Bella Thorne knows something about fame. She got her start at a very early age, appearing in a number of TV shows and movies that made her a standout teen actress. Now, she returns in the crime thriller Infamous, starring as Arielle, a young woman whose thirsty for social media attention drives her to commit heinous acts as she goes on a crime spree across the country with her lover Dean, played by up and coming standout Jake Manley.
We recently caught up with Bella Thorne to discuss Infamous, which is streaming now on digital and VOD platforms. It’s the perfect summer movie if you’re looking for action, violence, humor, and a good old fashion heist. It’s cool, sexy and smart. We also got Jake Manley on the line, to discuss his part in this madness. About the movie’s intentions, Bella Thorne tells us the message behind this story of two lovers gone wild.
“The main message to the movie is, what line are we willing to cross as human beings? And you really don’t know that line. The more and more social media grows, it seems that the line is getting thinner and thinner.”
Bella Throne and Jake Manley took us through some of the intricacies of this thriller. The meaning behind Arielle’s name was a topic of discussion. Is this a true Mermaid allegory that sees a young woman searching for her human legs through social media as she lures a man too his death? We also look at the unique and artistic way the cinematography and action choreography tell the story. We also take a deep dive into what it means to be Internet famous.
There is a throwaway line in this movie about Arielle’s name and how it relates to The Little Mermaid. The movie is kind of a mermaid allegory. If you know the mythology behind mermaids. Because she pulled this guy in, she’s kind of the culprit of it. Fame gives her human legs to walk. And then at the end of the day, she has lured Dean into his death. Do you look at it like that? You had Romeo Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio, where it’s really hard core and changes the story for modern audiences. This appears to very much be a little mermaid type tale.
Bella Thorne: Very interesting. I really like a that comparison. Very cool.
Do you view the movie that way? Did you pull that back from underneath the story after you watched it? Or is that all happenstance due to the fact that she is named Arielle?
Bella Thorne: Um, no. We wanted the reference because Arielle, as a character, not just the name, is almost too specific, neurotic, anal. She wants it her way, even down to the way her name is said. And that’s driven her crazy her whole life. That she’s always compared to this thing on a screen that is never attainable to he. And maybe growing up, watching that movie so many times, where so many people are referencing it, she didn’t realize, as she goes through time, that her story does really reflect The Little Mermaid. Because, you know, it’s kind of something that you’re watching. You have no idea that…What is that word that I’m looking for? When you’re doing something, but you don’t know that actually comes, because you’ve watched something in the past. It’s definitely a subconscious saying, but there’s an actual…There’s an actual term for it, when that happens. But, um…I think that we just wanted Arielle to be such a an anal type of person. When you meet her from the beginning. She’s like, Hey, don’t get this shit wrong. I’m gonna fucking tell you the way it is. And if you don’t get it right or understand what I’m saying right now, I’m leaving this conversation. That’s kind of what she’s also saying to the audience, is like, ‘Hey, by the way, guys just know this is me as a person and I’m setting the tone for the rest of the movie for my character.’ This is me all in one little like paragraph.
This movie has some really great, unique choreography and cinematography in it. Pointing to one scene early on, Aerial comes out of the Diner, and she’s talking to her friends. And she flicks a cigarette at the wall. It’s such a great moment, especially the way it’s shot. That’s a little bit perfect. Then when she shoots the guy in the head at the bank, and the blood sprays out. It’s the exact same shot-for-shot as where she flicks the cigarette. Its a very cool callback. But it’s also a little sneaky. Blink and you’ll miss it. For both of you, how did you goes go through and work on these action scenes?
Bella Thorne: [Joshua Caldwell the director] is amazing. They were great collaborators. Josh also had a lot of fun holding the camera and letting us, you know, go. And you did the same…When you start working with somebody that’s holding the camera, you start to learn their ways, their movements, and they’re kind of fitting around you for what you’re doing. So if you have a connection with the person who’s holding the camera, then you guys are on this rhythm. You’re on this path, and you’re able to capture what you both want to capture because you’re in unison with one another. And I think that was one of the main keys of the movie. Is that me? Jake, Ive and Josh were also in unison with camera and elements to the story that it made it almost, you know, it made it really work. You were able to really capture these pieces, and we did a lot of winners. So many scenes, even the way that the movie is cut. I will say a lot of those scenes. It’s actually a oner. And until the last edit, it was not a oner, to just trim a few seconds because of space time. But there’s so many oners in the fucking movie. And if you think about it, were, you know, there is no cut. There really is not. So we’re having to get it perfect with them. Me and Jake are having to be completely in unison, as well as in unison with these two people that are holding the camera. And that is like…Yeah, it’s making magic when you can get it right. And luckily way were able to capture those moments and get it right.
I like a lot of the scenes where you’re just pointing the gun at the camera. There are some really unique shots in this movie, but I want to go to the gun. I thought that was a really genuine reaction when you shot the gun for the first time. Was that in the script? Was that your genuine reaction to shooting the gun? Because I’ve seen people shoot guns than have that reaction. But sometimes in a movie, when you’re watching it, the cool girl is supposed to be, like, cool and she shoots the gun. She just be like, you know, gives, like, a cool look back to the camera. And we don’t get that here. We get, like, a genuine surprise and laugh that feels very natural and real.
Bella Thorne: Yeah, I think that that was an interesting conversation with me and Josh, right. Because we didn’t…In this movie we wanted to play against, you know, kind of a lot of character stereotypes. I thought that that was a big theme that both Jake and I really did in the movie where, it was obvious. There’s an obvious choice here. So we specifically went kind of in a different direction. Because we’re trying to make these characters really dynamic and really, really intriguing and…Kind of like, you might know that person. If you were able to experience life you know, you might meet this person along the ride. I think that, obviously the moment’s in the script. Yeah, it’s in the script. My character’s like, ‘No, we need to fucking go to get the car. Now.’ And then the rest was kind of just, letting it play. One of the things that I really liked as far as a choice was the difference between, when he first pulls out the gun. You know, we’re just supposed to, like, go down and it’s a sofa moment. But I really wanted to do this like, ‘Oh, I like, you know, so just like whoa!’ So that when the gun moment happens, and that realism sets in, it’s these very different dynamics, right next to each other. And so that that’s one of my favorite moments is that gun scene.
Jake, going back to you with the Bonnie and Clyde aspect. I know you said that’s just a throwaway line that the media puts in there. But your character really is a different kind of protagonist to what we’ve seen in these types of movies before. Because, I don’t want to say he’s passive, but he’s not like Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers, where he’s kind of the leader. But he he’s trying to go on the right path, and he can’t corral this energy. And it’s interesting to me, to kind of know how you pulled that in, and try to lead. But can’t, because you have something that’s to so hard to pull back.
Jake Manley: Yeah, I just think so much of this is…It really is Ari who is the driver. See? I mean, he is trying to maintain control. He’s trying to get what he wants, but it’s just not happening. And I think I just wanted to I want Dean to, like, support this character. Like, I wanted him to almost not be passive. But like, he’s willing to do what she wants, because, like he’s…He’s getting enamored by her. He’s fascinated by her, and he thinks that he can convince her to be, like, different. And can I think that’s like a classic tale of a lot of people in relationships, that they think things are gonna change, and they think that they could convince someone to do something. And there’s this realization. But, um…This story was always about being told from Ari’s perspective. And it’s not Dean’s perspective. It’s not his story. So I just… What do you want Dean to be like? I want Dean to be like, reserved, full back and he lets the space be larger, so that Arielle stands out more because, like, if Dean was too crazy, it just wouldn’t work. They’d be too similar. But I wanted to be pushing this whole contrast between the two. Josh was great at, like, [a modern narrative]. That, and when you talk about it all the time, and I think everyone just kind of knew their place. Like Bella said, when she got into it, she, like…She laid down the law right at the beginning. And so he’s just there, kind of with a fascination in watching someone like that, right? You just go. Wow, this is so interesting. I think that this character was…You know…He had that as much as It was like the downfalls, um, times he was just like, I can’t cannot watch it happening.
In terms of acting to a camera on a phone. While you’re also acting in front of the whole crew. It has to be a different thing, when you’re doing this part. You are acting into a phone. But you also have this whole other crew actually filming it over here. You’re doing two jobs at once. And then for Dean to watch Bella transform into Arielle during those moments, and see that, and how you kind of put that into your own performance. Watching her act against the camera on the phone, more so than the camera, that’s, you know, enhancing the director.
Jake Manley: Bell was doing all the work. I’m just kind of watching and reacting and just like, she’s the one that’s doing the heavy lifting. But again, I think that’s an amazing asset. She brings that to the film, and she’ll she’ll talk more about that. But yeah.
Bella Thorne: Jake really brought it together, though. One way, when we do the scene where he’s filming me on the phone. I am doing the weed robbery, with one long shot, one long take. You know that one? I actually just posted the clip of the actual iPhone itself on my instagram, because it’s really…There is a realism aspect to watching it, just on an iPhone. It is like, one of the best parts, because it really brings you into the moment. I could totally see this in my news feed. And that’s the scariest part.
So you put that on your actual Instagram you after you shot it?
Bella Thorne: Yeah, I just put it up. It’s literally put it up there. Today I put up the video of the actual iPhone. We also wanted ideas for marketing. To use one of the other iPhones of footages. Well, one of our trailers is just the iPhone footage. So that, you know, people thought…’Whoa, what is happening right now?’ You know? ‘What am I watching? Wait, hold on.’ We wanted to play with the idea of, ‘What if we made our instagram part of it. And, you know, we kind of started this actual thing? But we did not.
Right now, it’s more than probable. It is one of the most realistic things you could imagine. Everything that happens in this movie. I mean, it’s not really the fantasy element of it anymore. That is kind of taken out of it. You know what I mean? Everything that’s goin on in the world? You could totally see everything that happens in this movie actually happening in the real world right now.
Bella Thorne: One of the cool parts as well, speaking on that thing you said to Jake earlier, you know? Jake was really quick to see that it’s kind of from Ari’s perspective. I think that’s a huge theme in the movie. I think one of the smartest things is…Arielle told Jake, basically to calm the fuck down. Like, ‘I’m not gonna get us caught.’ And then after that, there’s, you know, this chunk of space that you must imagine. There is time there. But in Ari’s head it’s one after another. Because the next important event in her life for her was when Jake is like, ‘OK, baby.’ And he holds the camera, takes it from her ,and it’s like, ‘All right, I’ll do the honest thing,’ And he does it. Technically, we would have seen Dean, if we were really playing in an actual real time…We would have seen him so many times say no to Arielle? No. And She goes ‘Yes’. And he goes ‘No.’ And I just go. Yes, in so many different scenarios, where I try and pull out my phone…But for Arielle, because it really is in her span of time…Um, the next important moment is, you know, like when Dean is like, ‘No, we can’t fucking do that. You’re you’re crazy.’ And then the next one is when he’s like, ‘Yes, Okay, I’ll do it. I agree.’ I think that was an interesting note that I I hope people also kind of catch when they watch the movie…Is that space of time that is missing. That’s there. Scenario’s memory. That’s just like pulled out, you know, because she doesn’t care about all the times he told her, ‘No.’ She only cares about the one time he was like, ‘Yeah, OK, I’ll do it’.
Infamous is available to rent on Digital and VOD right now. It is also playing at various Drive-Ins this weekend, such as the Mission Tiki in Southern California. You can check out Bella’s Instagram posts for the movie as well.