Star Power

 In Culture, Interviews

From Lindbergh High School to the set of JTs “Mirrors” and “The Sound of Music Live!” with Carrie Underwood, the career of STLs Ariane Rinehart is about to skyrocket.


When she hops onto the New York subway, Ariane Rinehart is a typical college junior. By the time she hops off, the Webster Groves native is transformed into a 19-year-old veteran performer, with theater, TV and movie credits piling up in her wake. After taking fall semester off to do “The Sound of Music Live!” on TV with Carrie Underwood, Rinehart is hitting the books again—although how long New York’s Barnard College will get to keep her is anyone’s guess. She’s midway through pilot season, a whirlwind of casting for network, cable and online television shows. Her standout song and dance performances as Liesl, combined with Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” music video and a role as Eve in Paramount Pictures’ upcoming movie “Noah” (starring Russell Crowe and Emma Watson, premiering next month), have Rinehart’s agents excited about the future. And why wouldn’t they be, with so much still ahead? After all, it’s hard to believe Rinehart—a sociology major and German minor, wise beyond her years—graduated from Lindbergh High School just three years ago.

ALIVE: Did you expect people to treat you differently at school after “The Sound of Music” aired in December?
ARIANE RINEHART: The nice thing about Barnard [the women’s college of Columbia University] is that there’s so many people who go to school there and do really incredible things. Obviously there was a lot of buzz about “Sound of Music,” and my friends know about it, but there’s enough amazing people that you’re not some spectacle. Life will pretty much be normal.

ALIVE: Tell us what “normal” means to you, because your life sounds anything but.
AR: I have a normal class schedule of 16 to 18 credits, and I’m in an a cappella group on campus. And auditions…Last year [pilot season] was pretty insane, and I think it’s going to be even busier this year just because of the buzz from “Sound of Music.” I’ve already been talking to some [producers]… and my agents are really excited, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll be that person running out of the classroom to the subway to get downtown. Pretty much my life will be running around New York.

ALIVE: What’s pilot season like?
AR: It’s usually like two to three-and-a-half months. Usually January and February, then things shoot starting in March. It depends, though. Netflix isn’t at the mercy of sports and holiday programs; it can do what it wants.

ALIVE: You sound very savvy about all of this at 19 years old. 
AR: As a sociology major, I like to think I just observe how things work. I’ve been in New York auditioning for around two-and-a-half years now. It seems silly not to learn from that experience and talk to other people and ask questions. The more prepared you are, the more you can focus on doing a great job once you go in. Knowing that CW likes this look, so I’ll make sure that I’m wearing this and my hair looks like this, but these people don’t want you to look as polished, so I’m going to look more like I just ran around New York. You get to know what networks look for and who’s in charge of them. Not everyone does that, but I do. Hopefully it will pay off.



ALIVE: It sounds like it already has. People might be surprised by your major and minor‰ÛÓwhat about acting, music or dance?
AR: The nice part about New York is you can do it all‰ÛÓI’m auditioning enough, I’m taking ballet at school, I’m singing and dancing on the side. But I wanted to have other options and interests. Otherwise it’s really easy to dwell on things, and a lot of it’s a waiting game. It’s nice to have something completely different that I can focus attention on.

ALIVE: What do your parents think of all of this?
AR: Everyone asks my mom if she’s worried about me in New York. But she’s from New Jersey, and she’s like, “You should have seen New York when I was there!” My parents love visiting. And my brother loves the whole thing. He was forced to go to all my shows as a child. But he likes theater. He’s 23 and has a Fulbright in Germany. So we have similar but very different interests.

ALIVE: Tell us about “Noah,” the Darren Aronofsky movie you’re in, starring Russell Crowe and Emma Watson that’s out in March?
AR: I filmed “Noah” in summer 2012. It was my first film role, a small role, and it was part of this huge, fantastic movie. I’ve run into a few people, like the director of photography for the movie‰ÛÓhe was the DP for the video as well‰ÛÓand the steady cam guy. They said they were still editing at that point. It’s a long process.

ALIVE: So between that long process for the movie, the short turnaround of live TV, potential television series, theater‰Û_how will you decide what to focus on?
AR: I did theater all my life until getting to New York, but now I audition more for TV and movies, so I think that’s more the route I want to go. But then, during “Sound of Music,” I really loved it‰ÛÓalthough it was not the normal live performance where you have an audience and the instant gratification from that. They’re both so incredibly different. I love the feeling of a live show, where you immediately know how the audience feels about you. That’s an amazing feeling. But then the focus you can put into a film and movie is so different. A TV show is a progression; it’s not one thing and it’s over. I’m greedy and ideally would like to do all three!

ALIVE: Are there any pitfalls you’re trying to avoid? Maybe typecasting?
AR: That can happen when you’re a kid or have a long string of movies that are the exact same role. My agents are so wonderful. They believe in me so much, and they’re protective of exactly that: “You want the job, but you don’t want the wrong job.” “Sound of Music” was such a wonderful project‰ÛÓjust perfection. I know what that feels like, and I don’t want to do something that I don’t feel proud of.



Photo credit: Wesley Law

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