This interview was conducted by Andrew Rossow, Esq. and Jhanelle Dionne.
“It’s like riding a bike man, we never really stopped. There was a time where we didn’t do it as much, but a couple of years ago we made a shift to try it again – but as grown men. It’s been really fun,” said Joey Lawrence, one of the co-hosts to PodCo’s Brotherly Love Podcast in an interview with True Hollywood Talk during this year’s ATX TV Fest.
Launched twelve years ago by Emily Gipson and Caitlin McFarland, ATX TV Festival is an annual festival in Austin, Texas that has since developed into a year-round event that is entirely focused on the television medium via its most engaging programming that brings together industry leaders and fans every June for a four-day event that consists of panels, premiere screenings, and late-night events.
During the four-day festival, The Podcast Company (PodCo) made its presence known as its founders and husband-wife duo, Christy Carlson Romano (Even Stevens, Kim Possible, The Vulnerable Podcast) and Brendan Rooney (The Vulnerable Podcast, I Hear Voices Podcast) brought together their friends and former Disney Channel stars, including the beloved Lawrence brothers – Joey, Matthew, and Andy, who are the hosts of the new PodCo’s program “Brotherly Love Podcast.”
Making its debut on PodCo on February 24, the Brotherly Love Podcast dives into the dynamic sibling relationship of the Larence brothers, while exploring their journey navigating life, love and the ups and downs of growing up together.
Each weekly episode, which consists of both an audio and video component, features up-close and personal conversations with Joey, Matthew, and Andy about what it was like navigating their childhood in the public eye, the crazy moments and stories from behind-the-scenes, and call-in’s from fans where they give their advice on family dynamics, relationships, and much more.
True Hollywood Talk sat down with Joey, Matthew, and Andy during this year’s twelfth season of ATX TV Fest, talking about the natural evolution of family dynamics and exploring new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).
While this isn’t the first time the Lawrence brothers have come together in working on a collaborative project like this, there was a time where they chose to focus on their own personal growth and development as they navigated the next chapter of their careers.
Matthew, who starred alongside his brothers in the 2001 Disney Channel Original Movie, Jumping Ship, the 1999 DCOM Horse Sense, and of course, the fan-favorite 1990 ABC series Boy Meets World as Jack Hunter.
In their coming together, the three brothers prefaced the importance of holding the utmost respect for one another at all times in maintaining their ability to work together and have fun while doing it.
“The key thing is when the family gets together, you have to hold that respect, and you have to get over whatever it is, because if you hold onto things and hold a grudge, you’re going to take the whole ship down. There’s just no purpose to it,” Matthew emphasized, adding that it’s been “really cool to have the time together.”
Andy Lawrence, the youngest brother of the trio, also agreed with Matthew, sharing his gratitude in them having the ability to work together throughout a majority of their acting career.
Andy, the Director
Andy, who is now a director and producer, also starred in the 1999 DCOM Horse Sense alongside Joey and Matthew, in addition to its 2001 sequel Jumping Ship, and starred in the 2000 DCOM The Other Me.
With Andy taking a more active role in directing projects, we were curious on how Joey and Matthew also adjusted to that change in dynamics of their younger brother taking the directing mantle.
Joey also jumped in, revealing that this dynamic really “clicked into high-gear the last 24-months”:
“We co-captain pretty well, and we are finding our way in that new dynamic. Andy will take the lead, then I’ll take the lead, and Matt will take the lead. We are good cop / bad cop when we need to be, but we are all figuring it out as we do these projects together,” he added.
He continued that as they are growing their company and bringing in other people, they’re finally doing things they’ve always talked about.
“I think the secret to it is that we all love each other and are there, undeniably, and all have each other’s best interests in mind,” Andy noted, adding that sometimes, the communication can get heated since they are family and “east coast Italians.”
“So, we have to define how we communicate with each other and respect each other; there’s never any lack of respect, it’s just that we’re brothers and sometimes it’s easy to take an alternate route, and you don’t mean it. At the end of the day, we all know we’re in it for the same goal. We’ve got so much love and admiration for each other, that no matter what happens, it’s usually a quick return onto the proper road.”
Joey referenced a 2021 film that Andy had written and directed – Mistletoe Mixup, which all three brothers were in.
He revealed that a sequel to the 2021 film will be coming out this Christmas on Amazon, in addition to a new rom-com film that Joey and his wife, Samantha, wrote and sold to Tubi, called Frankie Meets Jack.
“Now, we are all producing and writing an action movie for Tubi that Andy is going to direct,” Joey said.
Back in May, Matthew starred in a Lifetime movie called My Best Friend The Baby Snatcher, directed by Andy.
“We’re in the next iteration of this partnership as men, and it’s been really neat,” Matthew said excitingly.
Untapped Genres and A.I.
For those who have already glued themselves to the Brotherly Love Podcast, you almost get a sense of this “classic comedy,” which aligns perfectly with the previous work the Lawrence brothers have been attached to.
But, it does beg the question of what other untapped genres we could expect from them in the future.
With films like the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems and John Cassavetes’ Mikey and Nicky, which explore the dark nature of family dynamics, we asked the Lawrence brothers whether a genre like a gritty, dark comedy is anywhere on the horizon?
“The gritty comedies are my bread and butter – that’s what I love watching and doing, and I would love to take the Lawrence brothers there,” said Matthew.
He teased that they have a TV show idea that is somewhat along those lines, which he says would be a short 6 to 8 episode per season idea.
Right now, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) has every industry buzzing, specifically television and film, but the understandable concerns of it having “too much power” are also worth noting as the nascent technology finds its way into the editing and production process of programming.
Andy, who told True Hollywood Talk that he recently did a horror movie called Stream, is about a haunted video game that is set to premiere in February, but used a ton of AI in the graphics.
“We just cut the man hours down by using a lot of AI to do the graphic design and the chat. I think it’s an extremely valuable tool, but like anything, there needs to be some sort of regulation because when you have so much power, it can be dangerous – especially, when working with artists and using their personas. Other than that, what a tool,” he explained.
Matt, who shared his love for peer-to-peer (P2P), believes that AI would be the best situation for the industry moving forward:
Joey, on the other hand, acknowledged the difficulty at times of getting into that headspace that necessitates the ability to cry, making for an interesting use case for artificial intelligence:
“I find it very hard and have to go to a very sad place, and I don’t like being sad. I always revert to something that makes me happy. I understand that you need to do it, but I don’t like the melodrama. For me, to get to that place, I have to get to a very dark place. For me, AI would be an interesting tool to get the actual emotions from the AI-generated tears themselves – that would be an incredible tool to say “don’t worry about the tears.’ But it would be great to say we can just pop them on there.”
Check out our conversation with Christy Carlson Romano and Anneliese van der Pol on the launch of ‘BNB Podcast.’