I was consistently asked what book I would love to adapt into a movie when I worked in film. My response was always Jerry Spinelli’s STARGIRL. It was the perfect coming-of-age story that deserved a big-screen adaptation. Cut to 2020, when the husband (Jordan “LA LA LAND” Horowitz) and wife (Julia Hart) team adapted it for Disney+. It was a heartwarming flawless adaptation of one of the best YA novels I’ve ever read.
Yet, the two didn’t stop there. Loaded up on “Shirly Temples,” the team is back, creating an original movie involving Stargirl (Grace VanderWaal) moving to Hollywood to find her “home.” It’s tough to find entertaining wholesome family films. Most recently, Disney+ brought audiences BETTER NATE THAN EVER, and they continue their winning streak with HOLLYWOOD STARGIRL.
The theme of following your dreams is enough to make anyone swoon, yet it’s Grace VanderWaal that audiences will quickly fall in love with. She’s the “Love and Mercy” that makes the STARGIRL movies worthy of viewing. Outside of VanderWaal, it was wonderful seeing Hollywood royalty like Judd Hirsh as the grumpy old neighbor and Uma Thurman as the 90s LA-based singer in supporting roles.
Both STARGIRL books captured her changing the people around her more than Stargirl having an actual protagonist arc with growth. I loved that in HOLLYWOOD STARGIRL, the creators turned her into a real lead that also changes by the film’s end.
Here’s to Disney+ taking another trip down “Miracle Mile” and starting an SCU (STARGIRL Cinematic Universe). Based on the first two films, there’s no stopping where her story goes next.
HOLLYWOOD STARGIRL is available on Disney+.