“It’s colourful, wonderful, and wild.” Jayden Revri is talking about his new show Dead Boy Detectives but the actor could easily be describing himself. Aged just 24, Revri has flexed his talents in musical-comedy series The Lodge and has now ticked off supernatural hero from his bucket list. His character in the Neil Gaiman show, Charles Rowland, may be a ghost but Revri is in the prime of his life.  

Sitting down with the English actor you would never know that teenage girls flood his Instagram comments, declaring their undying love. He is mannerly and kind as he shares his passion for golf, which he took up during the pandemic. He often nips to Tesco in his uber tight and ever so stylish chequered trousers, unfazed if anyone gives a second glance. And with every accolade he mentions, he makes sure to double-down on how grateful he is to gain success at such a relatively young age.  

Premiering on 25 April, Dead Boy Detectives will follow the adventures of Charles Rowland (Revri) and Edwin Paine (played by George Rexstrew), two ghost detectives fighting supernatural crimes. After meeting an untimely death, they choose to stay on Earth and solve mysteries with the help of clairvoyant Crystal Palace (played by Kassius Nelson). Packed full of dark humour and accentuated by gothic cinematography, it’s a perfect sci-fi fix. 

Steve Yockey, famed American playwright, developed the series based on the DC Comic characters created by Neil Gaiman and Matt Wagner. It is part of Gaiman’s The Sandman universe, drawing attention from superfans across the globe. “Hopefully, Neil and Steve Yockey make plans for a crossover,” says Revri on the possibility of one day meeting the Sandman. “But I’m just waiting for season one to get released and then we can talk about the potential of that.” 

What made you want to become an actor?

It’s a mad story. I always say: “I’m just a normal guy who got very lucky.” I was very animated as a kid, standing on tables and singing happy birthday as loud as I could. I remember my mum saying to me: “You need to be on TV,” all the time.

In year six, I auditioned for our end of year production of The Lion King and I got the role of Simba. When I was doing my first performance, I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to perform. From there, I was spotted by somebody who got me into a Saturday school where I was introduced to agencies.

It all happened in the space of 12 years and I feel super grateful to be in the position of leading a Netflix series. I’m doing things I could only dream of when I was a kid. I couldn’t tell you what I’d be doing if I wasn’t acting. 

Jayden Revri
Jayden Revri

How did you land the role?

The whole audition process for me was quite surreal. I was away filming another Netflix series called Fate: The Winx Saga at the time. And I had an audition come through for a short film and I was learning those lines. Then everyone else on the cast started auditioning for Dead Boy Detectives and I ended up reading with some of them. Every time I saw this Charles character, there was something about the role that just spoke to me. I didn’t know what it was at the time, I just knew.

So, I went to text my agent and when I pulled up his name, he started calling me. I thought: “OK, well this is a bit weird.” I answered the phone and said: “Look, I really love this short film, but there’s this TV series.” And he said: “Dead Boy Detectives? I was actually calling you to say, let’s scrap the short film. I got you an audition for Charles.”

When I sent my tape off, I got a recall within a week and got the role. It was a fun process, I felt blessed they chose me so quickly. It was really cool because I was the first one cast so I got to do chemistry readings with different actors. When I auditioned with George Rexstrew (Edwin) and Kassius Nelson (Crystal), I remember the director saying: “That’s the show.”

Did you hit it off with your co-stars?

Chemistry reads are difficult because they’re just firing everyone in and out through Zoom because everything’s online now. So, you don’t really get a chance to speak with each other. But there’s also beauty in that because the chemistry just comes in naturally. I remember the three of us really bouncing off each other. I think we looked great as a three as well.  

Now, we’re literally like brothers and sisters. George and I met at Heathrow airport just before we flew out to film the pilot and the connection was instant. We clicked straight away. We spoke about our lives and careers, then before we knew it, we landed in Vancouver. We formed a relationship where you wouldn’t know if we hadn’t been friends for years. Everyone said it really showed when we were filming and kept commenting on our chemistry. 

Had you always dreamed of acting in a DC Comics series?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve manifested that I wanted to play a superhero. So, with Dead Boy Detectives, there’s kind of a correlation. But before this, I wasn’t actually a big fan of DC Comics. I hadn’t read much of it but as soon as I found out I got the role, I was straight into my research. I found out a lot about the comics by Neil Gaiman and Steve Yockey. It’s an honour to be able to represent the character. 

Did you feel pressure from the more zealous corners of DC Comics fandom?

I know that people have an idea of what Charles is going to be in their head. But I always put my trust into Steve Yockey and Beth Schwartz who tell me to be who I am. They seem to like my version of the character so I’m going to stick with that.

There is always pressure and I know people are expecting a lot out of this but I’m super proud of what we’ve turned over; I think people are going to love this rendition of the Dead Boy Detectives.

Jayden Revri

How did you prepare for the role?

There’s been quite a few renditions of Dead Boy Detectives. So, I wanted to do it in a way where I present a version of Charles that’s similar to the comics, But I also wanted to make it my own so I added a bit of myself in there too. I see myself in almost every aspect of his personality so that made it easier to slip into the role.

He is everyone’s best friend. He is charming, affable, and quite a hothead who thinks impulsively. I think I’m growing out of that now but that definitely describes my 16-year-old self. I learned a lot from Charles and what he goes through in the show. It isn’t a replica of my own story, but I can relate to the emotions he goes through massively. 

How did filming the show compare to previous sets you’ve worked on?

I can compare it to The Lodge massively. That was a Disney show for kids, which was very musical and we would break out in dance in the middle of a conversation. With this series, we could be talking to a man who is a walrus and a girl who is a floating squid. So, it’s fun. But Dead Boy Detectives enabled me to stretch my imagination and collaborate with the rest of the cast more. We created our own little world while filming.  

What was the most memorable moment?

There were so many. We had so much fun as a cast. One of the days, we travelled to a different island on a ferry. And we had been working long hours so we were all playing this game where you go through each letter in the alphabet and find something around you that starts with it. We were all just going absolutely crazy. I feel like when you’re in such close quarters with a group of people, you start to go a little mad and get really close. 

What locations did you film the series at?

When you film in the studio, it’s very private. You can walk around freely and they build the sets in there which are so impressive. We have two rooms and they probably built about 15 sets and they all looked so real. I’d never seen anything to that scale before and it blew my mind. Then when you go on location, everyone gets very interested in asking: “Why are there cameras? Why are these two boys dressed like this? Why is everyone putting makeup on their faces?” So, it feels a lot less private. 

I did get a bit of stage fright, especially when we filmed the pilot on London Bridge. There were only five of us allowed on the bridge at a time. So that was me, Kassius, then three other crew members. They weren’t allowed to stop the public. So we had to literally walk through the middle of London Bridge with people walking past.

There was actually a shot in the series where Kassius is talking to herself and she shouts – then this guy holding a cabin bag turns around and gives her the most realistic reaction ever. He looks like a paid actor but he wasn’t. They had to mute my mic because I was laughing so hard at the back of the camera. 

Jayden Revri
Jayden Revri

What would you like the audience to take away from this storyline?

The show is about love and friendship. It’s colourful, wonderful, and wild. I think there is something in every character someone is going to relate to. And within every character is a journey through tackling problems that we can correlate to an issue in our personal life. 

The main message of the whole series is to be yourself, unapologetically. Luckily, Charles Rowland does this very well so I’m hoping people get to love and learn from him as much as I did.

How does the series navigate the theme of death and after-life?

All the characters definitely have one thing in common and that is death and grief.  But in death, comes the Dead Boy Detectives, it shows that there’s light at the end of every tunnel. Edwin and Charles fight the injustices and solve cases that wouldn’t have otherwise been solved. And in doing so, they give people closure.

Hopefully people can deal with their own grief and loss better from watching the show. They turn something which can be quite tough and make light of it. 

Will there be any DC Comics crossovers?  

That’s the beauty of the series coming to find a home on Netflix because The Sandman is on Netflix and Neil Gaiman has done such an amazing job on that show. Hopefully, Neil and Steve Yockey make plans for a crossover.  But I’m just waiting for season one to get released and then we can talk about the potential of that.

What role do you want next?

I’ve already fulfilled all of my dreams. When I was younger, I said I wanted to be Zac Efron and I was that with The Lodge. And I wanted to be a superhero which is similar to Dead Boy Detectives, so I feel like I’ve done as much as I could. But saying that, I think starring as a super villain would be cool. 

And I love video games and always have since I was a kid. I know they’re bringing out a lot of renditions of certain video games, so if I could play a role in one of those then that would be incredible. 

But, for the future, all I can think about is the release of this show and making sure it can be as amazing as it can be. I just hope that everyone responds well to it. 

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What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what I’d be doing if I wasn’t acting. I think it was the one thing I found in life that I have a super-big passion for. And a lot of people say I’m good at it, so, I’m going to believe them and go with it! 

When I was 16, doing the Disney show, I was doing something I could only dream of doing when I was a kid. It just kept on progressing and now here we are – I have a Netflix show coming out in April. 

When you’re not acting, who are you?

I’m just a very normal guy. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my dog. I’m super into sports but I’m not very sporty, I just love watching them. But I’m a huge golfer, I’m super into golf. Everyone always says to me: “Jayden, you’re 24 not 50,” when I say that but golf is for everyone. 

A lot of people say you need a steady mind to do it but it’s ironic because it actually steadies my mind. When I’m playing it, I forget about everything else. All I can think about is getting the ball to the green. It’s great for my mental health. I took it up over lockdown and never looked back. Now, I go out, dressed in my chequered trousers, polo, and cap and unapologetically walk around Tesco’s. 

What drives you to keep going?

I think it’s just how much you can affect somebody’s life. I never really understood it until I did The Lodge where we got quite a big fanbase. People were messaging me saying that my character helped change their life. You never know who is going to watch this series and if you can touch at least one person’s heart through your work, that’s all you need.

I can remember the first instance it happened, I was out in town with my family and this group of kids ran up to me and they were telling me they wanted to be a DJ, like my character. It was so rewarding. 

You can do your job and then come home, knowing you’ve made a kid want to chase their dreams. If I can do that for people, I’ll do it for as long as I can.

Dead Boy Detectives is on Netflix from 25 April.