Part of a new property show, Celebrity IOU
We all know TV’s The Property Brothers. Twins Drew and Jonathan Scott have been on our screens for years, helping the US public to renovate and sell their houses. For their latest show, Celebrity IOU, they’re asking Hollywood A-listers to nominate a close friend in need of a home makeover, and to get hands-on with the renovations.
In the first episode, airing on HGTV on Saturday, May 23 at 8.45pm (KSA), Brad Pitt recruits Drew and Jonathan to help him surprise his long-time make-up artist and friend, Jean Ann Black, by turning her garage into a guesthouse. The initial series will also see similar requests from Melissa McCarthy, Viola Davis, Rebel Wilson and Michael Bublé.
We caught up with Drew and Jonathan to find out what happened, and discover which celebrity ended up driving a bulldozer:
Whose renovation knowledge/home design savvy surprised you the most?
Jonathan: Brad’s knowledge and passion for architecture and design were really impressive. But every celebrity we worked with was so hands-on, and a huge part of the process from beginning to end. What they didn’t know going into this experience, they were definitely committed to learning on the job. Rebel Wilson even operated a bulldozer!
Drew: And Melissa McCarthy is a huge HGTV fan, and kept asking us when it was time to swing the sledgehammer. When she did, it was incredible, and hilarious! We’ve never seen anyone more excited to do it.
Did any of the celebrities’ visions or ideas for their renovation inspire you for other projects you have outside of the show?
D: Actually, yes. You may see a nod to the garage conversion we did for Brad Pitt’s episode in the next season of Brother vs Brother.
Was it intimidating to work with such high-profile clients as opposed to regular homeowners?
J: We always take our work very seriously – no matter who the homeowner or client is. But given the context of the renovations on this series, and how the celebrities were trusting us to give back to people they value the most in life, well, the pressure was definitely on.
D: For Michael Bublé, he’s renovating a home for the caregiver who looked after his grandfather until the end of his life. Michael’s grandfather was the most instrumental person in his entertainment career – even getting him his earliest gigs as a young, emerging singer – and his dying wish was for Michael to always look after this caregiver and her family. Michael owes so much to his late grandfather, and being able to stay true to his word means the world to him. That’s such a special story, and we wanted to help him.
How did you decide which celebrities to cast on the show?
J: We were looking for great stories and people, like we do with all of our shows. We were so lucky to have found celebrities who, regardless of their fame and success, have nothing but genuine appreciation for others and are kind. Brad took the time to introduce himself and thank every member of our crew for their work on his friend’s home.
D: Scheduling was also a major consideration. Between our busy schedules and theirs, finding days to film was nothing short of a miracle. When we filmed Celebrity IOU, we were also filming two other series – Property Brothers: Forever Home and Brother vs Brother – in two, sometimes three, cities at the same time.
Who came up with the idea for the series?
J: Drew and I each get about half a million messages on social media every week. Our fans are always coming up with amazing ideas and requests for things they would love to see us do. This idea came from them, but it was about five years in the making.
D: We ran into Viola Davis at the Emmys in 2015 and told her about the idea. She instantly loved it and told us she knew exactly who she would want to do this renovation for. A few weeks later, Jonathan got a phone call from Brad, who said he’d heard about it too and wanted to be a part of the series.
J: Honestly, I had no idea that it was Brad Pitt when I heard, “It’s me, Brad,” on the line. I thought it was my friend, Brad, from college.
Celebrity IOU premieres on Saturday, May 23 at 8.45pm (KSA) on HGTV.