Interview | Bella Thorne and Her Whole New Level of Fear

Actress Bella Thorne has become something of a scream queen these days. She’s on the big screen in the new thriller, Big Sky, which opens in limited release Aug. 14. In this latest flick, she plays Hazel, an agoraphobic teen who’s forced out into the world after a gunman attacks her family in the middle of the desert. 

Thorne can also be seen in the MTV adaptation of the Kevin Williamson film franchise, Scream, a movie that played with horror conventions. And she has a number of upcoming movies that are sure to scare audiences, including Amityville: The Reawakening and Home Invasion. Thorne explains why she’s drawn to horror films in this exclusive interview.

Crave: What did you learn about agoraphobia from preparing for Big Sky?

Bella Thorne: To be honest, I learned that there’s not a lot about the disease online. Doctors don’t know what to think of it. They don’t really know how to help the patient, so you have these poor people that are so afraid to step outside of their house, they get stuck in their house for the rest of their life because they can’t get over it. I learned that the movies don’t really describe it well. It’s very interesting that something mental can be so powerful. It’s really taken to a whole new level when you’re so afraid of nothing, when you can be afraid of the sky or afraid of what’s outside of your door. To really be so afraid that you never ever step outside, that’s something else to be honest. It’s a whole new level of fear.

There are plenty of people who’d be afraid of dealing with cameras and press interviews and the spotlight of your life. Did this research and character give you a new perspective on things?

It didn’t in that way because my best friend Alexa is studying to be a social worker and my other best friend Bella is studying to be an animal surgeon, and she performs all these surgeries in Costa Rica on these poor little animals. We’ve talked about what she learned and how she has to go to ten years of vet school. Those things are heroic. What I do is not overly special. It’s cool, and definitely a lot of people have a fear of being on camera, but it’s not overly special. It’s not heroic, unless you’re doing something good and making a documentary to show people what it’s like. Hopefully, this film will make the world more aware of agoraphobia and it will make people question more doctors, and make people get on their job and figure out what they can do to help these people.

Photo Credit: Instagram/BellaThorne

What do you feel agoraphobia adds as an extra layer of fear to what would already be a pretty intense thriller in Big Sky?

Your mom’s dying and everybody in the car around you is shot and killed and you got to go outside now, which is your biggest fear. Yeah, that’s a lot, but the fact that my character doesn’t go outside right away, it takes her a while to take that first initial step outside. If she was just like, “Okay, I’m going to go be a hero, mom, be right back,” and stepped outside, I would have been, “No, that’s not realistic.”

What was it like filming Big Sky in New Mexico?

It was interesting. I didn’t really see much of New Mexico. I was so exhausted after going to set that I went home and slept any time that I could.

So sleep is the way you unwind or relax for an intense thriller?

Actually, yeah. If I’m doing a film I don’t really step outside my trailer. Most of the time when I’m on location, I don’t do anything besides go back home and sleep, or go back home and eat, or I go back home and if there is a pool maybe, maybe I’ll lay by it.

In addition to Big Sky, you’re in MTV’s Scream and you have upcoming feature films Amityville: The Reawakening and Home Invasion. What attracts you to horror films and thrillers?

I’ve watched horror films ever since I was so very young and my mom would always tell me, “Bella, you can’t watch this. I’m not allowed to let you. People will think I’m a bad parent if I do.” And somehow I’d sneak around and watch it anyway. And now it’s just grown up a part of me. It’s really influenced a lot of things, and I guess that’s why I like it so much. It’s imbedded in me. My mom loves horror. My sister loves horror, so it’s just like a family thing.

Photo Credit: Instagram/BellaThorne

Did movies scare you when you were watching them when you were younger?

Yeah, it would scare me a little bit.

Is there one movie that really scared you?

Oh my god, The Grudge. The Grudge scared us all so bad that my whole family slept in one room that night. My whole family. We all slept in the living room. We were so scared.

Having that intelligent background with horror must have been really interesting for you to step into the Scream franchise on MTV. What do you think it is about that franchise that has stood the test of time?

When it came out it was the first of its kind and it was funny and campy, although it was scary. And so to have it be scary and also provide comic relief for the real scaredy cats in the room; that’s what made it so great. And it really was the first of its kind. I can’t think of a really good movie that was big and famous like that which came out before it.

Is it hard to scare you personally these days having grown up watching so many horror movies?

Yeah, it is hard in the sense that when I watch movies I’m not really scared. I’m really intrigued and on the edge of my seat, but not scared necessarily. But if I go to Knott’s Berry Farm or something at Halloween and they scare me at the right moments, then I’ll be scared.

Top Photo by Barry King/Getty Images