Actor Reyn Doi On Co-Starring In ‘That ‘90s Show’: ‘A Dream Come True’

Reyn Doi may not yet be a household name, but he is on his way there via the new Netflix sitcom That ‘90s Show, a reboot of the That ‘70s Show, which premiered in January. On the show, Doi plays Ozzie, one of several teenage friends of Leia Forman (portrayed by Callie Haverda), the granddaughter of Kitty and Red Forman (played by Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith, reprising their characters from That ‘70s Show). With his witty personality and sarcasm used to great comedic effect, Ozzie has arguably emerged as the breakout character of the new series.

“It was a dream come true,” Doi, 14, says about getting the part. “When you audition for something you never really have a feeling of, ‘Oh, I’m gonna book it.’ So I didn’t know until I really got the call. And then when I got the call, it was like, ‘Oh my God, this is actually happening. This is gonna be real, this is gonna be my life for the next six months.’ Everyone [in the cast] is so talented, and I think everyone brings something to the show that the show needs.”

Doi is one of the six younger cast members–including Havedera, Ashley Aufderheide, Mace Coronel, Sam Morelos and Maxwell Acee Donovan–who form the nucleus of the new series set in 1995 in fictional Point Place, Wisconsin. Ironically, Doi wasn’t even born when That ‘70s Show first aired in 1998 on FOX (The 10-episode Netflix revival was recently renewed for a second season).

“I knew about Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher,” he says of the actors who played Jackie Burkhart and Michael Kelso on That ‘70s Show. “I did not know that this show is what really started their career. So I booked the show and then I thought, ‘Okay, [I] have to see what the original looks like.’ And if you watch an episode of That ’70s Show and then watch an episode of That ‘90s Show, you’ll see the differences and the similarities. Like the 360 circle theme—we brought that back. The sets are the exact same thing.”

In the show, Ozzie is an openly gay teen who acts mature beyond his age compared to the rest of the gang. Says Doi: “At the beginning, you don’t see much of him until I would say Episode 3, where his boyfriend Etienne [from Canada] is introduced. So I feel his storyline really starts there. In regards to his character, he’s sarcastic and smart, but also he has a heart, It comes out to certain people that he can trust and that he feels he has a bond. He’s not afraid to tell you his truth that may offend people. He probably doesn’t think anything is offending anyone.”

One of the poignant moments in That ‘90s Show occurred in Episode 5 when Ozzie comes out as gay to Kitty, who offers her support. Doi recalls getting the episode script before it was released to the rest of the cast because the producers wanted to make sure he was comfortable with the material. “I knew that this was an important episode for [Ozzie’s] storyline. That week was definitely stressful because I had a lot of scenes to film, and we pre-shoot on Thursday and then we do it live on Friday, and I only have a little bit to film on Thursday—which meant I would have to film 99% of my scenes live. And I was already partly nervous. It was only Episode 5, but it ended up turning out really good.

“Laura Prepon, who plays Donna [in That ‘70s Show], guest starred in the episode and she’s always so funny. I mean, the scene in the Forman living room where she calls me ‘a sex boy’—you’ll find the blooper reel somewhere either on my Instagram or Netflix may release it one day. Debra Jo was a rock star in that episode. She really made me comfortable, and I think being able to do those scenes with her actually made me more relieved.”

Besides Prepon, the reboot brought back That ’70s Show actors Topher Grace, Wilmer Valderamma, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Don Stark and Tommy Chong in recurring and cameo roles; in addition to being regulars on That ‘90s Show, Rupp and Smith serve as the series’ co-executive producers. “Debra Jo and Kurtwood—they’re amazing,” Doi says. “They’re icons. I think this show wouldn’t be the same without them, so I have to give them a lot of credit as well as the original stars returning and supporting us.”

He adds: “I think that the original cast, everyone welcomed this thing with open arms knowing that we were the new generation of Point Place to continue the legacy of their original show. And they care so much about us, and they wanted the show to become successful so badly. Luckily, they accomplished that in some way.”

Of Japanese descent, Doi was born in Hawaii and lived there for 11 years until he moved to Los Angeles. He fell into the acting profession naturally. “I don’t think I knew,” Doi says. “All I can say is that I always had the courage to speak in front of audiences. I had the courage that many kids my age at the time didn’t have, so that was pointed out by several other parents at school performances. I would be the emcee and they would just come up to my parents or even me and say, ‘You speak so well at such a young age, you’re only 4.’ I never thought much about it. I think my mom knew that I had something special, that if we could have the opportunity to take it here, that’d be great. But I never had that goal coming here.”

Doi had racked up acting credits prior to That ‘90s Show, including a role in the 2021 comedy film Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. He cited the movie’s star, Kristen Wiig, as an influence on him as an actor. “At that time, I hadn’t really done any other major films,” he says, “so this was really a big deal for me to be able to work alongside her as well as Jamie Dornan and Annie Mumulo—all of those stars that were filming with me in Mexico. It was a crazy experience for me. Because I had a lot of scenes with Kristen, I was able to really build a bond with her. Not only that, but I was able to learn from her because she would always improv a lot, which made me start to take improv classes.”

Meanwhile, Doi will appear in an upcoming Netflix film called The Out-Laws. As for his expectations for the second season of That ’90s Show, he says: “My hope for Ozzie’s storyline is I would love to see everyone’s family background come out. With 10 episodes, you can’t really write that much. A normal sitcom would be 20-plus episodes. So we’re very grateful that Netflix has renewed us for 16 episodes, which will give the writers an easier time to include all the storylines they want to include.”