Midnight Sun star Bella Thorne says she struggled to get film roles because of Disney (exclusive)

Bella Thorne is just twenty years old but she’s been a working actress since the age of six.

The American star got her early break doing a couple of skits on Jimmy Kimmel, which led to more guest roles in various shows including a regular part in the short-lived ABC drama Dirty Sexy Money.

That’s when she caught the eye of the Disney Channel who signed her and Zendaya up to star in the series Shake It Up, from 2010 to 2013, but since her departure the actress says it’s been hard to shake off the Disney image.

“When I got off the Channel, I had to start all the way back from where I was, way before I even started acting,” Bella tells Yahoo Movies. “I had to literally show up to casting directors’ offices when they literally wouldn’t see me.

Bella Thorne on having to start again in the acting world after being on the Disney Channel
Bella Thorne on having to start again in the acting world after being on the Disney Channel

“I’d have my script in my hand and I’d say ‘please, just let me do the first scene I’m going to show you right now that I’m worth the time’. That’s how I got started again in acting once I got off Shake It Up so it definitely puts a little bit of pressure on.”

While her Shake It Up co-star Zendaya went on to front her own solo Disney Channel series, and land high profile parts in Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Greatest Showman, Bella has played guest and supporting roles in several TV shows and films.

The actress feels that, in her case, the Disney image created for her during her time on the Channel put the industry off from accepting who she really was as a person and what she was capable of as an actress.

“Everyone wants to see you be that,” Bella says of her Disney Channel character, “they don’t accept you as anything else or as you’re own person.”

Bella stars opposite Patrick Schwarzenegger in Midnight Sun
Bella stars opposite Patrick Schwarzenegger in Midnight Sun

Thorne’s latest role is in Midnight Sun, adapted from the Japanese movie called Song to the Sun, which follows a teenage girl with a disease that stops her from being able to be touched by sunlight, and the boy she falls in love with.

That boy, Charlie, is played by Patrick Schwarzenegger, the eldest son of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also carries baggage from having a famous actor as a father, and having to live up to that expectation of success, which Bella says they bonded over.

“I think that’s one of the things, when Patrick walked in, we knew that we both had this background,” Bella said.

“It’s cool that we get to do something together where we’re both ‘hell yeah, watch us do this.'”

Midnight Sun is out on Friday

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