Every now and then, you’ll hear stories about how an audition tape sent to Hollywood will result in the discovery of some untapped talent from some corner of the world.
Such was the case with Corey Monteith, the well-known Canadian star of “Glee,” who sent in an audition tape of himself playing a plastic drum set. That tape led to superstardom on the Fox television show.
For Wichita native Reylynn Caster, a lot of her future is yet to be written, but she’s already landing roles in major-network television productions.
Reylynn, 13, recently filmed a role on the well-received ABC sitcom “Speechless,” her most recent work after acting in the Amazon Prime series “Just Add Magic.” Earlier this week, Disney XD offered her a spot in an episode of its show, “Walk the Prank.”
Reylynn’s family moved from Wichita to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career, which has also included a spot role in the Christina Grimmie movie “The Matchbreaker.”
And it all started with that one tape.
Getting to the city of stars
A critical character in Reylynn’s acting journey was Ginger Bynorth, a Wichita filmmaker who also runs the Film Wichita organization.
Bynorth first met Reylynn on the set of “Bender,” a feature film shot at Old Cowtown Museum and subsequently screened at last year’s Tallgrass Film Festival.
Bynorth had a dual role in Reylynn’s acting development, both by being an acting coach and by filming and editing her auditions and sending them to the right people in Los Angeles.
She said Reylynn has “a real natural ability,” despite not having had formal acting training.
I was like, ‘You’ve got star quality in you, and as soon as you get to LA, I think you’ll have a lot more doors open to you.’ Sure enough, that’s what’s happening.
Ginger Bynorth, a Wichita filmmaker
“I knew Reylynn had it,” Bynorth said. “I was like, ‘You’ve got star quality in you, and as soon as you get to LA, I think you’ll have a lot more doors open to you.’ Sure enough, that’s what’s happening.”
Reylynn first started acting in film locally when she was 7, doing a commercial for the Midwest Toyota Superstore with filmmaker Leif Jonker.
Then Reylynn, who was attending St. Jude Catholic School at the time, got into acting at the Scottish Rite Signature Theater, Guild Hall Players and eventually with Music Theatre Wichita.
“I was really happy with that, but I decided I wanted more,” Reylynn said.
Reylynn Caster played a role in “Bender,” which screened at the Tallgrass Film Festival last year.
That’s where films came into the picture.
Before “Bender,” she had a role in the 2014 independent feature “Wichita.”
It was her audition tape for the X-Men movie “Logan” that led to her first big break.
She didn’t get the role in the movie (which is scheduled to come out in March), but it did grab the attention of a Los Angeles talent agency.
And things have gone on from there. Reylynn and her family moved to Los Angeles in September 2015 to pursue her career. And just one month later, she walked her first red carpet for “The Matchbreaker,” on which she was interviewed by Radio Disney.
She now regularly auditions for television shows and films at various Los Angeles studios. The day she talked with The Eagle, she had left school early to audition at Sony Pictures Studios.
She’s on the Disney lot, Warner Brothers, Paramount, FOX, Sony – it’s really something I would never have expected a year ago.
Curt Caster, Reylynn’s father
“She’s on the Disney lot, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Fox, Sony – it’s really something I would never have expected a year ago,” said her father, Curt, who is an engineer for an aerospace company in Anaheim, Calif.
Life as a young actress
Reylynn attends a public school in California that often must accommodate her busy audition schedule.
She said her teachers have worked with her to ensure she doesn’t fall behind on her schoolwork.
“They excuse my absences for auditions, and when I’m on set, I have to do three hours of school a day,” she said. “I always make sure to keep up with my schoolwork – I’ve always been the kid that thinks that’s really important. That definitely comes first, because you have to have good grades to act.”
When she’s not auditioning for roles or doing homework, she said, she enjoys hanging out with friends, going to the beach and to Six Flags Magic Mountain north of Los Angeles.
But when an audition is coming up and she needs to memorize lines, she’ll cancel any other plans to focus on the audition.
“It’s a little difficult, but ultimately acting is what I want to do – I would sacrifice really anything for it,” she said. “It is really important to me, because ... acting is what I’ve always wanted to do since I was extremely little, since I was 4.”
It’s a little difficult, but ultimately acting is what I want to do – I would sacrifice really anything for it.
Reylynn Caster, 13, actress
Her father, Curt, said the entire Caster family – which includes his wife and Reylynn’s 21-year-old brother and 15-year-old sister – has since relocated to California.
He said the whole experience has been “surreal.”
“Ever since she was little, her mom had seen this ability in her and encouraged her to pursue it – I was more feet on the ground, fatherlike, like I don’t know if that’s for her,” Curt Caster said. “With her mom’s help, we did go this route, and being a parent, obviously when I see her act, I’m like, ‘Wow she’s great,’ but now being out here and having casting directors from all over request her by name and go nuts over her performance, I realize it’s not just us that see that in her.
“That’s very gratifying as a parent to see.”
Reylynn’s episode of “Speechless” is scheduled to air at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 on ABC.