Tara Adams (Debby Ryan) is a shy eighteen-year old senior at Lincoln Bay High School who dreads speaking to anyone in the school hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom, she rocks out as a podcast DJ named "Radio Rebel." Her alter ego gives inspirational messages to her fellow high school students and in turn they become her protégées. Her stepfather, Rob (Martin Cummins), runs SLAM FM, Seattle’s hottest FM radio station. When he finds out that Tara is Radio Rebel while listening to one of her podcasts (at the request of DJ Cami Q (Mercedes de la Zerda)), he decides to let Tara fill in for the open DJ slot at SLAM FM. Keeping her Radio Rebel alter ego a secret, Tara becomes an instant hit because her radio show encourages her classmates to be themselves. She has fun; on one occasion, she hosts a dance party during lunch at her high school where Principal Moreno (Nancy Robertson) has banned her students from listening to Radio Rebel's podcast. However, the principal cannot order DJ Cami Q to leave the campus, since she parked her car on public property (the street) and has the necessary permit. Angrily, Principal Moreno decides to cancel the prom until Radio Rebel reveals her true self. Her fellow students become disillusioned with Radio Rebel and call in her radio show to say that she crushed their dreams. Scared that she disappointed her listeners, Tara and SLAM FM decide to throw the Lincoln Bay students a MORP (PROM spelled backwards). The students nominate and select Radio Rebel for MORP queen and, despite that Principal Moreno will expel her, Tara goes onstage to accept the honor. In order to protect Tara, her best friend Audrey shouts, "I'm Radio Rebel!" Tara's love interest Gavin follows suit and eventually all students continue shouting that they are Radio Rebel until Principal Moreno concedes defeat and storms off. Tara, brimming with confidence now that she has been accepted by the student body, gives her crown to Stacy, a student who has been harassing her throughout the movie and who had wanted badly to be Prom Queen. Previously anti-Radio Rebel, Stacy declares, "I'm Radio Rebel!” The movie concludes with Tara dancing the night away with Gavin, both finally allowed to be themselves.
- Debby Ryan as Tara Adams, a shy schoolgirl who secretly adopts the radio personality Radio Rebel.
- Merritt Patterson as Stacy, the school's queen bee and mean girl who is obsessed with being the Prom Queen.
- Adam DiMarco as Gavin, a member of The G's and Stacy's former prom date who is Tara's love interest.
- Sarena Parmar as Audrey, Tara's best friend who helps hide her secret identity.
- Nancy Robertson as Principal Moreno.
- Allie Bertram as Kim, the Stacy's best friend.
- Mercedes de la Zerda as DJ Cami Q, the popular radio DJ who is Tara's good friend at SLAM FM.
- Atticus Mitchell as Gabe, the extremely ambitious and wannabe rockstar, lead singer of the band The Gs, who doesn't care who Tara is even though she played their CD.
- Martin Cummins as Rob Lynch-Adams, Tara's stepfather who runs SLAM FM.
- April Telek as Delilah Adams, Tara's mother.
- Iain Belcher as Barry, one of Tara's best friends and Larry twin.
- Rowen Kahn as Larry , one of Tara's best friends and Barry twin.
When Shrinking Violet was adapted into a movie, certain elements were altered, including the character Teresa being renamed Tara and her radio personality being changed from Sweet T to Radio Rebel.
The movie was directed by Peter Howitt and was shot in Canada, with principal photography taking place during the summer of 2011 in Vancouver. The script was composed by Erik Patterson and Jessica Scott. Michael Jacobs, Robyn Snyder and MarVista CEO Fernando Szew executive produced the film with Kim Arnott and Oliver De Caigny. "We are confident that 'Radio Rebel' features the same elements that made our first production a huge success including a tight, fast-paced and comedic script and an all-around talented cast, plus several original songs that will be sure to delight teens across the globe," Szew said.
Debby Ryan recorded two songs to promote the film: a cover of The Go-Go's' "We Got the Beat" and a collaboration with Chase Ryan and Chad Hively called "We Ended Right".
The movie was accompanied by a week-long lineup called We Got the Beat Week consisting of new music videos and music-themed Disney Channel series and movies.
Radio Rebel currently has a rating of 6.2 out of 10 on IMDb. It also earned 4.3 million viewers on its premiere night.
Cafepress has released a line of Radio Rebel merchandise, including iPhone cases, tote bags, apparel, and wall hangings.
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