoTransformers III [and] Pirates of the Caribbean. A lot of the summer big blockbusters. I did the post-work for their movie trailers and TV spots. I’m working at Sony Studios right now, so that’s close to Clover City. But the great thing about LA is it only takes 30 minutes to get anywhere. I’ve worked in Hollywood, I’ve worked in Santa Monica, and right now I’m working in Clover City.

You’ve had some amazing opportunities.

I knew I wanted to stay in the whole entertainment world and film production. So it was like, okay, if I’m not auditioning or working this week, let me see if I can get a job implementing my education. I’ve been blessed to be able to work like that as well get an audition here and there. And be able to get on set! It’s great to rub elbows with directors.

Definitely. Overall, I hope Salute makes its way back on TeenNick. Would you consider the show one of your favorite television appearances?

Well, Salute Your Shorts is definitely the most fun. That really was so much fun for me. It was a time where I was learning how to drive. That character was just a lot of fun…we were always outside and all together and you had the girls and the boys. It was a great time and great fun.

It was fun to watch! Thank you so much for talking Venus. It was great.

Thank you!

Exclusive: ‘Revenge’s’ Ashley Madekwe Talks Tonight’s ‘Treachery’ Episode


Revenge is back! It’s only been a week but for those hardcore fans out there, it probably felt more like that time when the show was leading up to Jack Porter confessing his feelings to Emily Thorne. Or that time when it was unclear if Lydia was going to survive that horrific throw off the balcony. Or—well, really, after every episode it felt extremely long until the next Wednesday night showing. This ABC series is just so juicy and enticing and enthralling to watch. When has there ever been another time when audiences are actually cheering on a person seeking to ruin someone else’s life all the while being torn on wanting her real identity revealed to some and still concealed for others?

Revenge is heading back to air tonight after a one-week break and its like Christmas has come early with the arrival of the ‘Treachery’ episode. Recently Ology got to chat with Ashley Madekwe who plays Ashley Davenport on the hit show. She’s one of Emily’s closest allies that’s never heard of the name Amanda Clarke. Or at least, that’s what audiences are continued to believe. She’s also dating a psycho by the name of Tyler that has moved on to Nolan.

The super sweet Ashley let us in on tonight’s episode and what to expect. It’s just a sneak peek, so stay tuned for a more in depth interview with the actress on all things Revenge.

First off, what is going on with your boyfriend Tyler? Did the cast know he would eventually be hooking up with Nolan?

ASHLEY MADEKWE: No! We always knew that we were going to get the character Tyler on set and we heard he was going to be shady but we didn’t know how shady he’d be. I don’t want to ruin it for you but I’ll tell you—how far it goes in the season with the relationship—the secret might have to come out eventually.

What could we expect from tonight’s episode?

I can’t remember that much because they all start to blend in to me! [Laughs] I don’t think Lydia wakes up but there are definitely a lot of people in this episode. Lydia’s in this episode–I’m not sure if this is the one she wakes up in. Lydia’s around though, the real Emily’s around and Tyler’s still around. We have great guest stars by the way. Its amazing the guest stars we end up having. We got so lucky. We keep getting good people.

We have to get to the latest kill off! Will we find out sooner rather than later that the real Emily Thorne is the one that killed him?

I don’t know when we find that out with Emily. Yea, I don’t know when we find that out. With television I think again that’s a secret that will come out eventually but I don’t know if we know it yet.

This show is just so insane! Even when the truth comes out in an episode viewers don’t know if they are getting fed the right information or leading to the real conclusion. Will Ashley learn about what kind of person Tyler is in an upcoming episode?

Yeah, I would hope that she does find out. I think she will. Those kinds of secrets can’t be hidden forever. Even if she never found out this season, you know hands down she would have to find out eventually. Its just to good for her not to find out.

Exclusive: Actor Michael Bower Reveals Secrets From The ‘Friends’ Prom Video Episode


If you’re a Friends fan, you’ve seen the ‘The One With The Prom Video’ episode. If you’re a die-hard Rachel and Ross fan, than its probably one of your favorite moments out of the entire series. Its when Rachel and Ross make up, audiences get a flashback of Monica Gellar in her fat gear, a look at Rachel’s nose pre-surgery and Phoebe introduces the significant ‘She’s his lobster’ line.

We also get to see in the flashback prom video a mustache wearing Ross that gets ready to head to the dance with Rachel because her date Chip ditches her. He gets dressed up, grabs some flowers out of the vase and states to his dad he’s ready. All of this happens after he stumbles up the stairs of course with a flowerpot gleaming in the background.

In the episode we get probably the best guest star ever, Michael Bower as Monica’s date Roy. As in, ‘Oh I’m gonna kick Chip’s ass!’ Yes, they’ve had plenty like Brad Pitt, Tom Selleck and Paul Rudd but something should be said for a one-episode guest spot that leaves us with one of the most memorable character roles after ten years. An added bonus was seeing our beloved Donkey Lips since his filming days on Salute Your Shorts too.

During a recent interview with Ology, Bower let us in on two exclusive secrets that happened that day on set that aired on Feb 1, 1996. He tells of a prop that shouldn’t have been there. Bower explained, “A poster on the wall when Ross is walking down, there’s a poster in the back and you can see it’s a plant. It’s actually a marijuana plant.” Silly, but any Friends news years after the finale is worth it!

He continued, “The producers probably don’t want to talk about this, but they were having fun with the episode. Elliot Gould and Ross, the father and son, they filmed a scene where after Rachel leaves him and he’s alone, they are smoking a doobie and he is very sad Rachel didn’t take him to the prom. It was a real quick funny thing they did for the crew and cast but that scene never aired. The funny thing is that the scene with [the] marijuana plant did [and they] never caught it.

It doesn’t end there. Fans could have gotten the chance to witness Monica losing her virginity too! Unfortunately the producers opted out of it and pretended it was really the Gellars instead. “At the end of the video you see Ross’ parents in bed together supposedly. Well it’s actually only a voiceover. It’s Courtney Cox and I in the bed–like she’s loosing her virginity on prom night. And one of the voiceovers we did was “Oh I’m lost! Am I in the right spot?” It was one of those things they filmed and they didn’t know if they’d use it or not…they used the video footage of the bed rumbling and you see the sheets. They added the voiceover of the parents because they thought it would be funnier. Plus [the] teenage sex–they didn’t want to deal with it.

It’s been seven years since the series finale of Friends aired in May 2004 but its still well worth it to hear anything about the six Central Perk friends. They continue to be severely missed.

Interview: Nick Krause Talks About His Breakout Role In ‘The Descendants’


The Descendants starring George Clooney and directed by Alexander Payne has been gaining extreme Oscar buzz within the past few months. The story of Matt King (Clooney) trying to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident becomes even more intertwined when King later finds out she’s been cheating.

The Oscar contender not only brings together a fantastic plot, but also introduces breakout actor Nick Krause to audiences. At 19, this will be Krause’s biggest role to date. He plays Sid in the film, the easy-going kid who gives a great dose of comedic relief. He also dates King’s daughter Alexandra. (Shailene Woodley) Other stars include Amara Miller, Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard.

He may be young to the business, but Nick’s performance and talking to him in general made it clear that he will be around for quite a while. His passion for acting and The Descendants was obvious, and he definitely had more of a filter than his character Sid.

The Descendants has been getting rave reviews and you seem like you’ll be quite the scene-stealer! Tell me about your role Sid.

Sid’s a very laid back kind of easy-going guy. He’s a lot like your average teenager on the Islands. He takes life as it goes and gets into the flow of things. He’s really they’re hanging with Alexandra his friend and her family. Sid has good intentions. He doesn’t have quite a very formed brain to mouth filter and so he never says quite the right thing but he always has the right thing in mind.

What drew you to the role and the film?

I was drawn to the film in general because Alexander’s name was on it. It’s Alexander Payne. You just don’t turn down a chance to work with him. And the character I was drawn to just because he’s fun, just a really fun guy and he’s fun to play.

Would you consider yourself like Sid?

Besides age, Sid and I are pretty different guys. Sid’s a lot more callous than I consider myself to be. He’s always searching for something light-hearted to say even in heavy situations and just gets into a bunch of funny moments. I usually try to think about what I say first so that would be the biggest difference.

This seems like such a break out role. What was the audition process like?

The audition process was actually kind of interesting for me. I got it as a taped audition down in Austin where I was living when I heard of it. And then woke up the next morning with my sister to film over the scenes at five in the morning before we had to drive to school and sent it to L.A. [Laughs] Forgot about it for a few months and then those few months later John Jackson, the casting director for the project, called me up to New York to come see Alexander. So I flew up and while my mom and I we were walking around New York trying to figure out something to make the audition more neat. We figured that Alexander would be really, really hungry after working at casting and so I went and got a huge bag of Cheetos, stuffed it in my front pocket and went in with it. I brought my headshots too in the audition and then handed them to the director. [Laughs]

That is hilarious! It definitely kept you in mind to cast for the role.

[Laughs] Yea.

What was your favorite part about working on the film?

Well one thing I wanted to say about this set is that everyone was close. It was like a giant family. Everyone was so confident in what they were doing that they could really sit back and enjoy their jobs and enjoy the people. That made a great atmosphere everywhere on set.

What was it like working with George and meeting him for the first time?

It was amazing. George is an awesome actor. Not only is he the most lighthearted guy making everyone around him feeling awesome all the time, but also he has this very direct professionalism that’s just amazing to see. He’ll be joking around with us, or some of the extras and then five minutes later he’ll be doing an extremely serious scene. You can just tell he’s so prepared when he walks onto set. That was something very cool for me to watch.

He’s known for being a jokester. Did he do any pranks on set?

[Laughs] We were filming a scene on a plane and it was really crowded. We had a lot of extras and it was just very tight and stuffy in there. And I’m sitting waiting for the cameras to set up and I hear this noise behind me. I look back there and there’s George kind of giggling to him self. [Laughs] And I hear this noise again and I look back and George is playing with a fart button in the middle of a crowded plane. A little fart button on his application. [Laughs] That was just one example of fun stuff that he did around set.

What scene were you most proud of acting in?

I would have to say the scene in the hotel between Sid and Matt King. It’s very intimate and one on one between George and I. That day on set and that scene we’re both intimate because not only was I working one on one with George Clooney and it was just an amazing learning experience, it’s also one of those scenes where I really got to explore Sid in a little more depth as a character. That scene is one of my favorites.

Did you become close with anyone specific on set?

Shailene [Woodley] and I got to be really good friends. George [Clooney] and I and Amara [Miller] and I. Everyone on that set were really cool. It’s pretty neat to think about it.

That’s so nice. What will you take away from working with actors like Clooney, Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard?

Just seeing how they worked and kind of being in the corner and be that fly on the wall watching them all do their thing was really amazing. I learned so much from everyone on that set.

The cast is definitely fantastic and the film continues to get great reviews. What do you think about the Oscar buzz?

I’ve always been hopeful. It’s a really good movie and we’re all really proud of it. It would be awesome for it to get the nomination.

So what do you think viewers will enjoy most about the film?

I think audiences will take away just the satisfaction of seeing a very—it is at the heart of it—a very simple and human story. It’s kind of a rollercoaster when you watch it. You’ll laugh and then you’ll cry five minutes later and then two minutes after that you’ll be laughing again. It’s really in the simplicity of just human relationships. That’s what the films about, to me at least. And that’s what I think a lot of people are going to take away from it. There’s just a very intimate feeling with the film.

Interview: ‘Water For Elephants’ Author Sara Gruen On The Film Adaptation And Her Cameo On Set


Water for Elephants is a fantastic novel that draws audiences in to the beautiful wonders that the circus has to offer underneath its ragged drapes. It also stays true to the hardship and prejudice that workers used to endure with each traveling performance.

The film adaptation about a veterinary student abandoning his course work to literally join the circus premiered in 2011 and is now being released in DVD and Blu-Ray. The storyline touches on first love and tragedy and over all, really brings to stage the enlightening idea that ‘Life Is The Most Spectacular Show On Earth.’

To get a better look at the Old-Time Circus, I spoke with author Sara Gruen about bringing her research to the big screen, what she thought of Rob Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon taking on its lead roles and what specific scenes she had a cameo in.

Loved this book! Read it in two days. What inspired you to write it?

SARA GRUEN: I was two weeks into another novel and I opened up the Sunday paper and saw a vintage photograph and I was gone at that moment. I looked up from the paper and declared to my husband that this was it! [Laughs] That this is what I was going to do next. It was a vintage photograph from the 1920s and it was black and white obviously but it was by a camera that can produce negatives by 12 and 24 inches so it was with many, many people and just an enormous amount of detail.

Was it a circus photograph?

Yes! It was an Edward J. Kelty photograph.

Where were you the day you found out Water for Elephants was going to be adapted as a film?

I don’t know because auctions happen a lot and 99% of them never turn into film. [Laughs] So I didn’t actually get very excited about that. I mean it was nice because it meant that it was that much closer to possibly opening but I don’t think I really allowed myself to believe it until they actually started shooting it. Like, ‘Wow! That’s great!’

What was it like writing it? How long did it take you and what environments inspired you during the process?

I did a lot of research because I knew nothing about the circus, and especially the Old-Time Circus. So I was in Sarasota, [Florida] a couple of times and Baraboo, Wisconsin at circus archives and the Circus World Museum. I spent a lot of time speaking to retired performers and reading was one of my main things. I was just getting historical texts. I did that for four and a half, five months and then I actually had an eighteen week delay because my horse’s foot–I had to sit outside her stall for nine weeks and nurse her back to health and keep her company. And then she turned around and stepped on my foot and crushed it. [Laughs] It was a bad foot year all around! My foot elevated for nine weeks and I got to the point where I could write. I think I wrote it in seven or eight months in total. I had a few other little interruptions in there so at one point I got so desperate with writer’s block I started painting my room instead of writing and painting the living room orange and using my very best not writing techniques. So I got my husband to put my desk in our walk in closet. I didn’t have wireless at the time so that meant no internet. [Laughs]

That is some ridiculous writer’s block. [Laughs]

I took pictures of the Old-Time Circus and put them up on my wall. I went, ‘Well no internet’ and everywhere I looked there was the circus. All I had with me was my file.

Was there anything that you found in your research that surprised you?

A lot of things surprised me about the circus and I think that was one of the reasons why I was so hooked. The idea that they were firing people by throwing them off the back of moving trains! It was completely lawless. It was an entirely different world within our world.

Did you ever go to the circus when you were younger?

If I did, I have no memory of it. It was truly just based on the photograph. Of course I went to circuses while I was writing the book.

What did you think of the casting of Rob Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon for the Jacob and Marlena roles?

I thought they were fantastic. I was really, really impressed. I had no idea–of course I’ve never been on a movie set before–and I had no idea how hard these people work. Its eighteen hour days, day after day after day and so much concentration. They don’t necessarily shoot the scenes in order so its got to be really, really difficult to do, not to act chronologically, and I think they just did a wonderful job.

Did you have any input on the casting? Were they the look of the characters you had imagined?

It was definitely the look, I wasn’t involved in the casting. I was very lucky–I was able to see the movies sets and my family got to have cameos in the movie.

That’s amazing! What scenes were all of you in?

I’m the easiest to see in it. When Rosie is by the vegetable stand I’m in the crowd looking shocked as she’s led away. One of my sons and my husband are in that scene and all of us are in the parade scene. My husband and I and our oldest son are walking on the sidewalk and our two youngest run out onto the street to walk beside the elephant.

That must have been so amazing for all of you! How many times did you visit the set?

I visited the set twice. First time it was just because they were going to tear the sets down in a few days and [Producer] Andrew Tennenbaum said, ‘Sara’s got to see this.’ So they flew me out to see it and it was just amazing. I mean we drove over in a golf cart filled with berm and I saw the circus and it was so weird because this book had been in my head for so long and suddenly I was standing in the middle of my book! [Laughs] I was really, really glad to see that. And then the next time was when we had our cameos and everyone was there. So I went twice and everyone else in my family went once.

That must have been somewhat emotional to see. Do you have a favorite character that you created? 

It’s hard to say. There are characters that came easier to me and there are characters that I had to work harder for. Old Jacob, Walter and Queenie actually came to me whole and of course I love Rosie! [Laughs]

Was there a specific scene you were most proud of once having completed it?

Nothing I can say without giving away any enormous plot story lines. [Laughs]

That’s true. Definitely don’t want to spoil anything! Well do you have any plans once you get the DVD on its release day?

We’re going to go find us and freeze it on our cameos! [Laughs]

What was it like being in New York for the Ziegfeld Theatre premiere?

It was just surreal. It was amazing. It was just–I don’t even know how to describe it–it was amazing. It was wonderful.


Interview: ‘Boys To Manzo’s’ Albie And Chris Manzo, Greg Bennett Talk Inside Jokes And Each Other


The Real Housewives of New Jersey didn’t just bring Bravo viewers a throwing of a table and Christening fight scene over the years. Since its 2009 debut audiences have also been able to enjoy the addition of a ‘Tarzan,’ a Delores, and a Punta Cana visit that put everyone’s antics ‘On Display.’

Within all the drama came the best of all though–Brothers Albie and Chris Manzo, and friend Greg Bennett getting offered to do their very own web series that aired this past summer. The Boys to Manzo series followed them living their day-to-day lives in Hoboken, NJ. A little Chris makeover here, a little Albie date night there.

I chatted with all three guys previously on what they’ve been up to but all of their inside jokes and what they thought about each other was a story all on its own. Check out their answer break downs here.

Inside Jokes

Greg: Hmm. What’s a joke we have? We have a lot of characters in Hoboken. There’s a girl who always pops up everywhere we go. No matter where we go, she’s always there in the background or the shadows. And one time she wouldn’t leave and I was like, ‘Do you hide in the bushes outside our apartment?’ Now every time we get home we check the bushes.

Chris: Oh, I’m sure Greg didn’t tell you about the guy that passed out in his bathroom. He wouldn’t. That’s a lot funnier than the stalker. A guy passed out in Greg’s bathroom. I don’t know if it was a friend of his or a special friend of his or what, but when he came out, it was like 2:30 a.m. We told him the fire sprinklers on the ceiling were cameras and he stormed out! He was freaking out and was like ‘I’m not signing anything!’ And

we told him there were waivers all over the apartment and once he walked in they started filming. Which couldn’t be more false. [Laughs]. That was one of my favorites.

Albie: I mean there’s a ton of inside jokes…Did they tell you about the story with the hidden cameras? I think that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever done to Greg. That was hysterical. [Laughs] I mean you name it its happened.

There was this one time [Laughs] I don’t even know if I should tell you this story because Greg is going to get so angry. We went to a bar one night—(No, no!) What you think he’s going to get mad at me Chris?…I just started telling that story and Chris went, ‘Ah can’t tell that. Can’t tell that.’ [Laughs] But the hidden camera thing was hysterical because the kid was just all over the map.

I’ll give you a good one. Greg one time–we just moved into the apartment and we had several of our friends down to see the place. If you ever saw with Greg, we always say wear your jewels and fur. And jewels and furs line comes from when we had a ton of people coming to the apartment in the first few weeks. One day I’m in bed and Greg’s in bed and I hear all this noise. It was a bunch of people coming back that we had invited over. They were walking back with Christopher and they had a bunch of girls with them and they were making a lot of noise. It was like four o’clock in the morning. And I hear ‘Get them out of here! Get them out of here!’ And I’m like, what the hell is going on? I walk outside and Greg’s screaming, ‘This is my hommeee! I live here! My jewels and furs are here!’ Like screaming at these girls that jewels and furs are inside the apartment. [Laughs] Worried about was going to be stolen. Like, Greg you’re out of your mind.

Describing One Another

Greg: Both of them are loyal. They are the two most loyal people I know. That’s a whole Manzo trait–they are loyal to the end.

Chris is hysterical, scattered, I would say. He’s all over the place all the time. Albie is sarcastic. He is definitely sarcastic and it stinks you don’t see that on the show. They always make him look like he’s very serious but he does have a great sense of humor–very dry and sarcastic. He’s also the most resourceful person in the apartment, always figuring out and solving our problems and helping us out.

Chris: Greg. Tall. Diva. It’s one of the huge jokes in our apartment that he’s filled with idle threats. Like he’ll say ‘This is not a joke.’ He’ll sound so ridiculous that we make it into a joke. Like, he’ll call me and ask me: ‘When [you] coming home? ‘Probably eight.’ ‘Are you cooking?’ ‘Probably not.’ ‘Whatever, I’m going to move out. F*ck this.’ He’ll just overreact so quickly and we’ll make a joke out of it. [Laughs]…He knows what he wants and he gets it. He’s definitely loyal. The best thing is that we’re best friends. We go through everything together.

Al, I shouldn’t even have a cell phone I’m around him so much. We’re always doing something together. It’s weird if we’re not…Oh, I’ve called him a lot of different words. He’s my brother, that’s an obvious one. And its almost strange how close we are. I mean his friends are my friends and my friends are his friends. Al, he’s serious. Handsome. The kid is handsome. He is nice, the nicest kid. I want to beat him up sometimes because he is too nice to people. We always say Al needs a lot of me and I need a lot of him. I’m one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet but when Al sees that a gorilla has escaped from the zoo he’ll wonder what he could have done to stop it. He wants to help everyone. If anything ever goes wrong, he thinks it’s his fault. He really just wants to help.

Albie: [Laughs] That’s tough. We’re all really loyal to each other. That’s really the cardinal rule around here with all of us. Just stay true to who you are and stay loyal. It doesn’t really matter who you are, you just have to have that quality. I think my brother and I in a weird way have become better friends if that makes sense. He’s my brother and I love him but I don’t have to like him. [Laughs] I like him a lot and really enjoy spending time with him. He’s the funniest guy I know. He’s a hard worker with this stuff so I’m pretty proud of him. It’s kind of a weird relationship that we have because he’s the youngest one and I’ve always kind of felt bad. I got to kind of watch him because dad did work a lot and I was always home. So it was a lot of us spending time together.

And I think Greg; I don’t think you can describe Greg in three words. First of all, which Greg are we describing here? Like which one? [Laughs] Is it the meat head at the gym or is it the guy that’s wearing like cut off tank tops shaking his finger in the air? It’s really tough.

The fourth roommate

None of this would be complete without mentioning the always well-dressed dog Delores in the apartment. So when asking her age and how he got her Greg stated, “No body knows! She was rescued from a puppy mill. That’s another one of our inside jokes–that Delores is several hundred years old…I got her two years ago after a break up believe it or not. I rescued her from a puppy mill and they were breeding her and selling her puppies in pet stores. That’s only one recent chapter of her life; she’s led many lives.