In celebration of Disney XD launching today, THE MAG got a chance to sit down and chat with Adam Hicks, better known as Luther from ZEKE AND LUTHER and Wen in LEMONADE MOUTH. Here’s what he had to say about skateboarding, songwriting, meeting Tony Hawk, and jumping out of fridges…
What's your version of Luther?
Luther is like this, he’s outrageous, he’s very zany, and he’s the comedy-driven character of Zeke and Luther. He really has no barriers, that’s why I love playing him because he’s so just out there and he wants to be a professional skateboarder and that’s his dream. The show’s about two kids who want to become professional skateboarders and like our crazy adventure.
How do you get into your “Luther” character? Is he li ke you at all?
I feel like everyone can relate to Luther in a way, he lives in those little awkward moments, like those silent weird, cringey moments, I guess. I am like him in a lot of ways, but at the same time I’m nothing like him. I’m more chill, more relaxed, but I also have a goofy side also, and just hanging with friends who are goofballs, just bringing all these influences in and stuff.
Are there any characters on TV or in movies that help influence your character?
Not necessarily a character, but Jim Carrey is like, just his expressions are, he’s kind of along the same guidelines as Luther. Every scene, you’re like ‘what is he gunna do right now, what is about to happen’.
What’s your favourite situation that Zeke and Luther have gotten into?
Oh wow. We did an episode, it was so, it was crazy. The writers, I love the writers, we did an episode called ‘Airheads’ and it’s like about air guitars and you know how you’ve ever rocked out like, with your air guitar, and we do a whole performance on stage in front of a crowd and everyone with air guitars, like we’re rocking out. And it’s just funny how, it’s my favourite episode, personally, so we’re rehearsing with air guitars and drinking air sodas and unplugging the air cords, it was awesome!
How do you and Hutch Dano (Zeke) get along?
We hang out constantly, Hutch is like, one of my best friends! And you know, just hanging with him, being his best friends on camera just sort of happened off camera, also. Three seasons, we became like brothers. He’s a great guy.
Air instruments aside, you’re very involved in music in real life including writing three of the songs in the movie LEMONADE MOUTH. How did you get involved in that?
I had done three music videos for Disney before LEMONADE MOUTH and I write music, I’ve been writing for years. I’ve been acting for 11 years but I started writing when I was seven or eight and just doing music constantly and Disney was aware and LEMONADE MOUTH came up for an audition and before I even booked the role, Disney contacted me and they were like “We would love for you to do music for LEMONADE MOUTH” so I was like “Awww this is the sickest!”, and then I booked Wen on top of it, and that was like the ultimate, I was like running around my house. And yeah, so I got to do that and before we left for New Mexico, that’s where it was filmed, we knocked out the songs and we did ‘Breakthrough’ and ‘Determinate’, so I got to write two songs and then I went out there, and they wanted a bonus track for the DVD and a bonus scene also, and I got to write for that also!
Who are some of your favourite musicians?
I love all types, Mick Jagger all the way to Mike Posner, I’m all around. Bruno Mars is amazing also. All types of music! My dad is actually from London, so he has like a big influence of old school guys like The Stones, so I grew up with that influence then I grew up with my own, my generation of music.
Do you ever think that you’ll take a break from acting to pursue music head on?
Definitely! I mean, they’re kind of just collabing right now which is awesome. I mean, LEMONADE MOUTH was like my two ultimate passions into one project and just to see them, let it be known that a project can involve music and acting. And a lot of people think LEMONADE MOUTH is a musical, but it’s like a storyline that involves music and yeah, it’s about the band and just evolving, and having an influence on a track that’s pushed by Disney, such a huge company, getting so much support and so much love from the fans and seeing their responses, it’s an amazing feeling.
You’ve done the funny, laid back characters. Is there a role you would love to play that you haven’t had the opportunity yet to do?
I love acting, so any character that’s not, I kind of like to vibe out. Like, I like to play those characters that I’m nothing like, like Luther is some who I have to… well, not anymore, I’m so close to him now. But I remember when first starting out how I had to jump into that psyche and zone myself out, and I feel like that’s the greatest part about acting, you know, playing someone you’re not. I don’t really have a dream character, but I would love to explore all realms of characters, I guess.
You skateboard a lot in real life, what was it like recently skateboarding with Tony Hawk for ZEKE AND LUTHER?
It was amazing! Tony Hawk, like I was jaw-dropped. I was stuttering and it was Hutch (Dano) and I and we heard that he was coming on set and we were like, because growing up, I remember seeing him land a 900 when I was like, nine, being a huge fan, playing all of his video games, and then skating right beside him and him just being like “Hey, what’s up bro?”. And all these tricks, he taught me how to do a 360 flip, which was awesome, I’d never really learned how to do it. Just someone as amazing as Tony Hawk, it was amazing.
How long had you been skateboarding before the show?
I started skating like, three or four years before the show, so I was pretty good. I was good at land tricks, but the greatest thing about ZEKE AND LUTHER is that we work with professionals constantly so they’re always, the tricks that I’ve tried to land for three years, they’re like “Oh, just put your foot on the back and kick it under” and you go and you land it, so.
Have there been any drastic wipeouts?
Not drastic, not drastic. There have been wipeouts daily, but funny stuff. At first, I used to get so embarrassed because we’d be skating, then we’d be on the floor, then we’d hear “cut”, but now everyone’s a family and it’s great walking onto a set knowing everyone by their first and last name, and I’ve been there so long that it’s just like having a family environment, so it’s amazing.
Who is someone who you would love to have guest star on the show?
Oh man, so many… Rodney Mullen, I’ll go along the lines of skateboarders because it’s a skateboarding show, but at the same time, great comedians, and we actually in season two, Eddie Colletti, he’s like our manager because Zeke and Luther get sponsors, and he’s hilarious! One of the funniest characters, and they just brought him on in season two and he’s brought so much to the show, and anyone. Jim Carrey, like I said, people like that. Or Selena Gomez or Justin Bieber, put him on a skateboard and see what happens!
Have there been any hilarious off-camera moments?
Yes, actually. Season two, there’s this thing where we would do pranks all the time. Something like, locking someone’s room, the simplest things like that, but they kind of grew and they got bigger. Season two, we had it season one as well, but we have this huge refrigerator and we got a camera and we’d like hid the camera in the Doritos or something, and someone would jump into the fridge and close the door. And someone would go to the director and be like “Oh, can you get some ice?” or something as people go by, and then we’d jump out and catch it all on camera. We play it at the end of the season, it’s awesome. We got everyone, every director.
Is it true you have a black belt in tae-kwon-do?
Yes, I have a black belt in tae-kwon-do. I got my black belt, and then I didn’t go back… I got to the black belt, and then that was like the biggest thing, I used to take it so seriously and I used to travel and do sparring and forms everywhere, and it was awesome.
Would you want to incorporate that into your acting someday?
For sure! I think I’d need to stretch a little bit more, but I’d definitely like to. I still have some moves!
Thank you, Adam Hicks! Check out ZEKE AND LUTHER weekdays at 7:30 pm ET on DISNEY XD!