When he approached “The Real World” this season, creator and executive producer Jonathan Murray had a big task ahead of him. Not only did he have to cast seven beautiful, interesting, entertaining strangers to fill the house in San Francisco, but each cast member had to have complicated history with an ex who would also be up for moving into the house halfway through the season for “The Real World: Ex-Plosion.”
As you can imagine, this made things that much harder for the “Real World” team before shooting even started. “Going into casting, this was the plan, and we looked at much fewer cast members than in previous years because we knew that they had to have a really interesting relationship with their ex,” Murray tells Zap2it.
He continues, “In some ways it made the casting easier because we were so focused, but it also made it harder because we still needed people that were incredibly charismatic, who had a sense of humor, who had a point of view towards life, who were at a unique point in their life where they were not so fully formed where they could learn something from this experience, all the things we always had to look at plus we added this extra layer where they had to have this interesting relationship with their ex. It was really hard to cast but it was worth making the effort.”
The upside of having these extra cast members with prior relationships means that casting the upcoming season of “The Challenge” will be that much easier. “That’s the real reason we do ‘The Real World,’ for those ‘Challenge’ fans,” Murray jokes. “I think we got some great prospects and the big question is will the exes be on? But certainly we’ve done ‘Rivals,’ we’ve done ‘The Challenge: Exes’, so there’s lots of ways we could potentially get them on.”
Among the new changes this season — new title, different shooting styles, more cast members, giving the cast smart phones, etc. — Murray reveals that the cast members weren’t required to get a job. That’s right: they just get to party and hang out and enjoy the city, with no work obligations holding them back.
“We did clear a bunch of potential jobs in the community that they could apply for, but they never did. This group really got out and explored San Francisco and the area around San Francisco with hiking, the parks, just about everywhere,” Murray says. “They were a very active group and very much got involved in each other’s lives. Arielle was making a film and some of them got involved with helping her with that. So they were all over the place, they weren’t much for sitting around in the house. But they certainly got out and partied, too. And once the exes showed up, they had a lot of explaining to do.”
“The Real World: Ex-Plosion” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on MTV.