Like the many binge-watching teens she grew up with, 15-year-old West Park native Isabela Moner watched Gilmore Girls and transported herself to Stars Hollow.
Starting last spring, the Nickelodeon TV star didn’t have to imagine anymore. She landed her first Hollywood film, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, with one of her favorite actresses, Gilmore Girls’ Lauren Graham. “I was very startstruck and nervous when I met her,” laughs Moner. “But she was so nice and talented.”
In the film adaptation of the Middle School books, out Oct. 7, Moner plays Jeanne Galleta, the studious love interest of the main character Rafe Khatchadorian. They team up to plot revenge against their evil killjoy principal. Moner may not be as geeky as the bespectacled Jeanne, but she can relate to the pressure of homework.
“I have to do it when I get home from work, so I don’t get to see people very much,” she says.
Still she’s still overjoyed with her new role. “Even if I’m having a terrible day, the minute they say, ‘action,’ I become a different person,” she says. “Then it becomes a great day.”
She definitely shares a playful nature with her prank-playing character. While filming in Atlanta for four months, Moner let loose in between scenes by perfecting her football spiral in the school’s halls. “We got in trouble a few times,” she laughs.
Fresh to Tinseltown, the actress still has pinch-me moments. Her latest one? Landing her second feature film role as Izabella alongside Josh Duhamel in the new Transformers: The Last Knight set for release in 2017.
“It was the most excited I’ve ever been. I think I just started crying,” says Moner. “[It’s one of] those moments where I’m just completely awestruck of what is actually happening.”