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April 18, 2014

'How to Make It in America' Stars Bryan Greenberg & Victor Rasuk On Hustling, Maturation and Conflict in Season 2

by Alex Moaba, posted Oct 1st 2011 10:00AM
'How to Make It in America' is another aspirational buddy comedy from HBO that's drawn relentless, convenient comparisons to 'Entourage.' But the story 'How to Make It' tells is much better suited to the vibe of these economic times.

Following a diverse crew of young, broke and cool friends trying to get by and ahead in New York, 'How to Make It' resonates with a generation of hipsters, even after an uneven first season. Like many of its characters, the show does some growing up in Season 2.

I got a chance to talk with 'How to Make It' stars Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk about where Ben, Cam and CRISP are headed in the new season (premieres Thurs., Oct. 2, 10:30PM on HBO). They described the maturation of their company and characters, and foreshadowed some conflict that arises between them after CRISP's first taste of success.

Where does the story pick up this season?
VR: Literally the first shot is us in Tokyo. We went for five days and did kamikaze-style filmmaking -- we were shooting with no permits, no nothing. Last season, CRISP made some noise in Japan, we sold an order of T-shirts to Haraki. So all of the sudden in Tokyo we're making noise, and then we get back to New York and nobody knows who we are, which is a great way to start an episode.

Ben really seemed to get his act in gear in Season 1. Where's he headed in Season 2?
BG: In Season 1 they started this company but had no idea what they were doing in the fashion world. He had a dream, and Cam pushing him to do something with himself, but he was swinging from one vine to the next. In Season 2, they've got their foot in the door a little bit. They've got a small business selling T-shirts and hoodies, and they just got back from Tokyo, and have this opportunity to make their company CRISP really big.

With that, comes higher stakes. They have to define who they are as friends, who they are as people, what they want and what they want to be as a company. And that differs from what Cam wants, and we have to deal with that.

So there's some conflict between Ben and Cam on the horizon?
BG: Ben was more the visionary-slash-artist for the company, and Cam was more the hustler. Now Cam gets a little more artistic and Ben gets more business minded. They sort of flip roles a little bit. There's conflict between them, as there would be with any friends starting a company. Two different backgrounds, two different schools, two different socioeconomic classes, but New York City provides the background for a Jewish guy and Dominican guy to get together and become best friends.

Last season, a lot of the conflict was with Cam's cousin Renee. Will we see more of Luis Guzman?
VR: The real conflict I had in Season 1 was with Luis Guzman, which tested our family relationship. His storyline this year is hilarious and so endearing. You see a side of Luis that you've never seen in his career -- TV, film, anything like that. Rasta Monsta actually starts doing well, and then once again it hits a bump in the road. After they torched that truck, Cam's indebted to Renee and he has to pay him back. So not only does Cam have to work for CRISP, but also Rasta Monsta, Renee and then in the third episode, Cam gets yet another hustle, which is gonna have people laughing.

What about the Ben-Rachel storyline. Are there more twists and turns ahead?
BG: The thing is, you start with two people during a break-up, and that's your entry point into these two characters. This season it's like, you guys exist in the same world and you're going to have to deal with that. And there's still feelings there, but lives have changed, and timing's off, and we definitely explore that.

I saw a trailer where Rachel kisses Kid Cudi's character Dom. What's up with that?
BG: Things get complicated with friends. Look for that to play out in Episode 4.

I hear Cam gets a love interest this season ... what else has changed for him?
VR: I think overall, what changes about Cam in Season 2 is that he's creatively involved with CRISP, he's a lot more focused, a lot more's at stake, and also he has a love interest who takes him out of his comfort zone. She's his age, she's beautiful and she owns her own shop. For a guy, if your lady's doing as well as you are, that tests your manhood and you have to step your game up, so you definitely see a more mature side of Cam.

Cam is always hustling. Do fans of the show tell you they relate to that?
VR: All the time. There are people that come up to me and say, 'Dude, that's my life!' And not even the fashion part of it. Nowadays you can have that one dream that you want, but you still need three different grinds just to pay your rent.

The Lower East Side plays a vital part in the feel of the show. What does that setting bring to the table?
BG: There's a vibe that's going on in that area that we strive to capture. We shoot the show entirely on location. The Lower East Side is the heartbeat of the show. That's where the fashion and music is coming out of in New York.

VR: We're trying to capture New York, and specifically this neighborhood, at a very exciting time. I think that's what's great about the show this season is that (series producer) Ian Edelman really is relevant to what's going on in New York and what's cool. In 'How to Make It' we cut all the BS, we're right into it, we're right in the mix. The second season is 10 times better than the first.

Season 1 of 'How to Make It In America' was released on DVD last week.

Check out the 'How to Make It in America' Season 2 trailer:

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