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Why Infamous means so much to Bella Thorne - Exclusive

Bella Thorne has cornered the film market for teen comedies like The Duff, supernatural horrors like Amityville: The Awakening, romantic dramas like Midnight Sun, and plenty of thrillers. Her new film Infamous — which unravels like a Gen Z depiction of Bonnie and Clyde — follows the esteemed actress as Arielle, a character on a fraught journey to fortune and fame. Arielle's boyfriend Dean (Jake Manley) barely tolerates her thirst for followers, but he can't seem to quit her and her infectious personality. Thorne's role as Arielle is particularly special to the actress, who was excited to steer clear of the usual tropes that follow women in cinema.

"I think that so many times we don't see it enough where we're so particular on how we show our female leads, you know?" Thorne reveals to Looper in an exclusive interview. "We're so particular in how we show our leads in general, considering they all have to be likable. They all have be this."

Just a small-town girl (living in a deadly world)

The film revolves around the small-town girl's desire to be (in)famous as she and her boyfriend post their brutal robberies on social media. "I loved one: that it was a protagonist, and it's her vision of the events that go down," Thorne remarks. "And I think that that was an interesting aspect to bring to it... It really is how it plays out in her mind."

Films don't often give leading women the chance to be wild and unlikeable, but Thorne is quick to dispel that common trope with this role. "And I love that the script was so bold in its choice to make her [Arielle] unlikeable in a sense," she adds. "One minute you love her, and you're falling in love with her, and you're like, 'Aw.' And then the next minute you're like, 'F****** hate you! You're doing terrible choices! What the f***?! Poor Dean!'"

Thorne and Director Josh Caldwell were on the same page when it came to developing Arielle's dynamic and unpredictable personality. She says, "And with one thing that I was saying to Josh when we first met was like so many time[s] with women in films they're always portrayed as whether they make bad decisions or good decisions." She continues, "They're always confused in their decisions, and they need everyone else to kind of point them [in] the way of what they want. And we watch that so much, it's so tiring."

Femme fatales on film

The damsel in distress trope has been saddled on women for ages — and Thorne is not here to contribute to that sexist cycle. Dean may think Arielle will wait in the car while he waves his gun around, but he's got another thing coming. Thorne comments, "Like if you go back and you study women in film, you will see how much women are left up to other people making their decisions and their choices as characters, and that's such a drag."

Viewers of the film may not like Arielle all of the time, but they definitely can't say she's wishy-washy about her motivations. "So we really wanted to make f****** Arielle just so definite in her decision of what she wanted, who she was... Who was she gonna be? And not to leave that up to question," Thorne adds.

She continues, "And I thought that that was just what a great leading lady is. When I finally saw it up on the big screen as I was like, 'Hell yeah!'" The actress makes it clear that she doesn't condone Arielle and Dean's reckless outlaw behavior by saying, "Whether you agree with their choices or not, obviously not, you can find that she is so intriguing to watch on screen. So you never know what she's going to do next."

Thorne dishes on what it was like to step into the shoes of a producer, and where production may take her in the future. "I produced this movie, as well," she says. "I just love that aspect of filming, not just being in front of the camera. So I'm really excited to keep taking strides in that area of my career."

Thorne, who's known for playing strong, unique female characters, explains, "And I just love focusing on women in film like that, really giving them a bold choice in their actions."  With an active career spanning 17 years, Infamous sticks out to Thorne. She says, "And there's very few projects, Infamous being one of them, and Babysitter as well, being one of them that I would actually be like, 'Yo, I'm really proud of this.'"