Attention all skater dudes and skater girls! You’ll be totally stoked about Disney XD’s series Zeke & Luther. On the show, Zeke and Luther are two friends with one shared goal in life: to become world-famous skateboarders. This includes mastering sick board tricks, entering high-level competitions, taking a road trip to the home of their idol (Tony Hawk), and taking part in skate-offs with their nemesis skater, Kojo.
You’re in luck because we nailed EXCLUSIVE interviews with two of the show’s stars: Hutch Dano (Zeke) and Daniel Curtis Lee (Kojo). Check it out!
Did you skateboard before the series?
Daniel (Kojo): Yes. Actually, skateboarding was my big thing when I first moved out from Mississippi because there wasn’t a lot of land. We were staying in a little apartment in Long Beach and we didn’t have a lot of room or at least grass to play football on, so I would skateboard. And actually I’d gotten really good at one point, and now me and Adam [who plays Luther on the show] skate together all the time.
Hutch (Zeke): The thing was, I was more of a surfer than a skater, but I did know how to skateboard and I was actually working at a skate shop . . . So when I went in for this skateboarding show, it was perfect because I knew all the fundamentals of skateboarding because I had been working at a shop.
Tell me about Zeke — what’s he like?
Hutch: Zeke — on the show, he is the focused guy. He is the guy that keeps his eye on the prize. He doesn’t want to get distracted, and that’s kind of what’s so great about Zeke and Luther because Luther pretty much has no attention span whatsoever. He’ll see a fly and then all of a sudden that’s where he goes. So it’s so great to see them together.
Now, would you be friends in real life with Zeke and Luther and Kojo?
Hutch: I would. They’re all really cool guys. I mean, Kojo’s the nemesis. He can get in the way of Zeke and Luther’s plans and stuff like that. But as the episodes go on, it kind of shows that Kojo’s a cool guy even though he has this tough kind of cocky front going on, but they’re all really fun guys.
What was the audition process like?
Hutch: I just went in with about three or four Luthers before I went in with Adam, and the only thing Adam said to me when we went in for a test run was, “Let’s kill it.” And the chemistry clicked right away. I’ve never had so much chemistry in a chemistry test audition with anyone. It was unbelievable.
Had you guys known each other or was this the first time you met?
Hutch: First time we met.
Adam mentioned it’s this sort of adventure/action-y kind of thing too.
Daniel: Oh, yeah. This is going to be definitely different — definitely going to be pulling the boys in with this one. Like High School Musical, everybody loves High School Musical, even the guys. But it’s more so geared towards girls about the whole love thing. We’re doing some insane stunts and kids are gonna be like, “Man.” It’s everything you wish that you could do on your skateboard . . . There’s not a second where the show isn’t just action. It’s insane. It’s so cool. They’re gonna love it.
Do you have a professional skateboarder you look up to?
Daniel: There’s this guy named Danny Way, and he’s big on trying a whole bunch of different things — the huge super ramps that are like hundreds of feet in the air.
Any real big wipe-outs for any of you?
Hutch: Well, the most embarrassing story I have . . . is the first day of shooting. The only thing I had to do was skate up to Adam and say three words to him. I slipped off my board first take, first day. So I literally fell on my butt! Everyone’s like, “Well at least you got it out of the way,” and that’s true . . .
Why do you think this show is gonna really click with kids?
Daniel: You know what, I’m honestly going to tell you this is going to click with all kids, because skateboarding is no longer just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. Skateboarding is the new culture. I’m a hip-hop artist, and skateboarding is breaking into hip-hop. Now skateboarding is the new cool thing. Everyone does it. It’s so portable. Kids don’t have cars. You’ve got a skateboard, though. Eco-friendly: skateboard — you can just ride your skateboard down the street not hurting the environment. Skateboard is the answer to everything almost. All you need is a little paved street and you’ve got it made. It’s just what everyone does. It’s almost like breathing.
Daniel, you mentioned your hip-hop side. Have you done a CD, are you working on one?
Daniel: Oh. Yeah. I’ve been doing music forever. Songwriting is my thing. I love it, I love it, I love it. And I’ve actually done a couple — but I worry about trying to release it. I didn’t want to release it until it was just perfect for my listeners, and now I think I’m just about ready. It’s got a skateboarding vibe in it and, you know, just the regular hip-hop life.
What artist would you like to perform with?
Daniel: I really like MGMT — they do this whole techno thing. But it would be a strange combo, so I’m gonna go with the Jonas Brothers. I really admire their lyrics, more so, because I’m a songwriter.
What kind of dog would you like to get?
Daniel: It’s weird for a guy picking up a dog, especially a guy that’s getting a little bit older. [Editor's Note: Daniel is 17!] I’d have to talk to the ladies, do a little poll in a Scholastic magazine or something to figure out what kind of dog I can have and still be a guy, because I want, like, a German Shepherd or something that I can run around with and it’s cool . . . manly. But then on the other hand, Yorkshire Terriers are really cool, but I don’t know if the ladies are going to be digging it if I’m wearing a feminine dog on my arm and I’ve got some doggie bag. I don’t know, we’ll have to see.
Hutch, I’ve heard that you collect autographs — but with actors’ advice. Which actor gave you the best advice? Or whose message is the most valuable to you?
Hutch: Daniel Day Lewis. By far. He put, “Do the work you need to do in the way you need to do it.” And that always kind of stuck with me because . . . everyone always forced all these acting books upon me, and I always felt a little bummed out because not all of them worked for me. So when I heard Daniel Day Lewis give me that advice, it really helped.
Hutch, you’ve said you admire James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Daniel Day Lewis — it seems like you are centered on sort of the golden people of Hollywood rather than today’s pop culture.
Hutch: The big thing I always say is that you can’t be the best of the new generation without studying the best of the old generation. It’s kind of like one of those things.
What are the top three books you would recommend to other kids?
Hutch: I would either say the first three Harry Potter books if you haven’t read them, because those are all fantastic, but the first three are all really rock solid. And I would also recommend the three or four Twilight books [for ages 12 and up] because those are awesome too.
Daniel: Definitely 1984 [a classic for ages 12 and up]. The second book I’d have to go with is Holes. I really love that book, and then Shia [LaBeouf] did a great job in the performance in the Disney movie. And for the third one I’m going to have to go with . . . The Crucible [another classic for ages 12 and up].
Hutch, what one book do you think Zeke would recommend?
Hutch: I think Zeke would recommend anything that has to do with skateboarding . . . with Tony Hawk. The History of the Ollie is what Zeke would probably recommend, if there is a book!
Daniel, what book do you think Kojo would recommend?
Daniel: Let’s see. If there even is one, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Skateboarding or How to Be the Coolest Guy.
And there you have it! I personally think this is going to be one of the next HOTTEST shows, what with these off-the-hook stars. I’ll be watching their first episode, titled “Bros Go Pro,” from the safety of my cushy sofa. Are you planning to watch too? Let me know what you think!
—Ratha, STACKS Writer
Photos from Zeke & Luther, of Hutch Dano, and of Daniel Curtis Lee courtesy of Disney XD
Puppy photos from Utekhina Anna/Shutterstock, Erik Lam/Shutterstock and Eric Isselée/Shutterstock