As seen in Tuesday’s premiere, Famous in Love — from PLL mastermind Marlene King — follows Paige Townsen (played by Bella Thorne), a young actress whose life changes overnight when she lands the lead role in a big-screen adaptation of the popular Locked book series. And as far as Freeform dramas go, FiL pretty much checks off every box imaginable: Secrets! Scandal! Sexual fluidity!
Perhaps the best way to begin a dialogue about this show is to examine the various groups of people in Paige’s life — groups which, as you can imagine, will soon overlap:
THE ROOMMATES | Every young actress needs a support system, and for Paige, that system comes in the form of her roommates: Cassie (Georgie Flores), the cutie with a secret, and Jake (Charlie DePew), the aspiring filmmaker with incredibly distracting abs. Speaking of which, why is it so hard for Paige to admit she’s hungry for more than just Jake’s burgers? And why is Cassie paying visits to sketchy millionaires’ houses under the pseudonym “Lacey”? (Spoiler alert: If you’re thinking she’s a prostitute, you’re not totally off-base.)
THE MOVIE STARS | The only thing more dramatic and complicated than the plot of Locked — which you can read more about here — is the goings-on of its stars. Rainer Devon (Carter Jenkins) and Jordan Wilder (Keith Powers) have a nasty little history, one that began in friendship… and ended with Rainer punching Jordan for sleeping with his girlfriend, R&B superstar Tangey Turner (Pepi Sonuga). Rainer is currently sober, and has been for more than a year, but given how many secrets are being kept from him, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him reaching for a little liquid comfort down the road. Also in the mix is Alexis Gleen (Niki Kloss), an equal-opportunity sex kitten who’s willing to screw anyone over — or, you know, just screw anyone — to get back on top.
THE ‘ADULTS’ | Like all good teen dramas, the adults on Famous in Love tend to act more like teenagers than responsible guardians — and for that, we thank them. Case in point: Nina Devon isn’t just a producer on Locked; she’s also Rainer’s mom, and as such, is willing to stoop pretty low to protect her son’s image. In the first episode alone, we saw her literally grab a gossip reporter by the balls before calling him to share a dirty secret about Jordan and Tangey. Oh, and how could I forget — she’s sleeping with Jordan!
To say that Famous in Love is weaving a tangled web would be an understatement, considering all of the above occurred in the pilot alone. But here’s a question: Will you continue watching Paige & Co. on a weekly basis? Will you, instead, choose to binge the entire 10-episode season right away? Or was one trip to La La Land enough for you?
|Bella Thorne stars as Paige Townsen in Freeform's 'Famous in Love.' (Photo: Eric McCandless, Freeform)|
BELLA THORNE TEASES FAMOUS IN LOVE'S JUICY LOVE TRIANGLE, CELEBRITY CAMEOS, AND 4 MORE FACTS ABOUT THE SERIES
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).
1. BELLA THORNE AND PAIGE TOWNSEN ARE VERY DIFFERENT PEOPLE
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!'”
2. NO SUPERNATURAL SERIES FOR THORNE
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.”
3. WHICH SIDE OF THE LOVE TRIANGLE IS SHE ON?
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!”
4. THERE ARE PLENTY OF CELEBRITY CAMEOS
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.”
5. WHAT IS LOCKED ABOUT, ANYWAY?
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.
6. TO BINGE OR NOT TO BINGE, THAT IS THE QUESTION
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.”