Tell Me Lies

This week Mulholland Books celebrates the publication of National Bestseller Nick Santora’s second novel FIFTEEN DIGITS with a week-long extravaganza of great content. Read on for an interview between Nick Santora and actor Jimmi Simpson of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Santora’s hit show Breakout Kings, on working together, Nick’s writing, Jimmi’s writing, and Nick’s acting.

Mulholland Books: How did you guys meet?

Nick Santora: At the 2009 Stringfellows Male Exotic Dancers Convention. We started out competitors but ended up friends.

Jimmi Simpson: Please don’t start this interview with lies, Nick.

Nick: Sorry.

Jimmi: It was the 2008 Stringfellows Convention. And we’re not friends.

How did you guys actually meet?

Jimmi: Well, Nick was trying to woo me into the project so he took me out for a fancy breakfast.

Really? Where?

Jimmi: McDonalds.

Very funny.

Nick: He’s not kidding. I took him to McDonalds. I bought him a coffee. To everyone in Hollywood, you should know it costs exactly $1.04 to get Jimmi Simpson to do your show.

Jimmi: I have very low self-esteem. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia got me for a tootsie roll and a packet of mustard.

Nick: That’s actually good for basic cable – I wouldn’t think they’d throw in the mustard.

And you guys work on a drama?

Jimmi: Yup.

Nick: Duh.

Nick, did you always know you wanted Jimmi for the role of Lloyd Lowery in A&E’s BREAKOUT KINGS?

Nick: Absolutely. I am a huge of fan of ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILAPELPHA. My co-creator on the series, Matt Olmstead, worked with Jimmi on LAW & ORDER so he was well aware of his talent, too. Jimmi is genius in everything he does – you’d be crazy not to want him on your show, not to want him as a collaborator, not to want him sexually.

Jimmi: I appreciate the support Nick, but we both know you originally offered the role to Ricky Lake and she passed.

Nick: Ya gotta reach for the stars…

Jimmi, the Showrunner of the show you’re a star of is also a novelist. Do you think he spreads himself to thin?

Jimmi: However Nick chooses to spread himself, I know it will be smooth and velvety like talent-flavored cream cheese.

Have you read any of Nick’s books?

Jimmi: I’ve read SLIP & FALL and loved it. I just finished FIFTEEN DIGITS and think it’s amazing. Nick’s ability to create and write for characters is one of the reasons he’s so highly regarded in this industry. This book is a perfect example of that. It reminded me that I love reading really cool crime fiction. FIFTEEN DIGITS is a roller-coaster ride of thrills and anxiety. Kinda like watching Nick thinking about picking up the check for dinner.

Nick: That is such garbage! I pick up the tab all the time!

Jimmi: And then hand it to someone else.

Nick: Need I remind of the McDonanld’s coffee?

Nick, other side of the coin now. You have a lead on your show who is also a writer as Jimmi recently signed on to write a pilot for 20th Century Fox.

Nick: What?! This is the first I’ve heard it! Jimmi, you’re fired.

Jimmi: Good. I can concentrate on my writing.

Nick: In all seriousness … I hate Jimmi. ‘Cause writing is kind of his “hobby”. Not that he doesn’t take it VERY seriously, he does, but it’s his hobby in the sense that he has spent the majority of his career, to this point, focusing on acting. But then he started writing on the side. And I’ve read his stuff. And it’s phenomenal. It’s better than phenomenal. It’s like when Michael Jordan decided to play baseball. What people don’t realize or remember is that Jordan had the longest hitting streak in his league that year and then became one of the best players in the Arizona Fall League. And it was his freakin’ hobby! So, I guess what I’m saying is, Jimmi Simpson is just like Michael Jordan in that he excels at something he hasn’t even begun to fully explore yet. And he’s Black.

Jimmi: He’s not being flippant about race – he’s referring to the color of my soul.

Nick: My point is, Jimmi could be, if he wanted to, running his own show today. I’ve read something like a billion scripts from writers in the business, from writers who want to be in the business, whatever – and Jimmi’s stuff is head, shoulders, pancreas and feet above all of it. I would work for Jimmi on one of his shows tomorrow.

Jimmi: Speaking of crossing over, the novelist/screenwriter/showrunner next to me also happens to be a budding thesp.


Jimmi: Actor. They call them ‘thesps’. Industry thing. You’ll pick it up soon enough.


Jimmi: Sure. But Nick here made his screen debut-

Nick: It was hardly a “debut”-

Jimmi: IT WAS A DEBUT, MAN! You presented yourself to the world. You stepped in front of that camera and were like, “Here I am baby! Get it while it’s hot!”.

Nick: Well, thank you.

Jimmi: Thank YOU. For the gift of your acting.

Are you being sarcastic, Jimmi?

Jimmi: No. No I am not.

Nick: He is.

Jimmi: I certainly am not. Nick took the role of Prison Guard in the season finale of BREAKOUT KINGS and elevated it to new heights. Those baby browns he’s got can bore a whole into your soul. Some serious Omar Shariff shit.

Nick: I wasn’t a damn Prison Guard. I was U.S. Marshal.

Jimmi: Oh. Sorry.

Nick: Mollo.

Jimmi: What’s that?

Nick: His name. My character’s name. It wasn’t just “U.S. Marshal”.

Jimmi: You gave your character a name?

Nick: And a rich and complex backstory.

Jimmi: Oh. Interesting. Did you utilize that in the filming of the scene?


Jimmi: Right. Right. Which guy were you again?

Nick: This interview is over. Just please buy my book – FIFTEEN DIGITS – so I don’t have to work with this guy anymore.

Jimmi: You love me.

Nick: I do.

FIFTEEN DIGITS is now available in bookstores everywhere. Read more of Nick’s work at WWW.NICKSANTORA.COM.

JIMMI SIMPSON stars in A&E’s BREAKOUT KINGS (check local listings) and can be seen in the upcoming film ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE KILLER (June 2012).