Grace VanderWaal, the ukelele strumming songstress from America’s Got Talent, returns to Disney+ in Hollywood Stargirl. The sequel to 2022’s Stargirl this time focuses directly on the eponymous character and her adventures upon moving to California.
“I feel like after seeing everyone love Stargirl, it really made me appreciate and be honored even more to play her character,” VanderWaal said during the global press conference promoting the film. “I just slowly grow more and more love for her.”
The original film was primarily a jukebox musical, with VanderWall performing covers of songs by The Beach Boys and the Go-Gos, as well as one song she wrote herself. Hollywood Stargirl, however, leans into original songs. (Although you still get a Beach Boys cover in the musical mix.)
Director and screenwriter Julia Hart called on VanderWaal to once again provide music for the film. “The first song for the [first] film wasn’t really a planned thing,” according to VanderWaal. “I just kind of made it and it just reminded me of the movie and I just sent it to Julia.” When it came time to compose an original song specifically for the sequel, however, VanderWaal was nervous. “Oh God, everyone thinks I can do this and I’ve never done it before.”
“I think the only thing I told Grace was I’d like the song to be called ‘Figure it Out,’ and it should be about the creative process,” says Hart. “The movie is so much about the creative process and the people who make the creative process rich and fulfilling.”
With those marching orders, VanderWaal was able to compose the song in just two days with a little help from songwriter Mike Elizondo. VanderWall hopes the song captures the vibe of a “friendship starting to blossom into something more.”
The “Figure It Out” theme carries throughout the movie, a message that VanderWaal hopes young viewers will receive. “I think this is something that we all cope with, just our entire lives, is the fact that life is just entirely out of your control. And you can either be really, really upset with that or just kind of roll with the punches and let opportunities open up around you and take that in.”
“You figure it out as you go,” agrees Hart.
You can catch Grace VanderWaal’s new original song, “Figure It Out,” when Hollywood Stargirl begins streams onto Disney+ on June 3, 2022.
About Hollywood Stargirl
Disney’s “Hollywood Stargirl” is a sequel to the 2020 Disney+ film about free spirit Stargirl Caraway (Grace VanderWaal), a silver-voiced teenager whose simple acts of kindness work magic in the lives of others. The upcoming film follows Stargirl’s journey out of Mica, Arizona and into a bigger world of music, dreams and possibilities. When her mother Ana (Judy Greer) is hired as the costume designer on a movie, they relocate to L.A., where Stargirl quickly becomes involved with an eclectic assortment of characters. They include aspiring filmmaking brothers Evan (Elijah Richardson) and Terrell (Tyrel Jackson Williams); Mr. Mitchell (Judd Hirsch), one of Stargirl’s neighbors; and Roxanne Martel (Uma Thurman), a musician Stargirl admires and encounters on her journey.
Returning as Stargirl, VanderWaal performs the original song “Figure It Out” she wrote for the film. Julia Hart returns to direct. Hart & Jordan Horowitz wrote the original script, based on the original character from Jerry Spinelli’s best-selling book Stargirl. Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner” trilogy), Lee Stollman, p.g.a.(“All Together Now”) and Jordan Horowitz, p.g.a. (“La La Land”) are the producers, with Kristin Hahn, Nathan Kelly and Jerry Spinelli serving as executive producers.