Philly native, American Idol alum lands title role in Netflix film "Arlo the Alligator Boy"

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- American Idol is down to the top 12 this season and has always found stars and provided them a platform to shine.

This is certainly true for an East Falls native who is now starring in his first featured film, thanks to his incredible work on the show.

23-year-old Michael J. Woodard made it to the top five on American Idol's first season in 2018.

It was his talent, his zest for life, and his contagious enthusiasm that landed him the title role in "Arlo the Alligator Boy," an animated musical now streaming on Netflix.

Arlo is half-human, half-alligator, and on an emotional adventure from his swamp home to New York City to find the father he never knew he had.

"He has to leave a place that he's so familiar with to go to a place that he's unfamiliar with," Woodard said. "That resonates with me because it's like me, leaving Philadelphia to come to Los Angeles in search of my dreams."

Woodard's dreams took flight three years ago on American Idol, but little did he know, Netflix was watching too.

"Do you remember when I first got my Hollywood ticket? I said something like, 'Yes, let's go!'" he said.

From that clip alone, Woodard says they wanted him to portray the part of Arlo.

"I think it's because of the joy that I have and the natural positivity that I carry with me throughout life," he added.

Woodard says Arlo's journey is one that feels good, especially at this moment in society.

"It's about self-discovery, self-love and knowing that it's okay to be different," Woodard said.

'Arlo the Alligator Boy' is streaming on Netflix now, and Woodard says a 20-episode series will follow.
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