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Jason Earles is getting a real kick out of working on Disney XD's "Kickin' It"

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Jason Earles is getting a real kick out of working on Disney XD's "Kickin' It"

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There's a saying in the sitcom world - especially when it comes to physical comedy -- that you have to commit to the bit. That you can't just go halfway when you're out to get a laugh.


Jason Earles tries to stimulate the growth of a mustache in a Season
Four episode of "Hannah Montana." Photo by Jaimie Trueblood.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And Jason Earles ... He's a really "commit to the bit" kind of guy. Which is why - when Jason was appearing on "Hannah Montana" as Miley Stewart's older brother Jackson - Earles really threw himself into that part. Especially when it came to the physical comedy aspect of this Disney Channel hit.

"I kind of became 'Hannah' 's go-to guy when it came to pratfalls," Jason remembered during a recent phone call. "But given that the performers that I watched & admired while I was growing up - the Dick Van Dykes, the John Ritters, the Michael J. Foxes - were all such great physical comedians ... Well, it was cool to get the chance to try and do what they did on a TV show. "

And the folks at the Disney Channel ... They clearly liked what they saw in Earles. Not just because this talented young man could comically take a punch and/or put a fun new spin on a punchline. But also because Jason turned out to be a great team player, always willing to take on additional assignments at the Channel. When he was asked to compete in the Disney Channel Games, play that week's villain in an episode of Disney XD's "Aaron Stone," voice a role for "Fish Hooks" or appear in a Disney Channel Original Movie, 2009's "Dadnapped," he said yes.


Jason Earles continued to be a Disney Channel team
player when he served as the co-host of the Disney
Friends for Change Games last week. Photo by
Rick Rowell. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

Which is why - even before production of "Hannah Montana"'s fourth & final season had officially begun - Gary Marsh, the Entertainment President and Chief Creative Officer of the Disney Channels Worldwide, execs began talking with Earles. Seeing if this talented performer might be willing to stick around after "Hannah" had wrapped. The Channel wanted to see if a series could built around Jason's unique set of talents.

"I was very flattered to be approached like that by Gary." Earles recalled. "And given that I basically owe my career to the Disney Channel, that they're the ones who took a chance on this starving, struggling actor when they were casting 'Hannah,' I decided to stick around. See what sort of show they had in mind for me."

Which turned out to Disney XD's "Kickin' It." TV's first sitcom to be set inside of a strip mall dojo.


The cast of Disney XD's "Kickin' It" (L to R) stars Olivia Holt as Kim, Dylan Riley Snyder as
Milton, Alex Christian Jones as Eddie, Jason Earles as Rudy, Leo Howard as Jack and
Mateo Arias as Jerry. Photo by Bob D'Amico. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

Mind you, it was kind of a big change for Jason to go from a comic supporting role on "Hannah Montana" to suddenly being one of the central characters for "Kickin' It." Especially since Earles now found himself surrounded by far younger cast members who aren't entirely familiar with the way that television production actually works.

"There's kind of this weird parallel going on between the role that I play onscreen and the part that I'm playing off-camera with these kids," Jason explains. "As Sensei Rudy, I'm a mentor to this gang of guys who practice martial arts at the Bobby Wasabi dojo. But as Jason Earles, I'm now the performer on-set  who's had the most experience when it comes to shooting sitcoms. Which is why the kids are always coming up to me, asking for my advice on how to get a laugh with this line in the script. Stuff like that."

Which isn't to say that Earles doesn't occasionally need some on-set help himself. Especially when it comes to the martial arts side of things. Which is why Jason is so grateful to be paired with his "Kickin' It" co-star, real-life black belt Leo Howard.


(L to R) Leo Howard and Jason Earles on the set of Disney
XD's "Kickin' It." Photo by Dean Hendler. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"Leo's been so great, so generous with his knowledge when it comes to karate," Earles enthused. "We'll be between camera set-ups on the show. And Leo will tell me how to improve my stance. Avoid bad form. So that Sensei Rudy - who, because I'm playing him, is obviously kind of a goofy guy - is still believable as a teacher in a dojo."

Just to be clear here: It wasn't as though Jason walked in "Kickin' It" without any previous knowledge of karate. While he was growing up, Earles was a martial arts enthusiast. And again - as a physical comedy fan - he just loved to watch Jackie Chan movies.

"But even so, just before we shot the pilot last June, so that everyone in the cast - except Leo, of course - would look like they'd previously been inside of a dojo, they gave us two days of intensive karate training. Which wasn't really enough time to teach us karate. But it was more than enough time to make all of us non-karate people very, very sore," Jason laughed.


"You want us to train for how long?" Photo by Dean Hendler. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

That said, once Disney XD officially greenlit production "Kickin' It," Earles and his "Kickin' It" castmates got very serious when it came to boning up on their karate skills. Before shooting of this series began back in January, Jason and Co. went through 5 weeks of intensive martial arts training.

"And that continues today. We've shot 17 episodes of 'Kickin' It' so far. And when we're not in front of the cameras, the cast and I are constantly in rehearsal with our fight coordinators. Making sure that we've got all of the moves down, that we can do all of this stuff safely while - at the same time - still service the script, get all of the laughs that we're supposed to," Jason said.

Which is kind of a departure for Earles. Given that - during the four years that he spent working on  "Hannah Montana" - Jason was more of a Dick-Van-Dyke, tripping-over-the-ottoman kind of guy.


Marge (Loni Love) and Rudy (Jason Earles) introduce the world to Pocket Ninjas. Photo
by Eric McCandless. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"I mean, sometimes I'm just amazed by the size & scale of what we've been doing here on 'Kickin' It.' We've had giant skateboards. We've had shows where we've battled bands of ninjas," Earles continued. "We've even shot an episode where Leo's character falls asleep and then dreams that he's appearing in 'Kung Fu Cop,' a Johnny Wasabi movie. So - for that episode -- we all got to dress up in clothes from the 1970s, have big hair and do all of these cool kung fu movies moves."

So once production of Season One of this new Disney XD series wraps later this Summer, what is Jason going to do next? He's going to go from "Kickin' It" to just kicking back.

"I'm headed to Maui for a week of rest & relaxation," Earles smiled. "Then - in September - I'll be flying to New York City to work with Class ACT for 4 or 5 days. Class ACT is this great program where kids in school art programs here in the States can help children in the third world. And then after that, provided that Disney XD renews 'Kickin' It,' I guess it'll be time for me to head back to the dojo."


Jason Earles at the 2011 Disney / ABC Television Group press junket. Photo by
Richard Harbaugh. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Speaking of which ... Though there's been no official word to date from Disney Channel execs, given how strong "Kickin' It" 's ratings have been to date, it's looking quite likely right now that this new Disney XD series will get picked up for another season. Which is perfectly okay with Jason.

"I love being a part of a show that's as crazy-ambitious as 'Kickin' It' is. So as long as Disney wants Sensei Rudy to keep training these kids, I'll be happy to keep showing up for work," Earles concluded.

So - as you can see - Jason Earles is getting a real kick out of working on Disney XD's "Kickin' It."

Your thoughts?


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  • Jason is multi talented but the most impressive thing is that he is 34!!!! He played a teenager on Hannah rather convincingly!

  • jason you are good in a movies

  • Jason is a true pro. After working with him on Hannah, I saw a great guy - always treated the crew great, even sending individual encouraging notes; always knew his lines and could bring the most possible to what he did; he really did, literally, fully, throw himself into every stunt.

    Great to see Moises' (Rico on Hannah) brother, Mateo in this show - a great actor, also.

  • WE NEED MORE LEO HOWARD PEOPLE!!!

  • WHO CARES ABOUT J.E

  • All are the best persons in the whole world  kim, jake and rudy text me back please.

  • J.E is lol

  • Love Jason Earles But He Can Be A Bit Crazy sometimes in his shows.

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