Even though she's only 15, Sophie Guest has amassed an impressive list of acting credits opposite such established stars as Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner.
The Pittsburgh native has been acting in film and TV productions since landing a role in Cruise's 2012 film "Jack Reacher" when she was 6.
Guest's latest project, the horror anthology series "Them" on Amazon Prime Video, might be her meatiest part yet. It's a drama about the terrors experienced by a Black family in the 1950s after they move from North Carolina to mostly white East Compton, Calif.
"It's not something I would've expected I would've done," Guest said. "I'm so glad I did do it. I love movies that mess with your mind and leave you thinking. 'Them' definitely leaves you thinking."
Guest says "acting kind of found me." Her sister Meagan, now 25, used to work as a model, and her agent suggested that her little sister audition for "Jack Reacher." She had no idea what an audition was when she found herself in front of director Christopher McQuarrie, who went on to helm the last two "Mission: Impossible" movies. Instead of reciting lines, the casting folks had her explain how to make pancakes.
"I got the part, so I guess something went right," Guest said.
She also played the part of the Cleveland Browns quarterback's daughter in the 2014 film "Draft Day" with Costner.
Just before a scene in which actor Tom Welling picked her up in celebration, she told the cast she had a joke for them. Her mother held her breath, fearing she would say something inappropriate.
"Why did the coach go to the bank?" the little girl asked. "To get his quarter back," was the punchline, prompting a huge sigh of relief from her mother.
She's also credited on IMDb as "Little Girl at Airport" in the 2014 teen dramedy "The Fault in Our Stars." Guest remembers how jealous her sisters were when she had lunch with Ansel Elgort.
"I've been so blessed to have had these experiences," she said.
Playing against type
On "Them," Guest plays Doris, a character she described as "very manipulative." She said it's fun to play someone so different from one's own personality and life experiences.
"Them" also gave her a crash course in concepts like housing segregation and redlining, which helped shape the racial makeup of neighborhoods all over the country.
"The '50s weren't that long ago and it's still here now," Guest said. "It taught me how prevalent that terror was and is still here. It amazes me and makes me sad and angry."
Since it's an anthology show, she isn't sure if Doris will be brought back for a potential second season, but she's hopeful.
Like any rising teen star, Guest has to balance being a kid with her acting work. Her goal is to stay grounded.
"I'm just trying to be a teenager, going to school, playing sports, playing guitar," she said. "I'm just trying to have a normal life while managing a career."