Leo Howard, Star of Disney XD’s Kickin’ It
Leo Howard from the show Kickin’ It talks about his martial arts training, his cast mates on the show, and the antics of his pet bulldog, Bella.
Q: How long have you been studying martial arts?
Leo: Ten years now. I have my black belt in a style called Shorin-Ryu, which is a Japanese martial art. I currently practice like all the extreme martial arts, which is the acrobatic and showman, more like for shows and stuff.
Q: Does the discipline of studying martial arts help you in everyday life?
Leo: It definitely just as a person in life – it taught me respect. It taught me honor. It taught me so many things that I use every single day. So it absolutely helps me in everyday life.
Q: What is your character Jack like?
Leo: Jack is actually really similar to me. I’d like to think he is because he’s cool. You know? [Laughter] I’m just kidding. But see Jack is the cool kid of the group. You know, there’s the nerdy kid, the uncoordinated kid, but Jack is the cool kid, and he’s there to help everybody through. He doesn’t have an ego. He’s a really, really genuine good guy, and he’s always there for the guys to encourage them on and accomplish a task they’re trying to get done. Even the jokes and the sense of humor is very my style, so it’s very easy for me to kind of drop into the character of Jack because he’s so much like myself.
Q: Could you describe your kid co-stars?
Leo: Mateo [Arias who plays Jerry] is goofy. He’s funny and actually he’s way cooler than you’d think from his character. Dylan [Riley Snyder who plays Milton] is very smart, incredibly funny – like as a person, incredibly hilarious – and believe or not, he has like a gift for karate. He picks it up super, super quickly. They all do, but Dylan’s very good at like kicking and high kicks and stuff. They’re all funny, but Alex [Jones who plays Eddie] will make you laugh in the classroom just by laughing. He’s got just a great laugh and a great smile. He’s great at sports and he’s also a sports fanatic. He loves talking about football and basketball. And Olivia [Holt who plays Kim], she’s cute, funny, and really cool. Also she’s really awesome at martial arts and flipping. She picks up all the gymnastics, back handspring stuff, really quickly. And then Jason [Earles who plays Rudy] is just a huge goofball. Jason is way more mature than his character in the show, and he’s hysterical. Any time I’m around Jason I have a great time.
Q: Is there somebody special you would love to guest on the show?
Leo: I would love to have Johnny Depp on like a guest star because he’s my idol when it comes to that sort of thing. Yea. You know, Jack Sparrow.
Q: What is your most embarrassing moment?
Leo: Hmm. Ok, so we were training one time. This is probably not my most embarrassing moment because I don’t really get embarrassed too easily, just because you know I’m goofy and I guess everyone around me accepts that. [Laughter] But I was training one time and I do this crazy flip that I’d been trying to get for a couple months and I land it and everyone goes crazy. Then I walk off the mat and I trip and fall on my face. So it’s just random stuff like that. My mom says that I can’t walk in a straight line and chew gum because I’m that clumsy.
Q: Yet, you’ve got a black belt. [Laughter]
Leo: It’s true. They say people who can flip or are coordinated are clumsy at the same time. Yea, like gymnasts – they say a lot of gymnasts are super clumsy.
Q: Do you have any pets?
Leo: I do . . .a bulldog named Bella. Every day is a funny story with Bella. She’s absolutely bonkers. She’s probably the craziest dog I’ve ever met. She’s obsessed with her skateboard and it’s to the point where if you literally say the word “skateboard” she knows it and she and start barking. So we have to spell it out around her. We have to say, “s-k-a-t-e-b-o-a-r-d.” If I gave it to her all day, she would sit outside playing with it. She chews it more than she rides it, but she still rides it.
Q: What was your childhood obsession?
Leo: Bananas, and I pronounced it “nana.” But I was obsessed with that word. It was the first word that I ever learned, and every time I’d see it in a store, I would go, “Nana. Nana!” I would go crazy screaming “nana” and my parents would have to hide the bananas in the house because I would go crazy. I was like a monkey, and they would have to spell it out around me, same like Bella. [Laughter]
For more about Leo Howard and the rest of the Kickin’ It cast, watch this behind-the-scenes video from the set.
Interview by Marie Morreale
Images courtesy of Disney XD