Bella Thorne, 16-year-old star of the Disney Channel show “Shake It Up,” underwent an enlightening transformation while making “Blended,” the new Adam Sandler film opening today.
Playing Hilary, the oldest of three girls whose dad, Jim (Sandler), is a clueless widower, Thorne’s character begins the film dressed as a tomboy, with a horrible haircut. For the role, Thorne trimmed her real hair and wore a wig.
“I put on the wig, and everything a teenage girl would think, looking like that, was what went through my mind,” says Thorne, who recently visited The City to promote the film. “But I’m so glad that I played it, because now I know I only want to play characters. I don’t want to play pretty girls with no depth. I want to be the dorky, funny person.”
“Blended” finds Jim and his family on vacation at a fancy African resort, and unexpectedly running into single mom Lauren (Drew Barrymore), with whom he had a bad date, and her two sons.
Thorne found Africa beautiful and exasperating. She loved the wild animals, except for the rhinos: “We were filming one scene, and our tire popped. We were just sitting next to this rhino. And it woke up.”
Thorne says the driver just took off, flat tire and all.
“It was making so much noise,” she recalls.
But Thorne also calls her time in Africa a beautiful experience. “Describing it doesn’t do it justice because you have to see it with your own eyes,” she says.
Thorne calls Sandler a “cool guy” and says she loved working with Barrymore, who, in real life, is exactly like she appears in movies.
“You fall in love with her onscreen,” Thorne says. “Imagine meeting her in person and she’s exactly like that. She’s a beautiful person.”
Above all, Thorne “freaked out” when she saw co-star Terry Crews, whom she knew from the film “White Chicks.” She was afraid to approach him, but eventually he approached her and asked for a picture.
She says, “He said, ‘My kids love you!’ That was so cool!”
In addition to acting, modeling, dancing and singing (her new single is “Call It Whatever”), Thorne also has written a book, “Autumn Falls,” slated for release in November.
How does she have time for it all?
“I ask myself that every day,” she says.
IF YOU GO
Starring Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Bella Thorne, Kevin Nealon, Terry Crews
Written by Ivan Menchell, Clare Sera
Directed by Frank Coraci