There was trouble in Disney paradise – at least, that’s the story that its former “Suite Life of Zack and Cody” stars are telling. In a recent interview, Dylan Sprouse, one half of the famous star duo, explained that he and his brother Cole decided to leave after executives would not allow them to have creative control on the show.
Dylan and Cole Sprouse capitulated to world-wide fame as the leading actors on the Disney show, “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.” The show followed the story of Zach and Cody Martin, twin brothers who lived in a Boston hotel where their mother was a performer. Viewers immediately took to the mischievous brothers, and the show quickly became one of the most-watched shows on The Disney Channel.
In 2008, the show spawned a spinoff show, “The Suite Life on Deck,” following the two brothers as they lived on a ship. A Gawker article notes that in 2010, the twin brothers were the fourth highest paid child actors in the world. In 2010, just one year later, the Sprouse brothers decided not to renew their contract for another season and left the show.
Dylan and Cole have been silent as to their reasons for their sudden departure from the show – until now.
According to Dylan, the decision to leave came down to two reasons. First, after nearly six years, the show had lost its spark. In an interview, Dylan said, “We thought the glory days of the show were definitely when we were younger.”
Secondly, the brothers had clashed with the show’s executive creators, who refused to allow Dylan and Cole to take on more creative control in the final season. Dylan and Cole had already deferred their acceptance to New York University for a year, hoping to build up writing credits as producers on the show.
The Sprouse Bros. had approached the show’s creators with an interest in being involved as producers, pitching an idea for the show’s final season that would be a “set-up for a new show.”
As they envisioned it, the final season would have Zach, Cody and their mother return back to the hotel and befriend a young boy from a single-parent household. Zack and Cody would take the boy under their wing, and the boy would be a way to bring new life to the show.
As they saw it, their idea meant that even after the Sprouse twins left for college, the show could continue, focusing on the newest cast member. It meant that the production team and other cast members would be able to keep their jobs, and Dylan and Cole could continue their involvement as producers. It was a win-win for everyone – or so the Sprouse Bros. thought.
The show’s current producers were not thrilled and flatly dismissed the idea. Dylan notes that he and Cole walked away from the meeting feeling like “they didn’t trust us after all this time. They laughed in our faces.”
According to Dylan, the creators then came back to the brothers a week later with their own pitch for the show – which almost exactly replicated the Sprouse twins’ original pitch. Dylan says, “They pitched us our [own] idea in Miami, with Selena Gomez. Cody and I turned to each other, basically laughed in their faces and walked out. That was the last meeting we had.”