Meet John Apolinar: The Actor Representing for Mexican-Americans On Disney+

John Apolinar BELatina Latinx Stargirl
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Son of a Mexican father and a Caucasian mother, actor John Apolinar is making sure to be a good representative for Mexican-Americans in Stargirl, a comedy-drama that premieres on Friday the 13th and is available to stream on Disney+.

The film, based on the novel Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, was directed by Julia Hart, produced by Kristin Hahn, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Lee Stollman, and Jordan Horowitz, and stars Grace VanderWaal, Graham Verchere, Giancarlo Esposito, Karan Brar, Darby Stanchfield, Maximiliano Hernández — and of course John Apolinar. The film tells the story of a shy teen who is trying to blend in with others at Mica High School in Arizona and falls in love with a colorful and unique new classmate Susan “Stargirl” Caraway.

In the movie, Apolinar plays the role of Wayne, a cool, popular, and handsome kid. “Wayne is like the quote-unquote popular and cool kid of the high school,” said the actor to BELatina. “And he really serves as the symbol for conformity because a lot of the student body find themselves following what Wayne is doing without really thinking of it and giving up their identity and their individuality to do so. So he kind of serves as that symbol of everyone conforming to high school like a soulful standard.”

Some actors find similarities between their character and their real life, and for this rising star, this role wasn’t an exception. “I think there’s certain elements that I can definitely relate with,” he revealed. “I know when I was in high school, there was that pressure that you need to kind of like fit in and not be too awkward or too much of an individual,” he recalls, adding that he can “definitely relate with him on that level.”

The actor also shared his overall reaction to the drama describing it as a very charming film. “It just had a lot of charm to it. A lot of really real moments,” said Apolinar. “It was just a really cool experience and a really cool story to be a part of.” As he said, being part of Stargirl was a great experience but also demanded preparation. “I read the script back to back, a good amount of times I would say — like at least four to five times before we even started filming,” he revealed. “I also bought the book and that helped me kind of like piece together, [and follow] the direction that I was going to take the character in.”

Many fans don’t know that John Apolinar comes from a military family, including his mother and cousins, who served in several branches of the military forces of the United States of America. Growing up in this environment made Apolinar think that this might also be his true call. “There was a point where I almost did join the military,” he said. “And it kind of came down to my older brother really asking the question of why I wanted to join in.” The actor told BELatina that his brother encouraged him to follow his dreams. “[He said], ‘If you have these dreams, the military can be hard to make them come true,'” words that Apolinar needed to finally make a decision. “I kind of just leaned on their guidance; thankfully they were brutally honest with me in and steered me away from going into the military,” said the actor, adding that he “thinks it’s a great profession” but his family let him know that he didn’t need to follow their footsteps and were supportive. “I got lucky my dad actually was really supportive,” he said. “Both my parents, my dad, and my mom, they were really supportive of me chasing my dreams. They see how much joy… and how passionate I was about it.”

The star also took the opportunity to invite all of our readers to enjoy the movie and his character. “There are so many really great elements, and certainly a few life stories around love and individuality. Stargirl is definitely going to be an experience to do that. So, I would hope that you stream it on Disney+ when it releases on Friday, March 13.”