“I fell in love with an Italian pop star so I’m basically Lizzie McGuire,” Bella Thorne joked on her Instagram on March 4th of this year, except she wasn’t really kidding — and now she’s marrying that Italian pop star, singer Benjamin Mascolo. The pair fell in love at Coachella — an appropriate start to a relationship categorized by artistic collaboration and creativity, with the couple’s new movie, Time Is Up, in theaters September 9, 2021.
In Time Is Up, Thorne, 23, and Mascolo, 28, play star-crossed lovers brought together by fate and nearly torn apart by an accident and a case of forgotten memory. “As always happens,” a synopsis reads, “life manages to weave events together in increasingly surprising and unexpected ways.”
To celebrate their engagement and the release of Time Is Up, Thorne — whose book The Life Of A Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray (Black Edition) is out September 7th — chatted with NYLON about meeting Mascolo, shooting the film together, and realizing he was the one for her.
How did you and Ben meet?
Ben and I met on Instagram, then had a quick lunch date. A few days later we fell in love at Coachella. One time, he compared our initial meeting to a UFO alien landing on earth, which is very on-brand for our relationship. I was super sad when I first met Ben, but he accepted me for everything that I was during that time. Meeting him was like a breath of fresh air.
When did you realize he was the one?
There was no singular moment where I thought, "Ben is the one for me." Instead, our bond became stronger with time throughout our relationship, and we naturally formed that "you are the one for me" connection. What started as a hot and heavy love, then as confidant and sidekicks, then work partners and now fiancés. I believe it was all those moments of how our relationship continued to progress that I began to realize that he was the only one for me.
How did you handle being separated during quarantine?
Ben and I were apart for five months during quarantine. Looking back at it, it was a tough and scary time. There was a moment that I genuinely wondered if I was ever going to be able to see Ben again. Nevertheless, I tried to stay positive during those dark times and appreciated the little things in our relationship. The time apart ultimately made our love even stronger, knowing that if we could make it through the pandemic, we could make it through anything.
The time alone also gave me a chance to hone in on my craft and focus on myself, so most of the time, I tried to focus my attention on things I could do to better myself and my career.
What’s your favorite quality about Ben?
My favorite quality about Ben is that he fully listens to me and my feelings. He never makes me feel dumb, crazy, or in the wrong. He just listens to me and loves me. He allows me to be my worst self and loves me at my worst times. I do the same with him, which gives us both the confidence that we can make it through anything together.
What was shooting Time Is Up like as a couple?
I felt like portraying true love on screen was more effortless and romantic because we were together in real life. I got to fall in love with Ben all over again. All the butterflies and nerves you get when you first meet your crush came flooding back. It was like we were in the "honeymoon" stage of our relationship again.
Time Is Up is about true love prevailing against rough odds. Do you see your own story in the film?
I feel like a part of me connects to the character or storyline in every role I play. I think that's why acting can be so challenging because if you cannot personally relate to the film, you won't be able to deliver a good story.
When it came to filming Time Is Up, I did see my own story portrayed. I think it had to do with the raw emotion that Ben and I feel towards each other and the ability to reclaim our lives together.
Time Is Up will be nationally available on VOD and all digital platforms starting September 24, 2021.