Angelique Jackson “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” creator Tim Federle makes his directorial debut with the film “Better Nate Than Ever,” adapted from his award-winning book by the same name.The story follows 13-year-old Nate (newcomer Rueby Wood), an awkward, aspiring theater kid who can’t land a role in his school play, yet follows his dream from his hometown of Pittsburgh to audition on Broadway.
Lisa Kudrow, Joshua Bassett, Aria Brooks and Broadway legends Michelle Federer and Norbert Leo Butz also star.As the cast and crew gathered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood Tuesday night to celebrate the film’s April 1 launch on Disney Plus, Federle spoke to Variety about the story’s discussion of sexuality, the importance of LGBTQ representation in entertainment and weighed in on the controversy over Disney’s handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. You’ve described this movie as a love letter to kids, and to theater kids in particular.
What were you most excited about when it came to bringing your popular book to life?When I was growing up in the ’80s, and ’90s, I loved movies like “Ferris Bueller” and “Adventures in Babysitting” — these family movie nights.
But what I hadn’t seen is that unapologetic theater kid at the center of it. I know — because I have this series [“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”] on Disney plus — that you reach a big audience.