We interviewed actor Hutch Dano, star of Disney Channel’s movie “Den Brother” in Manhattan recently.
What can you tell us about “Den Brother”?
Well, “Den Brother” is about Alex Pearson. He’s a 17-year-old hockey player. I was 17 when I shot the movie. He’s extremely egotistical. He thinks he’s great. You know how someone thinks that they’re really cool and then if they’re not it’s even lamer? Kind of like that. He loves his sister and he’s really nice to her. And he’ll practically do anything for her. So you kind of can tell he’s a nice guy even though he’s got this random bravado for no reason. He eventually has to take over the troop, which he didn’t want to do in the first place and he has no choice because he loves his sister, so he’s going to do it no matter what. And by the end of the movie he’s kind of realized that it’s a good thing to do things for other people; that it doesn’t have to be a chore.
In your movie was it a good thing for Alex Pearson to get suspended so he could be the leader of the Bumble Bee troop? Did Alex really like Matisse Burrows (actress Kelsey Chow)?
For him as a person it was a good thing, but he didn’t think so at the time. All he cared about was himself. All he wanted to do was to play hockey, he wanted the showboat, he wanted to be the best. And when he gets suspended, and then he has to go out and help his little sister by being the den brother he kinds of slowly but surely learns that there’s more to life than just caring about yourself. You asked how much Alex likes the girl, yes. He likes her a lot. He likes her enough to change. He likes her enough that he kind of becomes a cooler person. I think she had a big influence on him, too.
Do you like being picked for all the shows and movies you’re on now?
I’m grateful for it. For the most part, with “Den Brother” they came to me with the script... I’d say it once again, I love “Zeke and Luther” and “Zeke and Luther” got me to “Den Brother” and before that it got me to “Ramona and Beezus.” Everything just kind of went in a circle; kind of went around each other. I would definitely say that.
How well do you ice skate?
I’m good now. I was horrible when I started. I had a couple months to train for the movie and it was embarrassing — you know how you kind of go out on the ice and you have to hold onto the wall. After about one or two weeks I got the hang of it. I started learning all the things I know, the hockey moves, all the stops, going backwards. I learned a lot from my coach.
What is your relationship with you and co-star Adam Hicks?
It’s great. Adam -- he’s so different in real life. He plays this crazy zany character. But he’s so relaxed in real life. It’s actually a really cool thing, but we really clicked from the audition and we just become better and better friends.
What parts do you play on “Ramona and Beezus”?
I play Henry Huggins. He is the love interest to Selena Gomez’s character Beezus. He was a long time friend. They’ve known each other since birth and he just now realizes how much he likes her. So it kind of puts him in this awkward -- he really doesn’t know what to do about anything and then he gets forced to by the end of the movie, to really tell her how he feels. He definitely has a little bit of an impact as far as their relationship together.
In “Zeke and Luther,” what episode was your favorite?
I have to say when Zeke jumps the shark is probably one of my favorite ones just because I hate sharks so much. So when I read the script I went there’s not going to be what’s happening. It was just a really fun episode and we filmed at midnight down in Rodondo Beach. Did you ever watch that episode? We shoot out like at midnight, dark and we shoot out in the water, like at midnight and the shark tips our boat over and we have to like swim out of the water. It was just — it was a lot of fun. It was something Zeke and Luther had never done. It was a lot of fun.
Do you like being on the show?
Oh yeah. It was the first job I’ve ever booked. The whole cast, the crew, for a lack of a better word, they’re just like a family. We’ve all known each other for so long. Not many people have really changed from the beginning of the pilot to now. I love it. It’s everything I kind of dreamed of having as far as if I booked an acting job.
Did you ever dream about being a TV star?
I dreamed of being, of acting professionally. Of doing what I wanted to do. I never knew what that entailed, like what would come with that. There’s so many different parts, there’s so many different shows, movies. I love “Zeke and Luther.” I’d love to do movies. So “Zeke and Luther” is probably the best thing I could possibly have gotten for the beginning of what I hope to be a long career for me.
How long have you been skateboarding?
I started skateboarding when I was about 12 or 13. I had a date with a girl and I had no bus money, so I took the skateboard out and I tried to skateboard. And I thought it would be real easy. I think it took me 31/2 hours to learn so I missed the date with the girl, but I did learn how to skateboard. Once again, a girl has taught me something even though I didn’t hang out with her.
Did you ever play any sports on a team?
I was on the swimming team, which was the only thing I think I did like team wise and that was fun except for the fact that you’re not allowed to eat beforehand, when you swim because it’s not good for you. I think one time I brought like a burger from somewhere, from Burger King or somewhere and the coach made me throw it away and then he called my mom and told — so that she wouldn’t give me money anymore so I could go get a burger. So I was kind of hungry on the swimming team a lot, which that wasn’t fun. I like swimming, but I don’t like it that much. I would rather eat.
What is the thing you’re most scared of?
Sharks would probably be it. I’m afraid of dolphins in the water until I see that it’s a dolphin. I would say sharks. I’ve seen "Jaws" too many times so at that point you just get -- you start to look down. For me I’m a surfer too, so I’m not exactly a fan of sitting in the water. I’d definitely say sharks.
Do you have a lot of down time, or does being in a lot of shows and movies make you busy?
It makes me busy a lot, but I usually have the weekends off. So I usually have a couple of days to kind of go do whatever I want . . . I try to go see movies and just hang out with my friends because on the weekdays I work really late. So I usually can’t hang out with them. So, yes on the weekdays for sure. It takes away all my free time, but on the weekends you shouldn’t have a lot of free time anyway. It’s OK.