Disney+’s Cheaper by the Dozen is a hilariously honest heartwarming story of the raucous exploits of a blended family of 12, the Bakers, as they navigate a hectic home life while simultaneously managing their family business that sees Gabrielle Union and Zach Braff as parents of a blended family alongside two dogs, 10 kids, plus one ex-wife and ex-husband.
In the story, Paul (Zach Braff) and Zoey Baker (Gabrielle Union) are raising a full house of nine young children. Zoey’s kids from a previous marriage, Deja (Journee Brown) and DJ (Andre Robinson), are entertaining their respective athletic and artistic pursuits. Paul’s kids from his prior marriage, Ella (Kylie Rogers), Harley (Caylee Blosenski) and godson-turned-son Haresh (Aryan Simhadri), are planning to be a fashion influencer, punk rock star and entertainment entrepreneur.
Then there’s the married couple’s four young children — fraternal twins Luna (Mykal-Michelle Harris) and Luca (Leo Abelo Perry) and identical twins Bailey (Christian Cote) and Bronx (Sebastian Cote) — who are focused on causing chaos and destruction wherever they go. Since combining their families, the couple has stood the test of time that has only fortified their strength and love for each other and their family; countless storms. No matter the financial setbacks to unexpected family growth with Paul’s ex-wife Kate (Erika Christensen) and Zoey’s football superstar ex-hubby Dom (Timon Kyle Durrett).
The Koalition spoke to actor Timon Kyle Durrett about how Cheaper by the Dozen represents all of us, the meaning of family and how Dom’s evolution impacts his kids’ lives.
“When I first read the script, I told my agent, Susan Fincham, ‘I love the material and I want this role’ just because it was refreshing. It was very well written, it wasn’t cliche, there were certain things I saw [in the script] that actually [showed] how fun, funny and heartwarming this film could be. It’s [also] different than a lot of the roles I’ve played. I play these well to do less than desirable characters [but] there were a lot of layers to Dom Clayton I really wanted to dig into, and I was able to do with the material. I just latched on to it and I’m really glad I got to play this part.”
Even though Dom is the ex, never once is his character treated as a villain. As Zoe’s first husband and the biological father of Deja and DJ, their marriage fell apart because Dom’s career as a football player made Zoe feel unimportant and, instead of playing second fiddle to his career obligations, they amicably parted ways. His career also took him away from his children, but his love for them never changed. Now that he’s retired, he has time to reflect on all the things he missed out on with his children, and it pains him deeply. While he respects Paul, they have something of a competitive relationship.
“In the beginning, Dom had an inflated ego, he had to come in and assert himself and to prove he’s this big man, and then he realized that’s not what’s necessary. What’s necessary is his presence, his love, his understanding, his acceptance, being interested in what his children’s wants are. What their likes and dislikes are, how their personalities are being shaped and molded by the world he hasn’t been a huge part of. He also has to bring himself down a notch and understand the man that’s helping raise his children is very capable of doing a great job and he sees he is and that brings him to a level of acceptance he wasn’t used to. He comes from a place of being absent and not understanding things to being present and understanding and accepting of the things that are happening now with the children.”
As Lilo & Stitch stated, “Ohana means Family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” Disney has always celebrated family and Cheaper by the Dozen further illustrates that point. Family is what you make it and can’t be defined, it’s what comes from the heart. “Family means togetherness despite your differences, understanding despite your disagreements and grievances and support despite what you may or may not want to do. Sometimes there are things you don’t want to do but you do it because that’s just [the other person’s] thing. I think there’s a cohesion that comes with not just being blood relatives. Family, to me, means love and harmony and cohesion based on each person’s individual differences and collectively and individually.”
To learn more about Cheaper by the Dozen and Timon Kyle Durrett, check out our full interview in the video above.