Film credits roll for Ben Avon girl

Holding on to her souvenir "Oscar" from her Los Angeles filming, Sophie Guest relaxes on her backyard swing. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

She started out as a sunflower, but chances are good that someday soon she'll be a star.

That might be a lot to say about an 8-year-old actress, but this particular actress has more credits to her name than many performers twice her age can claim.

Sophie Guest, daughter of Amy and Steve Guest of Ben Avon, grew up with the good fortune to have at least a passing connection to the entertainment industry, but probably more important is her natural ability to flash a smile that can light up a room with more wattage than a few dozen klieg lights on a movie set.

And she has been on enough movie sets to prove it, starting when she landed a part in the Tom Cruise film, "Jack Reacher" when she was just 6 years old.

"It's my sister who really got me into this," Sophie explained. Big sister Megan, now a senior at Avonworth, has worked as a model with the Docherty Agency, her professional contact. "The Docherty Agency called me and asked if I wanted to audition for a movie."

Sophie admits that at first she was nervous. "I had never done anything like that. But the casting director had me act something out and I got a callback."

This time the film director was there. "He asked me if I knew how to make pancakes, and I told him that I did."

She named the ingredients and then he asked her if she liked snow cones. She told him she did, and then he asked her if she wanted to be in a movie.

A unique audition, to be sure, but the director obviously knew what he was doing and the personality type he was looking for. Nobody minded that Sophie eventually had to ask who Tom Cruise was.

She played the part of a little girl who, with her babysitter, is in harm's way. At the time, Sophie was not quite sure what was meant by "…in harm's way," but she played her character well enough that the parts kept coming, including the role of the quarterback's daughter in Kevin Costner's "Draft Day." And she will be seen in the film adaptation of John Green's 2012 best-selling novel, "The Fault in Our Stars," set for a June release and already touted as being a summer film blockbuster.

But Sophie's work has not been limited to the big screen. Television appearances have begun to come her way, as well. In the Lifetime Channel's "Those Who Kill" series, she plays Haley Vogel, daughter of the lead pathologist. Mom noted that Sophie is "not in any of the scary parts," adding that she's not allowed to watch those parts, either. And she was seen in the April 10 episode of the CBS comedy series, "Two and a Half Men," the only role that has required lengthy travel, since all of her other parts, aside from "Draft Day," filmed in Cleveland, have been Pittsburgh shoots. The trip to Los Angeles had many perks in addition to the filming, though, meeting Ashton Kutcher and John Cryer among them.

Quite the career ladder for a young lady just wrapping up third grade at Avonworth Elementary. And while the climb has just begun, Sophie enthusiastically anticipates expanding her show biz experiences. "I enjoy meeting all of the new people and making new friends. I really enjoy acting!"

And she enjoys the role of being little sister to big brother Jake and sisters Jenny and Meagan, as well.

As to that sunflower: It was the part she played in her first stage appearance. "Kindergarten," she recalled with a giggle.

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