Actress Bella Thorne stars in Blended, the new rom-com fronted by America’s favorite comedy couple Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. Thorne was about one-year-old when The Wedding Singer came out and about seven-years-old when 50 First Dates was released (feeling old yet?). She was definitely too young to watch (or even comprehend) those movies when they came out, but when asked which of the two Barrymore/Sandler rom-coms was her favorite, she doesn’t hesitate with her answer: “The Wedding Singer … I love the scene where he sings to her on the plane.”
After this weekend, her new answer might change to Blended because—well—she stars in it. In the third installment of the Barrymore/Sandler rom-com trilogy (which has a healthy dose of family movie charm), Thorne plays Adam Sandler’s tomboy daughter, Hilary (who he calls Larry). After being raised as if she were a son, Hilary yearns to be more like a teenage girl and with the help of a trip to Africa and Barrymore’s character, she does just that. We had the chance to talk to Bella Thorne about working with her favorite The Wedding Singer stars, getting a “makeunder,” and getting bit by a lion cub in Africa.
Paste: What attracted you to the script for Blended, and when you first read it, what was your reaction?
Bella Thorne: Are you kidding? When they asked me if I wanted to play a boy, I was like, “Yeah. It’s on the top of my bucket list.” The script was hilarious, and I really liked the way the character has such a big arc in the movie. She really grows. You get to see this teenage girl, who’s really awkward, start off looking like a boy. She kind of just wants to jump out of her own skin and be noticed. Finally, when she does, it’s a really big payoff.
Paste: How did you handle “makeunder?” What kind of ideas did they have for your tomboy look?
Thorne: I’m a teenage girl, so hair is everything. Once I had the wig on and I was looking at it, I was like, “Wow.” (laughs)
Paste: In the movie, you play Adam Sandler’s daughter and you have two sisters. Did you guys hang out beforehand to create a family bond before you start shooting?
Thorne: We didn’t need to do that. You’re flying to Africa with just these people—it’s a 21-hour flight (laughs). We were in Africa for two months. It’s such a good experience that you don’t really need that. We all became best buddies.
Paste: Throughout the movie, there are a lot of scenes with animals. Are you a big animal person?
Thorne: I’m a huge animal person. Sometimes it was a little hard, hearing the stories about what they do to some of the animals there. There’s really not a big way to stop it. I really just wanted to get involved somehow. I wasn’t able to really find a way. It’s a sport there, to kill those animals. There’s really nothing you can do about it. I just loved being there. We got to play with the little lion cubs. One bit me.
Paste: Bit you, or did it nip at you?
Thorne: He bit me.
Paste:Really? How hard? There wasn’t blood or puncturing or anything, was there?
Thorne: There was a little scrape. I didn’t get a disease. I haven’t been checked yet. I should do that. (laughs)
Paste: One of the funniest moments of the movie was when you were playing basketball and all of a sudden you start to act feminine in order to attract a boy you have a crush on.
Thorne: That was kind of fun. It was mostly improv. It was my first day shooting—maybe it wasn’t my first day. No, wait. Maybe it was. I don’t know … but it was around my first day shooting (laughs). I was really nervous at first to start improvving with so many actors who are well known for their improvisation and their good timing. That was a little scary at first.
Paste: Working with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore was probably really exciting.They have a great rapport all the way back to The Wedding Singer. What was it like when you first met them?
Thorne: It’s a little nerve-wracking. The whole time I just kept thinking, “I really just want these people to think I’m funny.” You’re with these comedians who are famous just for making people laugh. All you want is the same. When you’re paired up with them, you kind of want to go toe to toe with them. I didn’t, because I was way too nervous.
Paste: In addition to working with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, you shared the screen with great comedic actors like Kevin Nealon, Terry Crews and Wendi McLendon-Covey. You also mentioned doing improv. Is comedy something you kind of want to pursue in terms of your career?
Thorne: Comedy is a big thing for me. I’m much better at drama, I must say. I have a lot of dramas coming out. Sometimes, people think I’m funny.
Paste: What projects do you have coming out soon?
Thorne: There’s actually another family comedy with Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner that’s called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Paste: That’s based on the children’s book, right?
Thorne: Yeah. It comes out in October. Then, I have a film called Big Sky with Kyra Sedgwick. Then I have a film called Home Invasion. It’s a Joel Silver project. I just wrapped a film called Amityville.
Paste: Based on the horror story?
Thorne: It’s a horror movie, yes. It’s not the exact story. It’s the same house, but not the exact story.
Paste: You have a good mix of stuff coming out—but what do you watch? What was the last movie you watched? Are you currently obsessed with anything on TV?
Thorne: I really like Bones. That’s really what I watch on Netflix. (laughs)
Blended opens in theaters May 23.