The audition circuit in Hollywood is brutal. It is, as a certain fictional sports agent described it, an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that challenges a person's self-confidence in the face of constant rejection.
Now imagine having to do that while living in Missouri, far away from the studios and casting offices. That was what Cailee Spaeny was facing as she tried to kickstart her career.
The 20-year-old's first major role is playing the orphaned Amara in Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel to the 2013 hit that opens in theaters this Friday. The story behind her audition is almost too good to be true. "I really wanted to stand out," Spaeny said. Knowing the role would call for heavy action, she got creative. "I rubbed dirt on my face, I found an actual pole, and I piled up pillows and pretended they were human when I swung at them." It obviously worked, because she got a callback.
When she read with John Boyega, who stars in the film and plays her kind-of "big brother/mentor," they hit it off instantly. Spaeny says Boyega, who was also one of the producers on Pacific Rim: Uprising, tagged her with a nickname that stuck throughout filming.
Check out our interview with the rising star about working with Boyega and to hear what name she would give a Jaeger — you know, if those things actually existed.