Born in Tahlequah, the Lakota Sioux actor grew up on reservations in Montana and Idaho. As a child he dreamed of becoming a photographer but eventually moved to New York City to pursue acting. After doing some theater work, he was discovered by TV and film casting director Rene Haynes, who cast American Indian actors to play the “New Moon” werewolves.
Alpha wolf in 'Twilight' blockbuster has Poplar roots
By Elizabeth L. Harrison
"Rene Haynes was there, and she said, 'That kid has some real talent,'" Jan said. "And I kinda always knew, because he's so determined."
"She's altered my life," Chaske said about Haynes, a graduate of C.M. Russell High School.
Haynes said Chaske was a latecomer in the auditioning process. Just before they made their final casting decision, Chaske's parents' friend Bob Hickswas talking with Haynes and mentioned Chaske.
At the time, the actor did not have an agent, so he had not been submitted for the film. Haynes got in touch with him and had him overnight a videotaped audition.
"It really was one of those 'stop the presses' moments. As I said, we were about to cast someone else—but when we got to Chaske's tape that all changed," she said. "He had the ideal look, and he was an excellent, skillful actor."
For more on the subject, see Quileute Werewolves in Twilight.