April 7, 2022 Interview – Bella Thorne & Melissa Leo
Sometimes when we meet someone new we can sense comfortability. When this happens friendships are born, relationships are forged, and the possibilities are endless. This evidently was the case when the talented young Bella Thorne and the seasoned award-winning Melissa Leo entered each other’s creative spaces in the new film Measure of Revenge.
Released in theaters, on Digital and On Demand as March 18th, 2022, Measure of Revenge follows the tragic story of a theater actress who tragically loses her son to a drug overdose. A simple case-closed event… there is more than meets the eye, and that is when the action begins. A unique film approached in an artistic fashion, the leading ladies Bella Thorne and Melissa Leo recently sat down to chat about it, working together, and more.
Cryptic Rock – You have both built very compelling careers as entertainers. Bella, yourself in film, television, and music. Melissa, yourself in film, television, as well as theater. Briefly tell us, how would you describe your careers in the arts thus far?
Bella Thorne – Rolling with the punches! (Laughs)
Melissa Leo – A miracle! (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – Well, it all has led you to good places. Your creative paths cross now in the new film Measure of Revenge. How did this project come about for you two?
Melissa Leo – Jen Gatien is the answer. We had been talking about doing another project together and what could that be. She, thinking dramatically and motion picture wise, said, “what if you played a killer?” I said, “I don’t know about women killing… I suppose they do.” She said, “What about if it involved the character’s child and revenge?” I still said, “I don’t know.”
Well, Jen eventually showed me the script where the character is an actor. It immediately was no longer a Crime Drama to me, it was a Mystery in the great tradition of film. The character of Lillian has these visitations/thoughts that are manifested for the film by seeing the characters she has played as she is imagining them. They are urging her on and to me that was was when I said, “Okay Jen, let’s see what kind of cast we can get together!” We got pretty lucky with that.
Bella Thorne – I also know Jen Gatien, we have worked together before. She sent me the script and I saw Melissa’s name attached and I was so excited; I’ve followed her career for so long and love her work. I just thought, “oh my gosh, me work with her, yes!” In any realm that is amazing because I can learn so much from working with her and I can use these things for the rest of my career. Then it turned out to be Melissa is one of the most amazing people to work with. I just thought, now I have another mom! It really was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am just so happy I did it.
Cryptic Rock – There is a certainly a very interesting dynamic with your characters in this film. It is not your anticipated, everyday partnership. Melissa, you play a theater actress, and this is not far-fetched. Would you say these characters are somewhat reflective of yourself… not the murderous part of course. (Laughs)
Melissa Leo – No more so than any other character I’ve ever played. Acting is the actor, the character, and they come together. You can’t disappear Melissa from the character, but I’m nothing like Lillian at all in my opinion.
Bella Thorne – I am going to agree with Melissa. There has to be an empathy and understanding for the character you’re playing. Once you start to emphasize with them you take that with you for the rest of your life. Now you understand how you would feel in that situation… even though you’ve only been in that situation on film. It stays with you.
There are parts of Taz that stayed with me. One of the things that I really agree with Taz’s character, and something that I see in myself, is the hard exterior. The idea of being hurt many times in life that you create this harder looking exterior, especially as a woman for obvious reasons. I think Taz dresses the way she does and says the things she says because she’s pushing out this hard/strong version of her that is, when inside, she’s not necessarily that person.
Cryptic Rock – You both do exceptionally well portraying these characters. This is also not your typical Crime Drama. It even has moments of Horror as well, would you agree?
Melissa Leo – Yes, moments of Horror included. It includes the vast, broad world of the theater. We use actual characters from classic plays, and the depth of that alone is kind of cheating, isn’t it? But we did it. (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – Well, it works! Measure of Revenge is out now so it will be interesting to see what people think as more view it. You two seemed to really have hit it off together. That in mind, would you work together in another film?
Bella Thorne – 100%!
Melissa Leo – Any day of the week! It is part of what makes the relationship between Lillian and Taz work. Especially when they are really unsure of each other. Bella and I adored each other from the moment we met. We could really play against each other and feel safe.
It reminded me playing Alice Ward in The Fighter (2010) when Amy Adams (playing Charlene Fleming) comes onto her porch and we had that terrific fight. Bella and I is as great as it was between Alice and Amy’s character in The Fighter because Amy and I adored each other.
When you get along with any actor in that kind of a way you can feel a real ping-pong begin to happen. We were getting to know each other, but we were always getting to know the character within one another. Bella was willing to play all those games and show me her true self.