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'Famous in Love' Explores Hollywood's Glamour and Darkness

Bella Thorne, star of the new Freeform series "Famous in Love," talks to NBC Out about the new show and the "dark" side of the film industry.
The cast of "Famous in Love"
The cast of "Famous in Love"Nino Munoz / Freeform

As a teenager, actress Bella Thorne loved Rebecca Serle’s book “Famous in Love,” and now she has teamed up with both Serle and “Pretty Little Liars” showrunner I. Marlene King for the television adaptation. Thorne will star in the project, which seeks to give viewers a glimpse of Hollywood's underbelly.

The cast of "Famous in Love"Nino Munoz / Freeform

The Freeform series centers on Thorne’s character, Paige Townsen, a college student who on a whim attends an open casting call for a lead in a major film franchise. While the studio initially set up the open call as a publicity stunt, Paige impresses the casting directors, lands the role and skyrockets to stardom.

Thorne and her character may both be Hollywood actresses, but the similarities stop there, she said.

“I wanted to play Paige, because she is so different than me, so it was fun for me to really step out of my comfort zone and play a completely different character," Thorne told NBC Out.

Bella Thorne as Paige Townsen in "Famous in Love."Eric McCandless / Freeform

Paige Townsen enters Hollywood honestly and earnestly, which is a far cry from many of the other characters in the world of “Famous in Love." Among those characters are Rainer, her male co-star; Nina, a film producer and Rainer's mom; and Alexis, a fellow actress. This trio complicates Paige's new life in Hollywood and strains her relationship with her best friends.

The world these characters create is set to entertain viewers -- but also to put some realities of the film industry on display.

“It’s pretty accurate, I would say. If anything does not seem real, we definitely take it out and make sure it reflects what we have been through and what we go through in this industry,” Thorne said.

“I want people to know that in Hollywood, what you see is not always what you get, and there’s a lot of lying and twisting and manipulating that comes behind anything in our industry,” she added.

Thorne said in addition to the glamour of fame and the film industry, there's also a "dark" part. "You can't have one without the other," she said.

In regards to the glamorous side, Thorne is taken on a massive lead role with Paige. Not only will she be starring in an adaptation of a well known book, but the series has “Pretty Little Liars”-sized shoes to fill. Freeform has positioned the series to takeover the soon-to-end hit show, and its creator is attached to “Famous in Love.” The added pressure is absolutely felt by Thorne, but she’s also excited by the potential to bring King’s fans on another dramatic ride.

With the support of her castmates and confidence in herself, Thorne is happy to be the face of the new series. And the fact that she can be unapologetically herself behind the camera, adds to her confidence.

“I am very honest about who I am and me being bisexual," she told NBC Out. "Hopefully people in this day and age are getting more okay with it, and they are realizing that you can love anybody you want to love."

In fact “Famous in Love,” which premiere April 18 on Freeform, will feature a bisexual character who struggles with both her career and her sexuality.

“There are no rules when it comes to love. Hopefully people will see that on our show,” Thorne concluded.

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