A guide to black films, reviews and resources.

Kel Mitchell & Kenan Thompson



By Laurence Washington


     It's early in the morning at the Nickelodeon sound stage in Orlando, Fla., and after a busy night that included screening their new film Good Burger, the second feature film from Nickelodeon, and a cast party with 702 and Tracie Spencer providing the live entertainment, 19-year-olds Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson are surprising animated and full of pep. So much so, Mitchell will deliver his famous lines from the "Good Burger" sketch to anyone who'll lend an ear to listen.
     "Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger. May I take your order please? That's the saying of the summer," says Mitchell who is dreadlocks-free. Unlike his character Ed on the show "All That," or in the movie Good Burger.
     The film is a joint venture with Paramount, says director Brian Robbins. Robbins adds that it took Paramount a little while to say yes on the project, but once they did, filming took only a few weeks.
     Finally Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson sit down and discuss the film and their acting careers.

 

Q:
A lot of people thought Abe Vigoda was dead. What was it like working with him?

Kel:
He's really old. [laughs] I'm just kidding. His humor is real subtle. And you have to really watch his face. He's funny.

Q:
How did you start acting?

Kenan:
I started out in the theater in Atlanta when I was 5-years-old. And then I got into theater classes on Saturdays and in the summertime. Then I became involved in the Freddy Hendricks youth ensemble in Atlanta, and I'm still with that company today. Then I got an agent, and went on a lot of auditions. I was also in plays at school. Then I got the part in Mighty Ducks Two and that was it.

Kel:
I was always the class clown. I was always doing cartwheels and throwing away something in the garbage. I was the one blurting out in class -- just saying all the goofy stuff I saw on cartoons. I knew I had to get into something. My Mom was saying, "This boy is a little too creative. He likes to try things too much. I have to get him into something, before he gets into trouble." So they decided to go ahead and put me in theater classes. I did a lot of theater in the South side of Chicago. If it wasn't for my drama teacher, I wouldn't be here right now. After that, I started going downtown and doing a lot of theater shows in Chicago. When you go downtown there, it's like you're in New York, it's like going to Broadway. After that I got an agent and went on like a million auditions. You win some, you lose some. They finally called me and I got on "All That." And then from there it was Kenan and Kel.

Q:
Do you feel more pressure now that you're making a big movie as oppose to working on your show?

Kel:
Kenan has been through it before. This is my first movie. I'm new to the game, so Kenan taught me a lot. I'm glad he's with me. He told me there was a lot of hurry up and wait. You could do a scene that takes 15 hours, but in the movie, it's only 10 minutes. The scene where they put the sauce poisoning in; it took eight hours.

Kenan:
We did a scene before that, and then we had an eight hour break. It's kind of hard to keep your spontaneity after that, but we played cards and video games in our trailer. But the pressure you asked about has been there ever since our show. Ever since they teamed us up and started comparing us to Martin and Lewis and calling us the Honeymooners for the '90s, that's when the pressure started to hit.

Q:
How do you stay focused with all the attention?

Kel:
With glasses. [laughs] Our parents.

Kenan:
Family. They are always supporting us. True friends. Whenever you go home, your friends bring you right back down. Even if you think of having a big head, they will bring you right back down.

Kel:
Where I'm from, they'll beat your head until it gets back down to normal size. [laughs]

Q:
After filming Good Burger  and eating all those hamburgers, do you guys ever think of going to McDonalds or Burger King?

Kel:
For a minute. Well I did go to McDonalds, but I ordered chicken.

Kenan:
I cringe up every time I pass by a burger place. [laughs] We eat salads now.

Q:
Who is the movie for?

Kenan:
It's not just geared towards kids. It's for everyone. Everyone digs us. College kids, adults everyone enjoys us.

Kel:
It's a family film. And it has a lot of messages like don't judge a book by its cover. But it's also funny, so you also learn something.

Q:
How long do you guys want to go on with your partnership?

Kel:
A long time. But we also have our different projects. I'm doing music, and we both want to do some drama.