It’s a rare occasion for a child actor to share the big screen with some of the industry’s brightest and funniest stars. But it’s most certainly not the case for Reyn Doi, who at just 12 years old got his big break with the instant comedy classic Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Sparking a treasure trove of joy alongside musical numbers, endless hilarity and absurdist adventure, the Honolulu native admits to PopCulture.com he is “thankful” to have worked on the film with heavyweights Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo and Jamie Dornan.
Sharing with us in our series PopCulture @Home how the reception from fans has been “really amazing” since it’s been his first major breakout role, Reyn recognizes his foray with Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar as a “really good first-time experience,” which he credits to his co-stars. “I mean, a lot of the people on set, like the director [Josh Greenbaum] or Annie, Jamie, Kristen, they’re all like parents, or they all have that sort of love for children,” he said. “And they’re very kid-friendly and I feel that working with them made me feel comfortable. As professional actors, you don’t really see that from them, but then I felt that way.”
Humbled upon being cast alongside the film’s titular leads Wiig and Mumolo, the young actor, who filmed the movie when he was just 10 years old, reveals he was in complete awe of working with former Saturday Night Live alum Wiig. “When I found that I booked the job, my mom told me, ‘Oh, Kristin Wiig, she’s in Bridesmaids' and I was like, ‘Bridesmaids? We have to watch it right now.’ And obviously, my mom covered my eyes with the inappropriate parts, but I watched Bridesmaids. And I was like, ‘Wow, I get to work with her? I get to work with Kristen?’ That’s how I felt.”
Reyn calls it all an “amazing experience of working with Wiig,” especially in how he learned so much from her. “I was able to watch her perform, like improv or monologue, or see her different facial expressions, which really did make me feel like, ‘Wow’ and she’s such an amazing actor,” he said. “But her as a person, she’s so kind and so full of love. I mean, she rubbed my mom’s back when my mom was so full of pain one day and she had to go to the hospital, and then she was there by my side that day to help me shoot. So, I am so thankful.”
Reyn recalls the first day he ever met Wiig sharing his first day of filming entailed meeting her while she was in full costume and makeup as the nefarious albino supervillain. “I was on set in the hair and makeup room and this lady walks in — mosquito bites all over her face smelled like the ocean. She was wet. And I was like, ‘Okay, I don't know who this is,’ and then my mom came up to me — ‘That’s Kristen,” he said, sharing how he followed up the initial meeting with a hug. “I felt an instant connection.”
View this post on Instagram
Working alongside the former Groundlings comedian, Reyn shares he got many chances to improv with her as well. “We would dance on set — there were some clips in the movie, which are improv, like on the bicycle,” he admits, sharing how he improvised the opening sequence by throwing the newspapers and the expressions he made. “It was fun because I got to explore.”
With a role essential to the movie’s overall plot and comedic timing that just draws the audience in, Reyn plays young YoYo — a little boy who works as a loyal henchman while serving a sinister leader with retributive hopes. But while he serves the movie’s villain Sharon Gordon Fisherman (also played by Wiig), the young actor also shares plenty of the scenes with Dornan, who plays a gun-toting spy and hopeless romantic. “As most people know, [Dornan] plays two sides — he’s a villainous person, and he’s also that tropical sort of character and I feel like he played both characters very well,” he said. “[But] me being able to watch him play that villainous character […] he was very mellow and calm. He was very kind, and he always sort of helped me out when I didn’t know anything.”
Reyn further shares that while he did not share too many scenes with Mumolo, he wishes he had more screen time with her. “She was sort of like a person who would be there for me, like Kristen, but she’s like a mother for me, kind of.”0comments
Admitting that he loves “every scene” in the movie, the tween, like many viewers and fans of the comedy, is also looking forward to another chapter in the life of Barb and Star. “I would love a sequel,” Reyn gushed. “I wish for one. But obviously, if there was one, I would hope for maybe like — maybe I could be Barb and Star’s trio? I could be the third party, and maybe it could be in the jungle or Vegas.”
Barb & Star Go to the Vista Del Mar is currently available everywhere you rent movies and will be released to own on digital March 26, followed by a Blu-ray Combo Pack with DVD on April 6. For more with Reyn, the movie’s stars and more, stay tuned to the latest from PopCulture.com.