Julie and the Phantoms exclusive: From Madison Reyes to Charlie Gillespie, meet the cast of Netflix’s musical comedy series

Get to know the stars of Netflix’s feelgood young adult series Julie and the Phantoms - directed by High School Musical’s Kenny Ortega - in our exclusive video interviews.

By Sophia Moir Published: 22 September 2020 - 7.11pm
BT.com

There might be a new High School Musical TV series over on Disney+, but fans of the original Disney Channel film series should add Julie and the Phantoms to their watchlist.

Directed by Kenny Ortega (of High School Musical, Descendants, and Hocus Pocus fame), Netflix's brand new young adult series is a fun, feelgood show packed with all the music and comedy that die-hard fans of HSM loved.

The nine-part series follows a high school student called Julie (Madison Reyes) who has lost her passion for music after her mum died. 

But when the ghosts of three dreamy musicians (Charlie Gillespie, Owen Patrick Joyner, Jeremy Shada) suddenly appear in her mum’s old music studio, Julie feels inspired to start singing and writing songs again as they start a band: Julie and the Phantoms.

Get to know the cast of Julie and the Phantoms below, and watch our exclusive video interviews with stars Madison, Charlie, Owen and Jeremy.

Watch the Julie and the Phantoms cast talk about their favourite filming moments, including their best performances and *that* all-night hot dog scene below…

Madison Reyes - Julie

Madison Reyes Julie and the Phantoms BT.com

Madison Reyes plays the character of Julie, a 15-year-old high schooler who doesn't always feel like she fits in. Julie is strong, smart, energetic, opinionated and above all, a good person.

She loves music and is a naturally talented singer and songwriter, but losing her mum, Rose, a year ago has affected her deeply. She's lost her passion for a lot of things, including music. The Phantoms remind her how much she loves music, and help to revive her spark.

Julie and the Phantoms is 16-year-old Reyes' first professional acting job. She heard about the audition for Julie and the Phantoms in high school and sent in an audition tape filmed at her family home. She beat 700 other actors from around the world to land the leading role.

Madison Reyes exclusive Q&A

What was your favourite performance to film with the Phantoms?

Madison: It was probably Bright, that was a lot of fun. Just being able to perform live for the first time together, with a live crowd, it was a moment to constantly remember.

How did it feel finding out you’d made the band in the show?

Madison: Being able to share that moment all together was a lot of fun. With it being my first [acting] gig, I was told it would be 10 days until I found out [whether I’d been cast] so you prepare yourself for that. So being told so early, with these people you found this connection to, makes you feel like you were right about it.

Charlie Gillespie - Luke

Julie and the Phantoms Charlie Gillespie BT.com

Charlie Gillespie plays the character of Luke, who at the time of his death in 1995 was in a band called Sunset Curve. 15 years later, he's the lead singer and guitarist of the Phantoms (as a ghost, of course). Luke is confident and likable, but he has secrets and is hiding a painful past. Beneath his tough exterior, he's vulnerable, sensitive and romantic - with sparks flying between him and Julie...

Gillespie is best known for his role in Julie and the Phantoms, but has also appeared in films and TV shows including the Charmed reboot, Degrassi: The Next Generation, and the 2020 film Runt. He's a skilled musician who plays guitar, bass, trombone, tuba, piano, violin, and saxophone. Like the other Phantoms, Gillespie had to sing and play his instruments live during his audition, and plays all his instruments live in the show.

Charlie Gillespie exclusive Q&A

What was your favourite performance to film with the Phantoms?

Charlie: I’ve got to say Bright, because it was such a long time coming, then we finally got to do it. For months, we were like ‘oh my God, imagine the audience there with us!’, then when we finally had the audience and our crew and everybody, it was next level. The audience were loving it!

How does it feel looking back at your audition now?

Charlie: We all got really close during our auditions, but really we became best friends once we started working together. But there was something there between us and we were communicating on and off during the auditions, [saying] ‘we should do this’ and ‘this would be fun’. We were already collaborating and Kenny [Ortega] saw that!

 

Watch the Julie and the Phantoms cast reflect on their nervous first auditions for the show, plus the moment they found out they’d officially made the band…

Owen Joyner - Alex

Owen Patrick Joyner Julie and the Phantoms BT.com

Owen Patrick Joyner plays the character of Alex, another former Sunset Curve band member who's now the drummer in the Phantoms. A sensitive soul, Alex is the emotional glue that holds the band together. When he meets Willie, romantic sparks instantly fly!

Joyner is perhaps the best known out of the Phantoms, having appeared on the Nickelodeon TV shows 100 Things To Do Before High School and Knight Squad. He's a huge musical theatre fan, and acted in 38 musicals before he turned 18.

Owen Joyner exclusive Q&A

What was your favourite performance to film with the Phantoms?

Owen: I think Stand Tall, just because it was so sentimental. We had done this huge, huge run for six months, with so much work, we had become such close friends, and really it was the last number we ever performed together. It was a little powerful moment. I [also] really enjoyed shooting Now or Never with the boys, [although] it was physically killing me! The lights were so hot, and it was like a 10-hour shoot.

How does it feel looking back at your audition now?

Owen: I was really, really nervous [at my audition]! The show kinda came out when all my friends were going away to college [university], and it seemed to me like ‘oh they have their lives together’. And my Nickelodeon show had ended after a second season, and I was like ‘I’m a man now, I have to book a show or I will fail’. I had so much anxiety at the time. This show was like a perfect little present!

Jeremy Shada - Reggie

Jeremy Shada Julie and the Phantoms BT.com

Jeremy Shada plays the character of Reggie, ex-Sunset Curve band member turned bass player of the Phantoms. Reggie is an all-round good guy who loves a prank, and is always positive, supportive and carefree. He's eager to leave his musical mark on the world.

Shada is a talented actor and musician, who's best known for being the voice of Finn the Human in the animated TV series Adventure Time, and Lance McClain in Voltron: Legendary Defender. Aside from his acting and voice work, he's the bass player in a pop punk band called Make Out Monday.

Jeremy Shada exclusive Q&A

What was your favourite performance to film with the Phantoms?

Jeremy: Bright was a lot of fun, just because in our auditions for the show, Bright was the song that we’d auditioned with actually. We’d all got a rough demo of that song and during the two or three days of chemistry reads and bands mix and match, that’s the song we played 20 times. From there, to finally getting the show, making the band, recording the vocals, and then finally shooting it, it was just such a surreal moment. 

How does it feel looking back at your audition now?

Jeremy: It’s kind of crazy and weird to think of what was going through my head when we were auditioning. You’re putting on a good actor, confident face, but really you’re thinking ‘I’m winging half of this, I’m faking it ‘till I make it’. That’s half of the battle as an actor. You make it seem like you know what you’re doing even when you don’t. It’s funny going from that place, thinking ‘I don’t know if I’m going to get this [job]’ and then suddenly you are the band!

 

Julie and the Phantoms also stars Jadah Marie as Julie's best friend, Flynn, Carlos Ponce as Julie's dad, Ray, Booboo Stewart as skateboarding ghost Willie, and Cheyenne Jackson as villainous ghost Caleb Covington.

Listen to the Julie and the Phantoms soundtrack

Julie and the Phantoms is available to watch on Netflix now.