Tag Archives: Zeke & Luther

Wrestler Rey Mysterio, Jr. Has Soft Spot for Kids

Rey Mysterio

WWE star Rey Mysterio, Jr. steps onto the mat on Disney XD’s “Zeke and Luther” tonight (8/16), playing himself on an episode that has Luther (Adam Hicks) dreaming of success as a wrestler.

Mysterio tells us he couldn’t have said no.  For one thing, he’s spent untold hours watching Disney Channel shows with his own son, 13, and daughter, eight – and he got to bring her along for the shoot.  The mask-wearing hunk also has a big kid following himself.

“Lots of kids wear the mask.  One of the things that fills me up with energy when I get into the ring – kids in the front row wearing a Rey Mysterio mask,” says Mysterio, who learned the high-flying Lucha Libre wrestling style in Mexico.  He stresses that he goes to great lengths to get the message across that his moves take years of training and should not be tried by kids at home.

Mysterio – nee Oscar Gutierrez – also likes doing public appearances with kids around.  Earlier this month in Australia, he says he made best friends with a 12-year-old boy brought to him by the Make a Wish Foundation.  “He said he was put in home studies because he had no friends at school.  He was missing a finger on his right hand and said, ‘Kids like to make fun of me.’  I said, ‘Don’t worry, what I see in you is a strong heart and desire to be successful.  I would love to teach you some of my moves sometime.’  I gave him some wristbands and things.  You know, kids sometimes don’t see that making fun of people isn’t the right thing to do, but as you get older, you realize that the most important thing in life is to have respect for others.  I always tell them that.”

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.”

Poehler’s Humor Intact Despite Hectic Pace

Amy Poehler NBC photo Mitchell Haaseth

Amy Poehler NBC photo Mitchell Haaseth

Things could not be much busier for Amy Poehler, but if she’s feeling stressed, it certainly isn’t hurting her sense of humor.

We caught up with the blond dynamo, who’s enjoying the kudos that have been heaped on her “Parks and Recreation” series in this, its second season — and the fact that the zany show has been given a full-season pickup by NBC.

As much as “Parks” is occupying her attention, however, she does have other projects going, not to mention her and husband Will Arnett’s one-year-old son at home.

“We are working on ‘Lunch Lady,'” she says of the big-screen movie in which she’s to play a hairnet-wearing cafeteria worker who doubles as a heroic crime fighter. “Lots of good things are happening. We are expanding my web series ‘Smart Girls At the Party’ and continuing work on ‘The Mighty B” — the Nickelodeon show she co-created and produces, and for which she provides the title voice.

And, as if all that weren’t enough, she adds, none-too-seriously, “And I’m writing, starring, directing and producing the next in the ‘Oceans’ series, ‘Oceans 14.'”

Um-hm.

How about return visits to “Saturday Night Live?” When might she pop up in her old stomping grounds?

“I hope soon. I can’t wait to sit under the bleachers with Lorne and watch the show,” she responds, referring, of course, to producer Lorne Michaels.

And, one more thing. Outside of when the Secretary of State appeared on “SNL,” has Amy communicated with the political icon she’s often imitated, Hillary Rodham Clinton?

“Only telepathically.”

WHAT’S IMPORTANT: News last week that Dennis Hopper is battling prostate cancer made his comments to this column a few weeks ago — about being grateful for his health — particularly poignant.

“I’ve got a wonderful life — and that’s a miracle,” said the actor and 60’s icon. “After so many years of drug and alcohol abuse, I should be dead.”

Hopper is being treated through a program at USC.

BIG HAIRY DEAL: If you think Gordon Ramsay is a tough cookie in the kitchen, then you haven’t seen Tabatha Coffey’s sassy style in a salon. The outspoken Aussie has hairdressers running for cover as she’s back for a second season of “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover,” premiering tonight (11/3) on Bravo.

Tabatha tells us despite what people think of her less-than-friendly tactics, it all comes from a place of wanting to help.

“I understand that it’s really hard for them because I guess I am outspoken. I like to think that I’m just really honest,” she notes. “I really want to help them and it doesn’t do any good to pussyfoot around and not tell them the truth. I’ve got to tell them what needs to change to make their business better.

“To some people, that’s really hard to hear. It takes time over the week that I’m with them for them to kind of realize where I’m coming from, and it is actually coming from a good place. It’s coming from a place of trying to help them.”

While getting these salons to change their bad habits isn’t easy, Tabatha claims the rewards are far greater than the stress.

“That’s probably the thing that gets me going more than anything. They really do need help and sometimes, the people in the salon don’t want to change or the owner does. It becomes really, really frustrating,” she says. “With this season, there are some really interesting stories, but as always, there’s drama.

“For me, though, the most rewarding part is when I can see that people get it and they are working hard to change their business. It’s nice when I get e-mails from the salons or the stylists who will reach out to me and tell me that I’ve really made a difference.”

ALL FIGURED OUT:  Eleven-year-old “Zeke and Luther” co-star Ryan Newman is a math-loving girl — who’s in an advanced math program she manages to fit in daily in addition to her regular on-the-set schooling and camera calls. “I’m transitioning from pre-algebra to algebra,” reports Ryan. She loves working with numbers, she says, “because there’s a right answer.”

Ryan Newman     Disney XD photo Jaimie Trueblood

Ryan Newman Disney XD photo Jaimie Trueblood

 Newman is also into fashion and music and has other interests. She’s hoping that she can inspire young female fans to not hesitate to use their brains.

“My advice is to be as smart as you can be, to try your hardest in whatever you’re doing. Yeah, I’m kind of a nerd, but I’m not nerdy,” notes the very hip young lady, who also got her gal pal next door to join the math program. “I feel that being smart and well spoken is a very important thing — well, besides being a good person.”

Newman wants to continue her acting career (it started when she was three) when she grows up. For now, she loves “Zeke and Luther” and goofing around with her cast mates, Hutch Dano and Adam Hicks. They had a Silly String fight shortly before our chat, in fact.

Ahead for her on the skateboard-centric show, her character Ginger is going to do some skateboarding. “I’m very excited about that happening,” she says. “I’m not that great at it. I can push and balance, but I can’t do any tricks.”

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

‘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