‘Real Housewives of South Boston’ Creators Talk Dollar Shave Club, Birth Control, and Zac Efron’s Eyes

 @EllenKilloran
on March 19 2012 11:44 AM

 

width=402

The Real Housewives of South Boston and the Dollar Shave Club commercial are the brainchildren of Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs. (Paulilu.com/Eric Michael Pearson)

 

"The Real Housewives of South Boston" have taken YouTube by storm: In the latest episode, the motely housewives crew -- Jackie, Amber, Dawn, Sharon and and freshly paroled Chaffin -- celebrated St. Patrick's Day in true townie style, complete with roofies and a drunken jig-off.

"The Real Housewives of South Boston" are among the hilarious creations of Paulilu, aka Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs (Jessica Eason, who plays Amber, is also a co-creator of RHOSB.) Through the comedy duo might not be a household name just yet, you've probably seen their work before: Aniello directed the groundbreaking Dollar Shave Club commerical, and Downs can be seen as the compulsively Type A tween hearthtrob in the "Diary of Zac Efron."

IBTimes tracked Paulilu down for some behind-the-scenes dirt on "The Real Housewives of South Boston" and more...

The Real Housewives of South Boston has been a pretty big hit. I saw that New York Magazine mentioned Bravo in a tweet that linked to the St. Patrick's Day episode. RH hasn't gone to Boston yet -- if they do, would you feel like you'd be entitled to credit or compensation?

Paul: We couldn't take credit for other people's life stories and the format of a reality show came along way before we did, so, no -- but we would love to come to the wrap party. We'll bring the ciggies.

How many more RHOSB episodes can we expect to see? Is anyone going to tell Dawn to stop taking birth control pills if she wants to get pregnant?

Lucia: We've told Dawn how birth control works many times -- she just keeps forgetting. Not sure what the future hold for our ladies, but we would love to see them exist in a movie or at least show up in some community access commercials.

Lucia, you're originally from Massachusetts, correct? Do you know people who are like the characters in RHOSB? Have you gotten any feedback from people in Southie?

Lucia: Yes, I'm from Hadley and my family is from Boston and I still have a ton of family there. I actually have a second cousin who auditioned for one of the Southie reality shows -- they all seem to love it, or at least don't hate it enough to tell me to my face.

 What made you decide to cross Sharon's eyes? Unless someone is naturally cross-eyed, it seems it would be extraordinarily difficult to keep one's eyes crossed for extended periods. Yet, they never uncross. Neither do Zac Efron's (in "Diary of Zac Efron.")  How do you do this? Is it CGI?

Lucia: Hours -- no, weeks of eye crossing preparation and practice goes in to each episode. It was kind of a spontaneous thing to give her something physically different than the other girls. Then, we wrote into it that she got eye herpes. Such a tough life.

Paul: It's not easy to play dance hoops with your eyes crossed. I'm not saying it's Oscar worthy, but it is a challenge. But honestly the crossed eyes just help differentiate what is a distinct character -- we kind of feel like it's the series is not even about Zac Efron as much as it is about this new original version we've created.

Paul, you have the whitest teeth I've ever seen. How?

Paul: Prayer.

How did you two first meet, and how long have you been working together?

Paul: We met at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York and started making videos together not soon after in 2007. (Ed. note: Paul and Lucia have been dating for five years and live together in West Hollywood.)

Your Dollar Shave Club commercial has well over three million views on YouTube. Is Michael Dubin funny in real life? How much creative input did he or the company have? Who came up with the phrase shave tech? Did you get a free membership to Dollar Shave club?

Lucia: Yes, Mike is a funny guy. It was a complete collaboration from the concept to the script to the final cut. 'Shave tech' was all him, though I will take credit for "our razors are f**king great." And I think he gave us some razors while we were at the warehouse, but we should bug him about getting that membership.

Your films appear to have a pretty high production value. How are you funded? I saw in a tweet that you mentioned working with Canon 5D plus steadicam- is that how you shoot all your films?

Paul: We shoot pretty much everything on a Canon 5D, though not usually with a steadicam. We make digital content for companies, and with that money we pay our rent and make our own videos. We also shoot with a great team of unbelievably talented people, including our director of photography Chris Westlund, producer Jake Cassidy, and jack of all trades John Heeg. Those guys really elevate our work.

We're lucky to have such a great team. People often think we spend a ton but we don't. It's mostly begging and borrowing. We've been so lucky to collaborate with people who believe in our sense of humor that they give us a break so we can actually make it happen.

Has it been difficult to find parents willing to let their children participate in your films? Where did you find the baby for "New Baby Girl"?

Paul: We're very upfront with the parents about what we're shooting. We shot New Baby Girl with my good friend and comedian Noah Plener, and his wife Stephanie and their daughter Madeline. It's a lot easier to convince a comedian to let them kiss their daughter on the mouth for about 20 seconds than it would be someone off the street. Also, if I did that I would probably be arrested. (But it wasn't really hard to convince him -- he has a twisted sense of humor, too).

How did you come up with the idea for Dildo Sport? Aniello, have you ever experienced penis envy?

Lucia: Ha! Maybe that was the deep-seeded inspiration? I played tennis my whole life and for some reason as I was falling asleep one night the idea of playing tennis with a dildo on popped in to my mind, and I told Paul to remember it, and he did -- and the next morning we wrote the script in about an hour and shot it and released it within a week or two.

Paul: But she is envious of my penis.

Share this article