From Marvel to the Music Center: Arts Camp student records lines for ‘Echo’ at Interlochen

Northern Michigan-based Native American actor Wren Gotts shares her experiences as a member of the ‘Echo’ cast—including a late-night recording session at Interlochen.

Nathan Daywalt, Wren Gotts, and Marc Lacuesta

Wren Gotts (center) poses with Nathan Daywalt (left) and Marc Lacuesta (right) after a recording session in Interlochen’s Music Center.

It’s a scene that has played out in the Music Center’s recording studio dozens of times: A student sits in the recording booth, poised to record an original song or a line of dialogue.

But this time, it’s Interlochen Arts Camp student Wren Gotts (IAC 23) at the microphone, and the guests watching the session are not instructors or peers, but representatives from Marvel Studios and Skywalker Sound.

Wren portrays young Bonnie in the new Marvel Studios miniseries Echo, which premiered on Disney+ on Jan. 9, 2024. The ten-year-old East Jordan, Michigan resident recorded several dialogue pick-ups for the series at Interlochen Center for the Arts during the summer of 2023—including a secret, late-night session during her time as a student at Camp.

“It was really fun,” Wren said in a recent interview about the experience. “Everyone at Marvel Studios and Interlochen prepared me really well for the recording session.”

Getting the ‘dream job’

For Wren, being cast in Echo was more than an auspicious start to her professional acting career: It was an opportunity to be part of a particularly meaningful project.

Echo follows Maya Lopez—a deaf Native American woman with photographic reflexes—as she returns to her Oklahoma hometown. The series emphasizes Lopez’s emotional journey of reconnecting with her Choctaw heritage and features many Native American and First Nations actors.

Wren, who is a member of the Wisconsin-based Sokaogon Chippewa Community, was invited to audition for an undisclosed television series after casting directors discovered a video of her speaking in the Anishinaabemowin language on YouTube. She didn’t learn that the series was Echo until after the production had wrapped.

“It’s the best feeling in the world when you audition and get to be a part of ‘show biz magic,’ but when I finally found out the project was Echo, I was even more excited,” Wren said. “I’m Native American, so being part of a Marvel TV series about a Native American superhero is pretty much a dream job.”

Recording lines beneath the pines

Wren Gotts in the Music Center's recording studio

Wren Gotts records a line during the July 13, 2023 recording session.

After filming for Echo in Georgia, Wren returned home to northern Michigan. But it wasn’t time to close the book on Echo just yet.

During the summer of 2023, Wren was asked to record several dialogue pick-ups for the series. Wren’s mother, Rebecca, reached out to Interlochen Director of Music Production & Engineering Marc Lacuesta about the possibility of recording at Interlochen.

“Wren’s mom called me and said, ‘Is there any way that you could record some lines?’” Lacuesta said. “I said, ‘Absolutely.’”

Lacuesta collaborated with assistant engineer Nathan Daywalt to arrange a session in the Music Center studios. Members of the Marvel Studios and Skywalker Sound teams joined the session remotely via Zoom and a high-definition audio service.

“It was great to be able to connect with the Marvel producers and Skywalker Sound techs and see how they work,” Lacuesta said.

Later in the summer, while Wren was attending the Young Actor’s Workshop at Interlochen Arts Camp, Lacuesta received a second—more urgent—call from Marvel.

“They said, ‘The actors are going on strike at midnight tonight, and we need to record a bunch of lines before the strike begins. We know Wren is at Camp; could you pull her out to record the pickups?’” Lacuesta said. “I called [Dean of Camp] Jennifer Wesling, and she made all the arrangements to allow Wren to be absent from her cabin for the night. We were able to get a bunch of lines done before midnight.”

For Lacuesta—who built a thriving career as a music producer and audio engineer in Nashville before relocating to northern Michigan to establish Interlochen’s Music Production & Engineering program—working on Echo was an affirmation that amazing professional opportunities can be found beyond the nation’s leading creative hotbeds.

“I thought I wouldn’t get as many calls like this because Traverse City is so small, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Lacuesta said. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve worked on two pretty big video games, a series for HBO Max, and more.”

“I’ve done stuff for TV before, but never anything for Marvel. It’s pretty cool to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Embracing friendship and opportunity

Wren Gotts with Darnell Besaw (young Maya Lopez) at the Echo premiere

Wren Gotts (right) with Darnell Besaw (young Maya Lopez, left) at the Echo premiere event.

Since appearing in Echo, Wren’s star is rising: She appeared as Ruby in the short film “The 9th Inning” and is currently auditioning for future projects. She also had the opportunity to attend the Echo premiere event at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, California on Jan. 9.

“I had never seen any of the final footage or audio before the launch event; it was super fun seeing all the cast in person then on the big screen,” Wren said. “I was so happy for Alaqua Cox, and was excited to see her kick butt as Echo. She’s who the series is about, and my favorite superhero/antihero.”

Closer to home, Wren is looking forward to her second summer at Interlochen Arts Camp. She’s especially excited to meet other young artists and develop new friendships.

“I love art, acting, and my instructors at Interlochen, but life is so much better the more friends you make,” Wren said. “At Interlochen, I made friends from around the world and got to know them better because we get to do everything together at Camp. We got to sing, dance and laugh together every day.”