fb-pixel Skip to main content
Movies

12-year-old Reyn Doi plays a villain and steals scenes in “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar”

Reyn Doi as Yoyo in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP
Reyn Doi as Yoyo in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSPRichard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP/Lionsgate

“Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” – streaming as of Feb. 12 – is a berserk comedy that features co-stars and co-writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo saying ridiculous things in Midwestern accents; Jamie Dornan playing a soft-hearted villain who sings and dances; cameos that might make you hit pause and rewind; and 12-year-old Reyn Doi, who gets to steal all of his scenes.

Playing a villain named Yoyo, the young actor kicks off the comedy by riding a bike during a suburban paper route while singing to Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb’s 1980 duet, “Guilty.” It sets the tone for a chaotic storyline that’s part “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” part “Austin Powers.” After his big opening number, Doi shares scenes with Wiig and Dornan, keeping a straight face during ridiculous moments.

Advertisement



Doi, born and raised in Honolulu, agreed to an interview about his first big role. This was also one of Doi’s first big media interviews, the Globe was told. He was already on the set of his next project, and very excited to promote a project for the first time.

Q. Nice to meet you! My first question is about that opening scene, where you sing Barbra Streisand. I wondered if you’d heard the song before.

A. I knew the song because my dad’s [has listened] to it in his car in Hawaii.

Q. You have to do a lot at one time! Singing, riding a bike …

A. Muti-tasking!

Q. Without spoiling any of the surprises in the film, I’ll say that many of your scenes are with Kristen Wiig and Jamie Dornan. They’re very serious in those these scenes. How difficult is it to stay serious when you’re doing and saying funny things?

A. They made me feel comfortable and professional, which helped me execute my scenes, and I watched them do it as well. So it helps me sort of focus and build confidence.

Advertisement



Q. Had you seen much of their work before working with them?

A. With Kristen, I had watched “Bridesmaids” when I was younger, and Jamie [of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “The Fall”], I hadn’t actually seen his work.

Q. What kind of movies do you watch at home?

A. I like to watch “Bridesmaids.” Another one would be “Hachi.” [Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, 2009] It’s a Japanese true story, and there’s actually a statue of Hachi in Japan. I didn’t mention this yet, but Hachi is actually a dog. And the summary of the movie is that Hachi waits for his owner, Richard Gere, to come back for him, but he doesn’t come back because Richard dies. It’s an emotional story, and I cried at the very end. Throughout the whole movie, actually.

Q. I’ll have to watch that. Are there TV shows that you like at home?

A. I love to watch “Keeping up with Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives.”

Q. I imagine it’s difficult to celebrate a movie release right now because we can’t have big parties and we have to be very careful. How will you celebrate Friday’s release?

A. I was thinking about just staying at home with my mom and watching the movie, maybe pick some popcorn up and get takeout. But I really want to go to Lawry’s Prime Rib because that’s me and my mom’s tradition, [for] different kinds of celebrations related to my acting career. And I really want to eat some prime rib.

Advertisement



Q. Are you allowed to tell me what you’re working on now?

A. I’m on set now. I just finished eating lunch. I had some curry. I’m on set for a Nickelodeon show. I’m actually working on two Nickelodeon shows right now, but I can’t really talk about it. But I can talk about Boss Baby 2 [”The Boss Baby: Family Business”]. I play the role of “Box Kid.” [The film is scheduled for a September release.]

Q. Looking back, what was your favorite scene to film in “Barb and Star”?

A. My favorite scene was definitely the bike ride scene in the beginning. That day was my last day of filming. Unfortunately, my mom fell ill. So I was really worried because my mom is my support system. She’s always with me on set. And Kristen was there for me, beside me. She motivated me and encouraged me, and I’m so thankful for her. Also, I just want to say that after we wrapped shooting, I was given a bracelet by Josh [Greenbaum], the director, and Kristen and Annie and the producers of the film. I cried so many happy tears that day.

This interview has been edited and condensed. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at Meredith.Goldstein@globe.com.