You might know teen up-and-comer Bella Thorne from Sandler/Barrymore vehicle Blended, Shake it Up! or Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. In her new movie The DUFF she stars as high school baddie Madison, nemesis of Bianca (Mae Whitman ? Scott Pilgrim vs. the World).
The DUFF is a hilarious and unique look at high school hierarchy, based on the best-selling novel by Kody Keplinger and directed by Ari Sandel. D.U.F.F. Stands for ?designated ugly, fat friend? and when poor Bianca finds herself unfairly tagged with this label, she seeks to shed it and to put the boot into her school?s power structure.
The DUFF is released in the UK on the 6th of April, and while the film?s mean girl, Bella Thorne, was in town, myself and some fellow journos sat down to ask her some questions in a round table format.
When I took my turn to talk to Bella I found that my questions about The DUFF itself had already been covered, so I instead took the opportunity to quiz her about her two upcoming horror projects: Amityville: The Awakening, the new Amityville movie directed by Franck Khalfoun (Maniac); and the impending Scream TV show.
What attracted you to the part then?
I read for the role of Bianca, because that was the character that I liked. Um, and um, then um, Ari told me that I wasn?t going to be Bianca. That I? that he wanted me to look at another role, and I did, I looked at Madison aaand Madison was not my favourite character, but I really wanted to be a part of the film, so I said ?yeah?.
What was it that you responded to in the script?
The comedy. Definitely the comedy. I really liked the message behind it, I think it?s very interesting that everybody gets put in a box, and you?ll always be labelled your whole life, and it?s kinda your job to climb out of that box and prove to people that you can be more than that.
The DUFF is based on a novel. Did you ever read the book, because your character?s not in it, so how did you approach that?
Nope! My characters not in it! So, um, I didn?t read the book actually? That doesn?t sound great! I? There wasn?t that much to, like, overly prepare for. I watched Jawbreaker, I thought that my character was going to be most like Rose McGowan in Jawbreaker than any other mean girl that you?ve seen before. A lot of the mean girls are the blonde, with the big boobs and ditzy, and my character is not like that at all. It was very, very downplayed, and even before filming, I was like, ?I?ve already played a mean girl and done that kind of valley girl kind of thing, and I can?t play another mean girl that?s the same role that I?ve already done.?
So we made sure that in the movie it was the complete opposite. I?m not in skirts and too much make-up, I?m literally in black jeans and a tank top, with a leather jacket, the whole movie, and boots, and my attitude is very much not like ?Oh, in your face! Oh my God! OMG!? Like? I?m not mean behind your back ? I?m just mean the whole time![laughter]
There?s a lot of interesting costuming in the film. How did you go about creating different looks for the characters?
I talked to Ari, and was like, ?What are we going to make this character?? I remember when I went in with Ari, and I was like, ?I?m going to play her completely hard, cold, shut off?, and he was like, ?No-one has ever played Madison like that?.
We talked a little bit about wardrobe, and when I walked in I was wearing my everyday outfit, which is literally my All Saints black leather jacket, with a t-shirt underneath ? usually it?s a white t-shirt, sometimes it?s a Marvel comic-book t-shirt ? black, ripped jeans, and boots. That?s all I wear, every single day.
He actually came to set when I was on Amityville Horror, and so I had blood all over my face, blood all over me, I had like deep? cos my character?s goth in Amityville, so I had like black, deep eye make-up on, and my hair?s all stuck to my face with all the blood, and he literally walked in and was like, ?I literally think this works! I think this would work for your [DUFF] character?, and I was like ?You?re kidding, right?!?, and he was like, ?I?m not even kidding. Besides the blood, everything else is pretty much? I can see her like this now. I didn?t before and now I do?.
Did you draw on your own high school experience for the film?
Er, I?m still in high school! I haven?t gone to high school, I?ve been on home school since third grade. So I couldn?t really give you an answer to that.
NOTE: Phew! I?d have wasted a question on that. Close call.
Have you had to experience high school through shooting high school movies, in a way?
Yes. Definitely. Every time I?m in a film where I am in high school I just wanna touch those lockers! Ooh, those lockers with a padlock and a combination? Ooh, it?s good![laughter]
I get very, very excited when I have to shoot scenes around lockers.
Did you watch any high school movies in preparation, and do you have a favourite?
NOTE: That was my other one. Never mind. Obvious question anyway. Now I?m free to ask her horror stuff, we?ve talked loads about The Duff, so it won?t seem rude, and she brought up Amityville herself just now anyway. Any moment now, Al, get stuck in.
Jawbreaker. That?s one of my favourites. Heathers, I don?t know how you could not love Heathers, and I think my character?s not like one of the Heathers, because she?s a bit more like a Regina George II [Mean Girls] character. I love all the John Hughes movies, She?s All That, all those are good, but mostly just Jawbreaker.
The film is about inner beauty. What advice would you give young girls that are feeling insecure maybe?
Um, Look? Imperfection is what makes you beautiful. I know that sounds cheesy but honestly, like, it?s true. [getting excited] People say that glasses are supposed to be not a good thing and I [hits table] LOVE glasses. People say that braces are like supposed to be not a good thing, and like coloured braces ? I?m obsessed! I love blue coloured braces! Freckles? I like die! I want freckles so bad, and I can?t get any. Sometimes I?ll draw fake freckles on, just wishing I had them. I think all those things? like my laugh, people literally tell me, ?You?re lucky you?re pretty, because your laugh is so horrendous?. I embrace it all the time, and just laugh in their face, like [gaspy, cute, inhale-y laugh].
You will find in your life, that if you are truly you, and not trying to be anybody, or trying to impress anybody, you will find people that like you for that. My best friend, who is also a weirdo, who is dating my brother, her name is also Bella, yes I know that?s weird, she loves all my quirky things, and I do too ? they?re the people that you?ll find in life.
Where do you get your ambition from?
I don?t now. I grew up hungry. When my father died, we were living off coupons that we found on the street, and we didn?t really have a house to live in, so it was me, my mom ? a single parent, raising four kids ? and I think I probably got my hunger from her and her struggle.
What?s the best advice anyone?s given you so far in the industry?
NOTE: Eurgh. Next gap, Al. Next gap is your time.
Y?know people don?t really give you advice in the industry. I always get this question, and they?re like, ?Oh, what did your grandma tell you??, ?What did this person tell you??, and they just? people don?t just openly give you advice [laughing] it does not work like that!
Growing up on set and watching how people treat others is the most important? Usually actors are mostly just close with the cast, but I can?t think of a film where I haven?t also been close with the crew: our focus pullers, our DP, the director, our grips ? those are the people that I?m closest too. Those people know you better than your best friends, because they see you in your very worst mood, and they see you in your best mood, and they still like you either way.
So I think that the one thing that I?ve really learned is to know that everyone has a bad day, but everyone?s still trying to do the same job. People are mean to paparazzi and stuff, because they?re annoying, but that?s their job ? to take photos of you, to sell a story of you, so although you hate it, you have to just [claps] be happy that they?re making money, and they?re doing something with their lives too, and there?s nothing really that you can do about it.
NOTE. Now, Al. GO!
LIVE FOR FILMS: You mentioned Amityville earlier, are you a fan of the horror genre, and what can fans of the franchise expect?
Oh! Oh, yeah! Oh, my God! I love horror films! [goofy, cute laugh] I watch so many! I remember when I working on Amityville and Jason Blum came to set, and I am such a fan, like Blumhouse, oh my God! They?ve done like a crazy amount of horror that are my favourite (Paranormal Activity, Sinister, Insidious, The Purge).
I had just had an espresso because I was really tired and I needed energy for the scene, and I look at him and am like ?Oh, my God! What about this and this and this?? I could not stop talking! I felt so bad. And in the middle of me talking he goes, [looks at watch] ?Yeah, that?s amazing. I have to go?. I was? my whole world was crushed, I thought I?d blown it, and then he called my agent and was like ?Oh, my God, I?m in love with her. She?s like one of the best actresses that?s ever worked on one of my films?, so I was like so, so, happy!
But? as for what you can expect from this film? it?s very different to the other Amityville?s. It?s much more of a? it?s very much family drama related I would say, than just like your typical pop-up horror. A lot of the film is really you crying for these characters, because there?s [big sigh] soooo much that goes on between me and my twin brother ? who?s a vegetable ? and my mother, who blames me for his state of being, and then you see that?s why I?m? my character?s so one dimensional and so mean and just very harsh, and then when you find out why, you?re just like ?Oh, my God! Shit is just getting so messed up. This is ridiculous!?
LIVE FOR FILMS: So as a horror fan, you must have been psyched to get the Scream TV show too then, right?
Oh, yeah. Of course. I was supposed to do the lead, then I was actually working on Amityille when I looked at that part, but then there was a relocation and I couldn?t relocate. So I said that I would do this part in the beginning ? the Drew Barrymore part. That was just so amazing to fulfil. My scene is not going to be anywhere close to what Drew did in that movie!
LIVE FOR FILMS: Drew?s part is Casey, who dies in the pre-title sequence, so does that mean you?re not going to make it past episode one?
Er? I mean? Technically, my character doesn?t make it out of episode one? but it doesn?t mean that you don?t see her later in the series?[everyone ?oohs?]
Ooooh. Thanks, Bella.
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