Daniel Curtis Lee Goes Extreme with Disney
Daniel Curtis Lee stars as Kojo on Disney XD’s “Zeke and Luther.”
(Disney Xd/Bob D’amico)
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
Sentinel exclusive one-on-one interview with Daniel Curtis Lee
Daniel Curtis Lee stars as Kornelius aka “Kojo” on the hit Disney XD series “Zeke and Luther.”
Since its summer debut (June 15, 2009), “Zeke and Luther” has become Disney XD’s No. 1 series across all key demos. In its primary Monday 8:30 p.m. time period, where all new episodes debut, “Zeke and Luther” more than doubles year-ago time period averages and defeats similarly distributed, boy-targeting cable network, Nicktoons, by massive margins.
Daniel Curtis Lee is one of the primary reasons for the series success. Lee’s character “Kojo,” has a “big attitude and a big mouth, and takes great pleasure in taking Zeke and Luther down a peg whenever he can.”
Born in Jackson, Mississippi and raised in Clinton, Mississippi Lee performed in school productions and local theater until landing his first feature film performance in “Friday After Next.”
“I just fell into acting,” Lee shared with the Sentinel. “It’s really funny. My mom use to be super-shy, really shy, like afraid to even come outside to talk to people when they rang the doorbell. It was that serious. She was always super-shy and she never wanted her kids to be shy so she started putting my older brother Nate and my sister Yolanda in these community plays back in Mississippi, small town Mississippi. She never wanted us to be shy so she put us in plays and there happened to be a casting director for “My Dog Skip” at one of my brother’s performances. She was just in the audience and she was like oh my god, this is the kid I need.”
If you have ever had the pleasure of watching an episode of “Zeke and Luther” you most definitely witnessed the dramatic comedic genius of Daniel Curtis Lee. He is funny, charming and naturally entertaining.
“My thing is I don’t think of myself as an actor,” Lee shared with the Sentinel. “I’ve never classified myself as an actor because I believe I am an entertainer. I do the music; I do the acting and anything that’s dealing with the entertainment industry. And not just even the entertainment industry, even from being a kid I just always loved to make people smile or make people feel a certain way. Through my lyrics I can write and make someone feel happy or sad or be like, oh man I wish I was that dude.”
Lee is very passionate about his music career. He began singing in gospel choirs with his brother Nate at the age of four and debuted their first Christian/gospel album “Warming” in 2004. Lee performed lead vocals while his brother played the instruments and sang background.
Lee continues to work closely with his big brother Nate who is a very talented bass player and producer. Lee began experimenting with different rhythmic styles and turned his focus to hip hop to better reach his peers. Teaming up with his brother, Lee wrote the lyrics and his brother made the beats on their first hip hop/pop album. Lee prides himself in being a writer of many styles and themes. He loves free-styling and coming up with lyrics on the spot. You can view Daniel Lee Curtis and big brother Nate in action via YouTube (YouTube.com/DANDONTHEFLY).
Before Lee’s success with the series “Zeke and Luther,” Lee was best known for his role as “Cookie” in the Nickelodeon sitcom “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.” Lee earned a Young Artist Award nomination for ‘Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young Actor.’
Lee worked with director Fred Savage on “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide,” and it was Savage who urged Lee to audition for the role of “Kojo” on “Zeke and Luther.” Savage wanted Lee to join the Disney family because he knew the role was perfect for Lee’s natural and vibrant personality. After auditioning Lee landed the role and immediately started working on the pilot for “Zeke and Luther.”
“I auditioned and got the part,” Lee shared with the Sentinel. “I did the pilot and then I moved back to Mississippi, started playing football and became captain of the defense. The week before playoffs they (Disney XD) were like you have to move back out to California.” That move would be the biggest move of Daniels Curtis Lee’s life because since making the last jump to California, Lee hasn’t looked back.
The highlight of Lee’s experience while filming “Zeke and Luther,” is the action-comedy.
Lee shared with the Sentinel that, “the action and comedy blend so well on this show. There is always something crazy going down, super insane stunts with a comic edge. The whole show is amazing. I get to be on location. The last show I was on we had to be in a building all the time. But now we are outside at the beach. It’s just a beautiful atmosphere and everybody is cool on the show too.”
With all of Daniel Curtis Lee’s success it was evident after meeting him that he is very authentically humble. The Sentinel asked Lee to share his views on how to make it in Hollywood and Lee said, “Honestly, making it in Hollywood the lessons learned can still ring true for making it in life itself. I would just say and this is just a standard be yourself. You should never try to be a second rate somebody else when you can be a first rate you”.
For more information on Daniel Curtis Lee please visit www.disneyxdmedianet.com