By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Saturday, July 9, 2016
Atlanta has generated an impressive number of child stars over the years. Among them: Raven Symone ("That's So Raven," "The View"), Kenan Thompson ("Kenan and Kel," "Saturday Night Live"), Kyle Massey ("That's So Raven," "Cory in the House") and Dakota Fanning ("I Am Sam," "War of the Worlds").
More recently, Duluth teen Ricardo Hurtado nabbed a key role in the Nickelodeon remake of "School of Rock."
Now Atlanta's own DeVion Harris, all of 13, has landed a major role in a new kid's show called "Legendary Dudas," which debuted at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 9.
He plays the older middle-school brother Tyler Duda, whose smarter younger brother Sam gets moved up to his grade, much to their dismay. Tyler is already "legendary" thanks to an "Extreme Flakes" commercial.
"He's supposed to be the coolest kid in school," DeVion said in a phone interview. "But he also is a bit of a goofy nerd." He also happens to have a knack for imitating the principal to a tee.
DeVion said he has a "photographic memory," which makes memorizing lines a breeze. Like Symone and Massey, DeVion enjoys making funny faces, which helps generate laughs on a show like this.
He works with Theo Barnes, who plays his bright brother. DeVion is actually four months younger than Theo is but plays a year older. Even off camera, he said, they're best friends. "Last week, we went to Six Flags," he said. "We hang out pretty often."
And believe it or not, DeVion's actually playing his age, entering seventh grade on the show. Before the show, he had last gone to school at Harper Archer Middle School in Atlanta. He grew up in West Atlanta and Riverdale. He received his first acting break volunteering to do a Golden Corral commercial.
The creative director loved DeVion so much, he said they hired him for three more - with pay. "That was my favorite restaurant already," he said. (Unfortunately, in Los Angeles, the closest Golden Corral from his residence is a solid hour away - with no traffic.)
Soon, he was cast in a Tyler Perry film "Single Mom's Club." A few months ago, he was trying out for shows during what is known as "pilot season." And Nickelodeon said yes.
While many Nickelodeon shows have used the three-camera/laugh track style, "Legendary Dudas" follows "Modern Family" and "The Office" using the "mockumentary" form.
"I like to be able to break that fourth wall,' said DeVion, sounding like a Hollywood pro. "I'm talking to the people. It makes me feel they're in the show."
As you would expect two brothers on a comedy, they have a knack for getting in trouble. And sometimes that even involves stunt doubles. He said his adult stunt double looks somewhat like him from behind and the side but definitely not in the face. DeVion said he admires Tom Cruise for doing so many of his own stunts in the last "Mission Impossible" but given the same situation, "I will still have the stunt double."
The best part of taking part in this sitcom, DeVian said, is meeting so many new people. "I don't hang out much," he said. "I like to stay home. They've started taking me places." And now he said they are awaiting whether a season two is forthcoming.
While in Los Angeles, he misses the Southern hospitality of Atlantans- and the food. "Fried chicken, corn bread, macaroni and cheese," he said. "A lot of places here are healthier. A lot of salads. Not too many Popeye's and Church's."
"The Legendary Dudas," 9 p.m. Saturdays, Nickelodeon