Netflix has cast actor-dancer-model Ava Michelle to star in Tall Girl, its upcoming original high school comedy movie being directed by Nzingha Stewart. The newcomer leads a cast that includes Griffin Gluck (American Vandal), Luke Eisner (The Goldbergs) and Sabrina Carpenter (The Hate U Give) along with Steve Zahn and Angela Kinsey.
Shooting is underway in New Orleans after an open search was conducted last fall for a lead actress 5-foot-10 or taller and between the ages of 13-21. They eventually landed on Michelle, who is 6-foot-1, to make her feature film debut playing Jodi, the tallest girl in her school who has never quite felt comfortable in her own statuesque skin.
All of that changes when she falls for the handsome (and equally tall) foreign exchange student Stig (Eisner) who, of course, gets Jodi’s quirky, best, male friend Dunkleman (Gluck) and his hippie mom as a host family. As a result, Jodi is embroiled in a surprising love triangle, which helps her realize she’s far more than her insecurities about her height have led her to believe, and that she must embrace what makes her different and be proud to stand out, not fit in.
Carpenter plays Harper, Jodi’s beautiful and melodramatic pageant-winning older sister, and Zahn (Valley of the Boom) and Kinsey (The Office) play their parents.
Rounding out the cast is Paris Berelc (Alexa & Katie) as Liz, the unconventional best friend of Jodi’s tormentor; Anjelika Washington (Stargirl) as Fareeda, Jodi’s best friend who seems to have it all figured out; Clara Wilsey as Kimmy, the most popular girl at school and Jodi’s nemesis; and Rico Paris as Schnipper, a popular jerk and one of Jodi’s regular tormentors. (Check out the first cast photo below.)
Sam Wolfson (Andi Mack, Finding Carter) penned the script for the pic, produced by Wonderland’s McG and Mary Viola. Wonderland’s Corey Marsh also serves as a producer.
“It was essential for us to find an actor to portray our lead who can speak to the challenges and lessons that Jodi experiences from a very personal place of authenticity,” said Stewart (Grey’s Anatomy, A Million Little Things) about Michelle. “Ava’s ability to beautifully and uniquely showcase those attributes stood out to us in a way that we believe audiences will connect with. Tall Girl showcases that embracing the very qualities that make you different is what allows you to overcome anything.”
Netflix has seen strong showings from original adaptations of YA books, with recent pics To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Kissing Booth scoring high marks; in a rare peek under the hood, the streaming service said half of all viewers who watched To All the Boys and fellow teen pic Kissing Booth rewatched them at least once.
To All The Boys is now getting a sequel with returning stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo. Another YA pic, Let It Snow, based on John Green’s novel, is also in the works toplined by Kiernan Shipka, Isabela Moner, Shameik Moore and Odeya Rush.
Carpenter is repped by Paradigm, Foundation Media Partners, Faculty, Shemarya and SGSB&C, LLP. Gluck is repped by Leslie Allan-Rice Management, Paradigm and Stewart Brookman at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller. Eisner is repped by Hyperion and Michael Wallach Management.
Here’s the photo: