Tag Archives: Hutch Dano

Hutch Dano Says ‘Zeke and Luther’ Allows Him to Grow

Hutch Dano Disney Channel photo

Disney XD’s “Zeke and Luther,” which is now launching its third season, has made stars out of 18-year-olds Hutch Dano and Adam Hicks. At least, it has with a certain segment of the population. The affable Dano tells us that getting recognized “depends on where I go. I have a little sister. I went to her science fair at school last week, and I got recognized there a lot. But if I go to see an R-rated movie, adults don’t look twice.”

His and Hicks’ skateboarder characters continue to mature this season, he notes — beginning with their season opener, in which Zeke takes a fall that threatens his future.

“One of the coolest things about the show is that every season, you see the main characters step up more and more and become better and better friends as the season progresses,” believes Dano. “Every season, you want to bring something new to your character. For me, Zeke is a little more serious, he’s a leader, he’s older — but you also want to be able to let him let loose a little more. We do that. We have spit takes, we have those moments when we’re jumping all over the place … It’s a tough balance to find, even working with the writers.”

Dano, who had his own “Den Brother” Disney Channel movie last year, and co-starred as Henry Huggins in the big-screen “Ramona and Beezus,” wouldn’t mind “Zeke and Luther” going on into a fourth season, or more.

“I love the show. I love the cast and crew. I’d definitely be open to continuing on whatever happens with the show.”

Here’s Hoping Montana Fishburne Fails

Montana Fishburne

Here’s hoping Montana Fishburne’s career goes down in flames as soon as possible and she gets some psychological counseling.

In case you’ve missed it, Laurence Fishburne’s 19-year-old daughter, who said in a statement that she aimed to become famous the sex tape way, like her idol, Kim Kardashian, has her first porn video going into release this month.  Its debut was bumped up thanks to the giant attention generated by the scandal she seems to be enjoying to the hilt.

Sadly, she’ll probably get her own show out of it rather than a fast return to anonymity.

This is the latest bucket full of excreta in the media sea of young people degrading themselves to get attention, along with body-baring, acquaintance-groping “reality” shows like “Dating in the Dark” all over the tube, sex being used to market clothing to not only teens, but kids as well, and a variety of skuzzy characters (Snooki) fit for police lineups being lionized as today’s hot celebrities.

We are sad for Laurence Fishburne, whose daughter apparently doesn’t get that it’s not her doing the nasty in public that’s bringing her notoriety — it’s the shameful spectacle of a young woman humiliating her famous father.  Or maybe she does get that.

ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  Michael Vartan, who is planning to marry fiancé Lauren Skaar in April in California, tells us, “She’s from Minnesota, and I would have loved to have gotten married in a little church there, but most of the people we know are out here.”  Still, the “HawthoRNe” star is impressed by the people of that Land of 10,000 Lakes.  Minnesotans, he’s found, “are salt of the earth people, so easy to get along with.”  You betcha.

GOOD SPORT:  “Zeke & Luther’s” Hutch Dano says the biggest challenge of making his “Den Brother” movie that debuts tonight (8/13) on the Disney Channel was trading his wheels for blades – as in going from skateboarding to ice hockey.  “I trained a couple of months beforehand.  I trained as much as I could to do my own stunts.  I rollerbladed a lot when I was younger and I played roller hockey,” he says.  “But I hadn’t ice skated.  I knew there was no way they were going to make me an amazing hockey player – but they could make me look like an amazing hockey player.”  He’s found, “I love to ice skate.  The best thing for me now is when I get to go out on the ice.”

Dano plays an arrogant high school hockey star who gets roped into leading his little sister’s Bumble Bee troupe as a punishment.  Interacting with little girls was a stunt for which he didn’t have to train.  “I have a little sister who is about the age of the girls in ‘Den Brother,’ so I know how to talk to little girls because of my sister and her friends.”

Hutch Dano Gets a Kick Out of Playing Not-So-Nice

Hutch Dano

Hutch Dano, best known as the first half of “Zeke & Luther” on Disney XD, says he got a real kick out of playing a not-so-nice guy for a change in his “Den Brother” Disney Channel Original Movie, coming up Aug. 13.  In it, he’s a self-absorbed high school hockey player who winds up posing as the den mother – complete in old lady gear — of his little sister’s Bumble Bee troupe.  He then takes advantage of the situation and uses the little girls as his personal servants.  “I read the script and thought, ‘This guy is the worst big brother ever,’” notes Hutch, who has a little sister himself.

He is much nicer in real life, of course, and also as Henry Huggins – the children’s literature character he plays in “Ramona and Beezus,” opening today (7/23).  Dano admits he didn’t know Huggins until prepping for the part.

“I was trying to figure him out, to get as many layers as possible.  Not so much that he’s complex, but I had to find that gentle balance of his fun side and his shy side, and his wanting to be with Beezus,” he says, referring to Selena Gomez’ character in the 20th Century Fox adaptation of the beloved Beverly Cleary book.

“One of the best things about working with Selena is, she’s a very giving actor,” he observes.  “She’ll help other actors with scenes.  I’ve seen her ask, ‘Would you like me to read this a different way?’  It’s really nice.”

With Season 2 of “Zeke & Luther” airing, Dano is awaiting word on Season 3.    “I’ve heard a lot of rumors that it’s happening,” he says of the series, which has performed well with the male kid and tween audience at which it’s aimed.  “But I try not to get too excited about anything until it’s confirmed.  I love doing the show.”

‘Fame’s’ Debbie Allen: We’re in a War to Save Arts Education

Debbie Allen is hoping that the new “Fame” feature that opens Friday (9/25) will do more than entertain – it will serve as a reminder of the importance of arts education at a time when “the money dries up right and left.

Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen

“We have a war going on,” declares the dance great.  “Where is the money for the arts?  There is no money, but the arts should be one of the last things to be cut.  We need the arts to initiate, to create, to have a voice.  The performing arts are one of the best ways to connect people.  It’s character education.”

 Allen is in the new “Fame” – making her the only performer to appear in the hit 1980 film, its spin-off TV series, and the new movie.  Her character may be named Principal Simms, but to Debbie, she’s playing the same fiercely dedicated teacher she’s played all along.  “After all this time, I am the same character.  Lydia Grant is married – this is her married name,” she says with a laugh. “That’s how the world is going to know her.  I’ve never left it.” 

 Indeed, she carried Lydia Grant into her own life, founding her immensely successful Debbie Allen Dance Academy that’s already seen students hitting the big time, including her daughter, Vivian Nixon, of Broadway’s “Hot Feet” — and “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant William Wingfield.  She’s had other dancers and choreographers land work on stage and screen – including “Fame.”

 “A few of my students are in it.  One of my right hands – Marguerite Derricks – choreographed it.  When I saw it, I just beamed and gushed about how wonderful her work is,” she recounts.

 Debbie herself recently choreographed and directed Mariah Carey’s big new Las Vegas show.  Now, besides her ongoing activities presiding over the school, she is getting ready to direct the London production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” that she directed on Broadway last year – starring her sister Phylicia Rashad and Sanaa Lathan.    

 SO GOOD IT’S BAD:  “I appreciate that people are taking better care of themselves, but I’m like your dirty secret,” says Blythe Beck, who is starring in her own Oxygen reality series “The Naughty Kitchen With Chef Blythe Beck,” debuting today (9/22).

 “I am the naughty chef.  I call my food sexy new American – food you ate growing up but I make it naughty.  I’m all about beer, butter, pork fat, and loving on your food.  The more love you give to it, the naughtier it is,” claims the sassy chef, who runs the Dallas restaurant Central 214.  “You wouldn’t eat this food every single day, but you come to me when you want to celebrate the good times or be comforted in the bad times.  I just want people to come in my restaurant and let me love on them for a little while.” 

Despite so many cooking shows on television at the moment, Beck claims her show is different.  “My show is not just about cooking.  It’s more of following me around as a chef.  My life alone has been like a television show with the ups and downs of working in this field, and now it actually is one,” she adds with a laugh.  “I’m just blessed that cooking is the gift God gave me.  It’s the best gift ever.” 

Adam Hicks

Adam Hicks

YOUNG STAR ON THE RISE:  Adam Hicks, Luther Waffles to fans of  “Zeke & Luther,”  is resting up a bit between his and fellow star Hutch Dano’s just-finished promotional sweep of Europe and the start of second season production of their popular Disney XD show.

 “It was amazing!  Everything was a new experience.  Hutch and I are open to all these new things all the time.  I had a blast,” he says.  “I got to see the Eiffel Tower; I’d always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower.  I loved Germany…”  And he got recognized in Paris, he reports.

 Did he and Hutch ever get on each other’s nerves?  “We never really did.  We have a good relationship.  We balance each other out,” he says.  “We’re constantly working together, so that’s great.”

 Hicks, who starred in the big screen “How to Eat Fried Worms” and has a sizeable list of TV and movie credits,  recalls feeling “a different vibe” about “Zeke and Luther” than anything he’d done previously.  “It was more fast-paced, fast cut — a lot of outrageous comedy with us skateboarding down the streets and stuff like that.  I wondered if people would be open to this new flavor of comedy.”

 They were.  Now the amiable red-haired 17-year-old is getting used to being asked questions about what makes a good kiss and such by the teen magazines.  He seems to be taking it all in stride.  “I’m open to answering a lot of the questions.  I’ll give you my best advice,” he says.

FEELING GOOD:  “The Biggest Loser” host Alison Sweeney admits to pangs of jealousy over her husband’s ability to eat just about anything without putting on weight.  “He’s so thin,” she says of her mate, California Highway Patrolman David Sanov.  But it’s not as if he gets a free ride as far as staying in shape, she points out.  “He works out.  It’s interesting.  You learn it’s not just about how many pounds you see on the scale — it’s about what’s going on on the inside, too.  So it’s about what you put into your body and maintaining your health and fitness.” 

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster