Stargirl is a young adult novel written by American author Jerry Spinelli and first published in 2000. Stargirl was well received by critics, who praised Stargirl’s character and the novel’s overall message of nonconformity.
Grace VanderWaal makes her film acting debut, during the D23 Expo presentation she promised that her character is “just completely herself,” painting the movie as an inspirational story for young kids. VanderWaal who won American’s Got Talent at 12 years old for playing the ukulele is perfect for this role. Her debut album, Just the Beginning, came out a year later, and then she set off on her first-ever sold-out headline tour. Julia Hart is directing the film from a script she wrote with Jordan Horowitz and Kristin Hahn created the screen adaptation from Spinelli’s award-winning novel.
“Stargirl” from Disney+ is a tender and offbeat coming-of-age story based on the critically-acclaimed, New York Times’ best-selling young adult novel about an unassuming high schooler who finds himself inexplicably drawn to the free-spirited new girl, whose unconventional ways change how they see themselves…and their world.
The story follows Leo Borlock, a kid, who will never stand out. But all that changes when he meets Stargirl Caraway (Grace VanderWaal), a confident and colorful new student with a penchant for the ukulele, who stands out in a crowd. She is kind, finds magic in the mundane and touches the lives of others with the simplest of gestures. Her eccentricities and infectious personality charm Leo and the student body, and she quickly goes from being ignored and ridiculed to accepted and praised, then back again, sending Leo on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Chip and Co. had the opportunity to visit the set of Stargirl back in November 2018 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and chatted with the Cast and Crew. The movie also stars Graham Verchere of “Summer of 84,” “Fargo” (Leo), Karan Brar of “Bunk’d,” “Jessie” (Kevin), Anna Brown (Tess), Collin Blackford (Benny), Juliocesar Chavez of “Kidding,” “Transformers: The Last Knight” (Ferko), Artemis of “Vice Principals,” youtube: ArtemisOfficial (cheerleader Mallory) and Shelby Simmons of “Andi Mack,” “School of Rock” (Hillary). A celebration of individuality, kindness and the power of the human spirit, “Stargirl” is directed by Julia Hart from a screenplay by Kristin Hahn and Julia Hart & Jordan Horowitz based on the novel by Jerry Spinelli.
Graham Verchere who plays Leo, commented that he’s really excited to be a part of a film that was so three dimensional with its characters. It wasn’t just about a happy girl. And she does everything for everyone else and she makes everyone else feel good. These characters feel so much more. You see scenes were struggles like, yeah, I give out so much to other people. But like, I also have really bad days. I also don’t feel amazing sometimes. And we see characters like Leo who are in their own turmoil and they haven’t really talked about it with anyone. And they’re kind of dramatically say suffering in silence, but like their being a teenager. And these are authentic teenage experiences. And that’s what I love most about the script.
Julia has been absolutely amazing. I mean, like, I haven’t really met any directors before, but I don’t think that most of them are like her because she’s really, really cool. And obviously this is all new for me, as this entire thing. And she’s made me feel so comfortable with it. And like, literally, if I thought the line was weird or something like I just I really feel like Star Girl would say that or something. She would literally be like, OK, what do you think it should be added Grace VanderWaal during her interview on set.
Producer Lee Stollman talked about adding music to the movie, and said it was the Director’s idea of her concept to put music into the movie. And so it was more like ok. How would you actually do that? So that was sort of where I was working on. But I think she just wanted to I mean, listen to movies and music in films like the marriage of those two things is pretty exquisite when done.
He went on to say that we knew Grace was just as we’d seen that clip of her. You know, she was 12 when that happened. We haven’t seen a ton of her recently. I just didn’t really know what she was up to. And then, you know, start digging a little bit. And then she came in to audition. It was just one of those things where everything lined up.
We will have more info on Stargirl soon and more interviews with the Cast and Crew.
Stargirl starts streaming on Disney+ on March 13.
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