Rick Bentley

Hollywood Notebook: Kiyoko enjoys variety; ‘Whispers’ child’s play

Haylley Kiyoko stars in the CBS series “CSI: Cyber.” She is a member of the team who tracks online ciminals.
Haylley Kiyoko stars in the CBS series “CSI: Cyber.” She is a member of the team who tracks online ciminals. CBS

Hayley Kiyoko is starring in two films this year that are on opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum.

You can catch her this week in the new horror film, “Insidious: Chapter 3,” playing the best friend to the young woman who becomes the focus of a demon. Later this year, she stars in the live-action version of “Jem and the Holograms.”

Add to that, she’ll be back on the CBS drama “CSI: Cyber” and the young actress is bouncing all over the acting walls.

“It’s happened very organically and been really cool. ‘CSI: Cyber’ is really more of an adult type of show and ‘Jem’ is more geared at the teen world. It’s great to get to do so many things,” Kiyoko says.

Kiyoko is happy that her role in “Insidious” is not that big.

“I always have my hands over my face when I watch horror films,” the actress says during an interview at the JW Marriott LA Live. “I think this movie is one of the scariest of the whole franchise.”

Although this “Insidious” is a third chapter in the series, the action takes place before events in the first two films. That meant there were no limitations on where the scares could go.

“The story in this film is scary and you care about the characters. You are scared for them,” Kiyoko says. “I feel like my characters is the only bright light in the life of the main character. Her father is not dealing with the loss of the mother very well. I’m her only support system.”

Playing the best friend to the character played by Stefanie Scott was easy because the two actress had just worked together on “Jem.” Kiyoko plays Aja, while Scott in Kimber.

Kiyoko landed the role in “Insidious” after Scott told her she should audition because there was a role that would be perfect for her.

Even with all of the acting variety, Kiyoko has a greater love of music. The Los Angeles native released a solo album in 2013 and has produced a new EP, “This Side of Paradise.” She was wrapping her EP just as filming on the first season of “CSI: Cyber” had started.

“My fans have known since day one that music is number one with me,” Kiyoko says. “But, doing the acting gets my face out there and that helps me. Now, if I was a bad musician, it definitely would not help.”

No kidding with “The Whispers”

Working with children is always a challenge. Not only are there limitations on how long a youngster can work and how much time must be devoted to school, there is the subject matter to be considered.

In the new ABC drama, “The Whispers,” children play a big part in the action that takes place on screen. That puts pressure on those in charge to make sure they are getting the material they need while protecting the young actor.

“The Whispers” actor, Lily Rabe, found the task a positive experience.

“Working with the children and these young actors specifically was one of the greatest joys I had doing this show. I think all children are pretty extraordinary and getting to work with children is always so much fun because it’s sort of exactly what you’re chasing all the time in a scene partner, which is someone who just wants to play and who is completely, wholly present,” Rabe says. “It’s different every time. And all the things that excite me as an actor, you get that in spades with kids.

“And these kids were very special. Kyle and Kylie, who play our children, were just extraordinary. And Abby, who is in the pilot and then is in more of the show as well, was unbelievable. So I loved every second of that.”

She recalls one scene in a small room where she was working with six or seven youngsters. Between scenes she was given the opportunity to leave the room but Rabe stayed because there was so much energy.

Series creator, Soo Hugh, made sure that the storylines for the children in her show would be strong enough to match what was happening with the adult actors.

“Childhood is complicated, and just because they’re children doesn’t mean they don’t have wants and desires. I mean, someone like Kylie, her character Minx is dealing with her parents’ affair,” Hugh says. “She knows what’s under that surface. And that’s one of the things Drill manipulates, is he understands children and understands their vulnerabilities.

“And we really in the writers’ room wanted to create children characters who can rise up to that level of be fully immersive.”

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