At just 18, Bella Thorne is already a consummate professional. She's been on a hit Disney TV show (alongside our former cover girl Zendaya), released her own original music, and embarked on an already promising film career with teen comedy The Duff and the upcoming Amityville: The Awakening. And that doesn't even count the eight different projects she has in development right now.
We met up with Thorne in Austin, as she made the SXSW rounds to promote her movie Shovel Buddies. In the film Bella plays Kate, a teen girl who recently lost her brother Sammy to leukemia. She's the object of affection of Jimmy (Alex Neustaedter), Sammy's best friend, who is hell-bent on ensuring that Sammy's final wish (sent via SnapChat) of being buried in his favorite football jersey happens. She gets wrapped up in Jimmy's scheming and ends up being the voice of reason amongst the group of mourning bros.
But Thorne has more to talk about than just Shovel Buddies. We chatted her up about what's next, her work behind the camera, and that Kim Kardashian selfie.
This movie is pretty dark—a step away from Disney—so how did you end up getting involved?
I read the script and I was like, "Wow, this writing really sounds like teenagers." It's so rare you find that—in a lot of movies that deal with teenagers, they have to make them seem really young. Like, "teenagers are so simple-minded." And I'm like, "What teenager are you talking about?" I was like "Finally, a film that really shows the dark side of teenagers that most people aren't willing to open their eyes to."
I felt like your character is the common sense of the movie—she called out everyone. Was that written into the movie?
It was, but when we all got there, everybody took their roles. And everyone kept saying that I was the most manly of the bunch. So I sort of felt, not like the leader of the group, but—
You have the experience.
I felt like that natural instinct. When we got on set, the directors sort of felt that natural, she's done this before. So I thought that was really smart to fit into the character, and I also think it's good because she's a woman. You don't really see that often, and we have a male writer, and usually male writers are not about female empowerment.
What was it like shifting from big productions to something small like Shovel Buddies?
I actually prefer working on indies. With indie projects, especially working with Awesomeness, I can like call Matt [Kaplan] up, and be like, "Matt, what is this scene? What is this poster?" In one of the posters they had me in heels. And I'm looking at this poster and I call up Matt like, "Number one, my character doesn't wear heels, she wouldn't, and number two, these aren't my feet. And that toe nail polish looks ratchet as AF." So there's like certain things that might be really simple and small, but they're like huge for the character. When you're working with a bigger studio it's a little bit harder to get that across, whereas indies and low budgets, it's kind of like more of a real group effort to make these characters, and I really love that.
You already sound like a director. Are you trying to move towards that in the future?
Oh yeah, I'm all about that life. I want to write and direct—those are my main two things. But I really like cinematography and that kind of stuff too. I'm never in my trailers. I could give two fucks about what my trailer looks like because I'm never there. Even if I'm not in a scene I'm behind the camera. So many of my directors are like, "Bella, who's the director here?"
That's good to hear. We need more women creating stuff.
It's really rare. Usually, it's a male director.
Yes! I was so mad that people were so up in arms about the picture she took.
Girl's got a good body. You know she be working for it. Let her show it off. I just was like, there's like a two-sided thing about feminism. I'm a feminist, but yet—some feminists, like, hate men. And they also will trash a woman, real quick, which to me, is not feminism at all. If you're trashing a woman, then you're literally doing what every man would be doing. So when I saw that photo, and I saw all these people tweeting about it, and all these mean tweets going out, my point really was just that: Why are you telling her what she can and cannot wear? I'm not going to tell her, you're not going to tell her. Only she can tell herself, just let her do what she wants, people. Who cares? All that stuff is for press. You tweeting at her, all this mean shit, do you really think she's going to listen to you and be like, "Oh, maybe I shouldn't post a nude photo" No! That's only going to make her do it more! You're only like encouraging the situation. You guys are just a total double standard. The whole thing is a joke.
And it's frustrating when women aren't on each other's side—like this weekend you had Julie Klausner tweeting at Zendaya that she's too skinny.
"This girl's too fat, she's too ugly. She needs a nose job." Like, holy shit. Girls doing it to other girls is just mean. Just regular girls too—not even famous people. Girls will comment on my Instagram like, "You need a nose job." Why would you say that? Why is that necessary?
That's why your response was so great, and super refreshing to hear, because I feel like we need to see more young women who are working in the industry who are can be like, "Hey, this isn't cool."
Who cares if Zendaya is skinny. Oh my god! The girl is skinny! Okay. And? And? So what?
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