With Pretty Little Liars entering its final stretch of episodes, Freeform is introducing its newest YA adaptation: Famous In Love, starring Bella Thorne as the up-and-coming Hollywood starlet Paige Townsen, a college student who lands the starring role in the next big supernatural movie series.
While she might not be battling an evil mastermind dead-set on sabotaging her life, she will have to navigate the world of Hollywood, so — it’s similar.
Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Thorne, who is no stranger to the spotlight, about her new show. She dished on the series’ juicy love triangle, celebrity cameos, and just how similar she is to her character (spoiler: not very).
While playing a young movie star might not sound like a stretch for Thorne, the actress’ character in Famous In Love is actually years behind her real-life experience. Thorne, 19, has been acting since she was a small child, while Paige, 21, is experiencing it all for the first time.
“I would teach Paige more than I would learn from her, because I have been through it before her,” Thorne said. And sometimes Paige’s naiveté about the business can get on her nerves. “To be honest, sometimes it’s a little hard for me to get along with my character. I just wanna shake her, like, ‘Oh my god, you’re so annoying!'”
While Paige is about to blow up thanks to her role in the next Twilight-esque series, Thorne is cautious to make a commitment like that.
“I would be down. I wouldn’t say that I’m going to turn it down if something like that comes my way, but there is a certain [element of that kind of fame] that you have to expect,” she confessed. “I already have such die-hard crazy fans, and I get death threats all the time from people just from commenting on somebody’s photo, so I would be a little wary when taking a role like that —to know what kind of fandom it comes with and be able to accept that. I don’t know that kind of fandom would necessarily accept me for being me because I’m so honest and wild. I’ve got dyed hair and a septum piercing, and I’m always speaking my mind. I don’t know that that kind of fandom would necessarily accept me, because they would want me to be the character all the time.”
Paige will juggle romantic affections — at least in the first season — from both her costar, the mega-movie star Rainer Devon (Carter Jenkins), and her nice-guy roommate, Jake (Charlie DePew). Thorne is rooting for Rainer and Paige, or Raige.
“What a dope couple name, Raige,” she raved. “Are you kidding me? That’s so cool!”
But her reasons are more practical than a shipper name.
“Personally, I’ve been with somebody not in the biz, and it is so difficult to be with someone who doesn’t understand if you have a premiere that they are making you go to, you can’t get out of it and you’re missing something so important. That could really hurt somebody that’s not in the industry.”
And if you’re not into either option, Thorne teased another romance that might excite you: “There’s another one we haven’t even introduced yet, so it’s going to be a big shocker for you guys!”
What would a show about Hollywood be without some real-life stars? Famous in Love boasts cameos from Freeform talent like Ben and Lauren from The Bachelor spin-off Happily Ever After, as well as a few big-name Hollywood stars and Thorne’s favorites, Viners Ethan and Grayson Dolan.
“It was so much fun having the Dolan Twins,” Thorne said, and revealed one cameo that could’ve been: her Shake It Up costar Zendaya.
“Luckily I can have some of my actual friends come on,” she said, adding, “Zendaya almost did a guest star and then she had to go to New York and she couldn’t. She’ll definitely be on next season.”
The movie-within-the-show, Locked, is supposed to be the next big teen hit — but it’s unclear what, exactly, it’s about. What kind of supernatural elements are we dealing with here? Witches? Werewolves? Zombies?
Thorne explained that it’s about a girl who gets stuck in time, and falls in love with a different guy in each era.
“It’s basically about her trying to find her way through time with all these other characters and trying to get back to her normal life,” she said.
While Freeform will air new episodes of Famous in Love every Tuesday, the network is also releasing every episode online the day of the premiere. So you’ll be able to watch it two ways: binge via Hulu, or tune in week to week. Thorne said she sees pros and cons for each method of viewing.
“Personally, I find the bingeing thing dope in the fact that I don’t like to wait to watch a show because I don’t have time. Most people don’t have the time,” she said. But then again, “when people watch you every single week they get more attached to the characters.”
Famous In Love premieres Tuesday, April 18 at 9 p.m. on Freeform, and will be available in full on Hulu and other digital platforms that same day.