In 2020’s “Infamous,” Bella Thorne’s character Arielle Summers takes inspiration from the outlaw Bonnie Parker of Bonnie and Clyde. This couple’s story has been romanticized by movies and television shows for decades, however, no one has captured their criminal crusades quite like the protagonists in this film. “Infamous” allows social media to take center stage, with Thorne’s character recording their robberies for what would become millions of adoring fans. Her motivation behind committing robberies isn’t for the money; it’s for the glory, recognition and infamy.
As a budding social media influencer, Thorne’s character does what she can to get the world’s attention through her physical appearance, captivating social media with her extensive tattoo collection. “She’s going out of her way to be seen and to be noticed, in all aspects,” Thorne says. “The tattoos, the bright hoop earrings, the wigs and the makeup I got to do in the movie were very purposeful because this was Arielle’s way of performing for people. I think it’s important to show that in the movie because it’s her memories and view of this world that she lived in.”
In her roles, Thorne likes to have a hands-on approach to shaping the internal and external facets of her characters. For example, she creates a booklet of cut-out photos and quotes that resonate with each character she portrays. While she has an attachment to each one she’s played, Arielle was special because of the input Thorne was able to give the film’s director, Josh Caldwell. “I loved that Josh really let me create this character with him and get into the nitty gritty of why she is who she is,” Thorne says. “You have no idea what this character is going to do next and I love playing characters like that. To me, we never see those characters enough where you love them in one scene and hate them in the next. We want to see them on camera again and know when they’ll be back. You experience a lot of emotions on Arielle’s ride."
Not only did Thorne make this character her own by creatively collaborating with the director, this was the first film where she was able to connect with Arielle through their love of tattoos. Thorne has been collecting tattoos for many years and in this role, she was able to have her real ink become a part of her character. “It was fun having all of my tattoos out for this movie,” Thorne says. “This is finally a character where all my tattoos work, especially my back tattoo, which says ‘Bruised but not broken.’”
Of course, not all of the tattoos Thorne’s character wears are her own. The largest and most recognizable piece was designed by tattoo artist Dave Lukeson, which is a sleeve depicting Czech artist Alphonse Mucha’s "Spring Season of 1900." Lukeson was approached by makeup artist Candie Renee for this film and when he learned more about the project, he jumped right into creating a custom design. “I’m a huge fan of Bonnie and Clyde, their history and their exploits,” Lukeson says. “I wanted to do something that was very classically beautiful, but subtly told a story. Their exploits happened just before the dust bowl, so I chose Mucha and adjusted the piece so it fit for the story.”
Lukeson’s tattoo fit Arielle’s motives and the film’s story arc in ways that most audience members wouldn’t pick up on. Thorne loved wearing the piece, both on- and off-screen, as she frequently showed it off on social media, leaving many to wonder if it was a real tattoo. But, when it comes to her own ink, Thorne takes a different approach to collecting than her exhibitionistic character.
“I probably wouldn’t commit to a sleeve this early on,” Thorne says. “I think I’ll probably end up being a person who has a bunch of little tattoos all over their body. It will be a bunch of stuff that I liked or loved, so that’s going to be how I keep collecting tattoos.” Although Thorne prefers to collect small and easily concealable tattoos, both Bella and Arielle attach significant meanings to the pieces they ornament their bodies with. “I think tattoos are little symbols of things that once brought you joy and have memories of these beautiful moments in time where you wanted to get it,” Thorne says. “I really respect that and that’s why I love my tattoos.”
Arielle is a true reflection of our times, through both her quest to obtain social media fame and her desire to stand out with eye-catching tattoos. This film will undoubtedly become a timestamp of this era for generations to look back on, and will also allow modern audiences to understand why Bonnie and Clyde continue to make an impact, nearly 100 years after their deaths. “Infamous” is now showing in theaters nationwide and is available for rental on Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes and Google Play. Find out for yourself why this is currently the number one movie in America by watching the trailer HERE and let us know what you think of the film in the comments section on social media.