The Cast of 'The Lizzie McGuire Movie,' Then and Now

8:30 AM 5/2/2018

by Charlotte Scott

The Hilary Duff starrer, a big-screen adaptation of the Disney Channel series, was released 15 years ago.

The Disney Channel show Lizzie McGuire was so successful that Walt Disney Pictures turned it into a feature film, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, which hit theaters May 2, 2003.

Asked about the milestone anniversary, star Hilary Duff told The Hollywood Reporter: "Oh my gosh. Has it been 15 years? Don't tell me that!"

The movie follows a group of soon-to-be high schoolers who travel to Rome with their new principal, Ms. Ungermeyer. When the class visits the Trevi Fountain, an Italian pop star named Paolo mistakes Lizzie (Duff) for his singing partner and ex-girlfriend, Isabella. When Paolo finds out that Isabella left Italy when they broke up, he asks Lizzie to pose as her during the Italian Music Awards and lip-sync a performance. From there, a series of adventures ensue until (spoiler alert!) Lizzie and friends get their happy ending.

"That was a hard shoot," Duff said. "We were in Italy for a portion of it and no one spoke English. The crew would go and drink wine in the afternoon and then come back to work and no one would finish the work day. It was insane! It was so different than filming the show in America."

Duff also reminisced about her favorite part of filming.

"It was really fun to be on the catwalk and change clothes a bunch of times and be in a bubble-wrap dress," she added. "The back of the Vespa was a really important moment for me."

The series, which premiered in 2001, went on to air new episodes through 2004. Read on to see what the cast has been up to in the years since.

  • Hilary Duff

    Lizzie/Isabella

    Left, Photofest; Right, Tiffany Rose/Getty Images

    Duff became a star when she was cast as the title character in Lizzie McGuire, earning a Teen Choice Award along with Kids' Choice Awards nominations for the role. Duff’s success in the show and The Lizzie McGuire Movie subsequently launched her singing career. In 2003, she released two singles that topped music charts, "So Yesterday" and "Come Clean," and eventually an entire pop album, Metamorphosis.”Duff has also starred in Cadet Kelly (2002), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) and A Cinderella Story (2004). Additionally, she had a recurring role in the show Gossip Girl, alongside Blake Lively and Leighton Meester. She currently stars on TV Land's Younger, which has its fifth-season premiere in June. She's earned two People's Choice Award nominations for her role as an ambitious book editor who befriends Liza (Sutton Foster), a fortysomething divorced mother who is passing herself off to her new colleagues as being in her twenties.

     
  • Adam Lamberg

    Gordo

    Left, Photofest; Right, Amy Graves/Getty Images

    Before The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Lamberg starred in Radiant City (1996) and Lonesome (2001). He was Lizzie’s best friend in Lizzie McGuire and played the same role in the spinoff movie. In The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Gordo is upset when he realizes that Lizzie has feelings for Paolo. But once Gordo takes the blame for sneaking out and saves Lizzie from being humiliated on stage, Lizzie recognizes how great he is. After The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Lamberg went on to play Lionel in When Do We Eat? (2005) and Reggie in Beautiful Loser (2008). He hasn’t acted since. Lamberg went to the University of California, Berkeley and received a degree in geology and currently works in New York as developmental associate at the Irish Arts Center, according to MTV.

  • Alex Borstein

    Ms. Ungermeyer

    Left, Photofest; Right, Steve Zak Photography/Getty Images

    The Lizzie McGuire Movie was one of Borstein’s first acting roles. She played the high school principal, Ms. Ungermeyer, who was responsible for Lizzie, Gordo and their classmates during their trip to Rome after their middle-school graduation. Borstein went on to play Sally in Catwoman (2004), Natalie in Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) and Millie in A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014). The Screen Actors Guild also nominated the cast of Good Night, and Good Luck for best performance by a cast in a motion picture. Bornstein has also starred in several hit shows, such as Gilmore Girls, Friends, Shameless and currently The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

  • Hallie Todd

    Jo

    Left, Photofest; Right, Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

    Todd played Jo McGuire, Lizzie’s mother, in The Lizzie McGuire Movie. When Lizzie’s little brother, Matt, finds pictures of Lizzie impersonating Isabella online, he tells his parents and they fly to Rome to bring her home. The family gets to the Italian Music Awards with Ms. Ungermeyer and the rest of the class just in time to see Lizzie sing "What Dreams Are Made Of." Since her time as Jo on Lizzie McGuire, Todd starred in The Mooring (2012), Lea to the Rescue (2016) and several shows. She also wrote two books, Being Young Actors and Parenting the Young Actor, and opened a production company with her husband, Glenn Withrow, and daughter, Ivy Withrow, called In House Media.

  • Robert Carradine

    Sam

    Left, Photofest; Right, Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

    Carradine played Lizzie and Matt’s father. Before The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Carradine had a prolific acting career that began in 1971 with the show Bonanza. One of his greatest professional successes was his role as Lewis Skolnick in Revenge of the Nerds (1984). He is still active in the film community as an actor and producer. In 2017, Carradine produced Solitary Confinement, played Stratton Collins in the film Justice, played Anthony in A Fish Tale and played Judge Roth in Mommy, I Didn’t Do It.

  • Jake Thomas

    Matt

    Left, Photofest; Right, Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

    Thomas was a main character in the Lizzie McGuire show and movie. He played Matt, Lizzie’s little brother, who discovered that she was pretending to be an international pop star when he was surfing the web. Before starring in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, in 2002, Thomas won a Young Artist Award for his role in A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001). Thomas has also been seen in Cory in the House, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY, Criminal Minds and NCIS. In 2014, he played a character in the YouTube show Storytellers.

  • Ashlie Brillault

    Kate

    Left, Photofest; Right, Mark Sullivan/Getty Images

    Besides appearing in one episode of One on One in 2003, Brillault stopped acting after her reign as Lizzie McGuire’s ex-best friend. Fans may remember her for one of her lines from the movie: “I’d eat carbs if an Italian boy bought them for me.” According to MTV, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in political science at California State University, and later a J.D. at the University of Denver.

  • Clayton Snyder

    Ethan Craft

    Left, Photofest; Right, Lilly Lawrence/Getty Images

    Snyder started his acting career with lead roles in his elementary school plays at a young age, but his breakout role was that of Ethan in Lizzie McGuire. After filming the movie, Snyder decided to focus on school and sports. He attended Pepperdine University on a water polo scholarship and graduated with honors with a B.A. in film studies. After graduation, he made the USA National Water Polo Team and played in Europe for several seasons. Snyder continues to act in TV shows and film shorts, and he still plays water polo for the International Water Polo Club in Los Alamitos, Calif.

  • Yani Gellman

    Paolo

    Left, Photofest; Right, Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

    Before The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Gellman had various roles in TV series such as Real Kids, Real Adventures (1999), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) and Guinevere Jones (2002). Aside from The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Gellman is known for his roles in Jason X (2001) and 47 Meters Down (2017). He’s had a prolific acting career in TV as well, starring in shows like The Young and the Restless (2008-11), 90210 (2012) and Pretty Little Liars (2011-12).

  • Daniel Escobar

    Mr. Escobar

    Right, courtesy of the Escobar family

    Escobar played a teacher in The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Before appearing in Lizzie McGuire, Escobar acted in three major films that all premiered in 2001, including Fishes, The Mexican and Blow. After his role as Mr. Escobar, he made appearances in Two and a Half Men (2003), Weeds (2009) and How I Met Your Mother (2011). Escobar died in 2013 in Los Angeles.