Six years of a very SWEET LIFE. It seems like only yesterday that I brought Dylan and Cole Sprouse to the Disney Channel to talk about developing a TV show for them. They were just 11 years old with very long surfer-like blonde hair. The cutest boys I had ever seen! It was an easy sell to Disney Channel as these boys were charmers and already had a list of credits at such a young age. Not everyone knew they were twins because in their big breakout movie, BIG DADDY with Adam Sandler, both Dylan and Cole played one boy. The network and I made a TV show starring these kids and surrounded them with the best possible cast we could find.
We cast Phil Lewis, first and foremost an incredible loving and dedicated father and husband, is a seasoned and well respected actor who is beyond funny. The boys learned so much from watching Phil work as he was able to get a huge laugh just by, well saying nothing. A look is worth a thousand funny words…he was a mentor and friend to the boys since day one. I love Phil.
Then of course they needed a mom. The truth is the mom character was the hardest role to cast. We were scheduled to begin shooting the pilot for the series in two days and did not have the ‘right’ mom. Then Kim Rhodes walked in… magic! I think the funniest moments over the years were when she and Phil, Mr. Moseby, were in a scene together. We are talking “pee in your pants” funny.
Then we cast our “heiress,” London Tipton, played by the one and only Brenda Song. Only Brenda was able to portray this character who was truly the dumbest girl in the world, selfish and stuck up, but had a heart of pure gold. Brenda, a comedic genius and a wonderful young girl.
Ashley Tilsdale, our Maddie, our straight man for every zing that London had for her…she was so good. Our Arwin, Esteban, Woody were incredible comedic actors! Then Ms. Debby Ryan joined the group that had been together for 3 years. Debby was a gift “on deck.” Erin Cardillo, a comedic genius, played Ms. Tutweiller on SUITE LIFE ON DECK and was a mentor to our cast! And last but not least, our wonderful concierge who we named Irene…gee I wonder who she was named after!
I loved every minute working with all of these wonderful and talented folks and watching all my kids grow up in the Tipton Hotel and on the SS Tipton. We all felt like a real family and we were! It warms my heart when I watch some of the earlier shows when the boys were just little kids with high squeaky voices. They grew into handsome, smart, talented young men. I am so proud of everyone who worked on this show. Every day was a joy.
On to new adventures. I love you all and wish only the best for each one of you. I will never forget you.