Charlie DePew Dishes On 'Famous In Love' And Bella Thorne

What's it really like to play Jake Salt?

Freeform’s “Famous In Love” was everyone’s guilty pleasure TV series this spring. The show featured rising star Charlie DePew who played Jake Salt, an aspiring screenwriter who’s best friends with Bella Thorne’s character. We chatted with DePew about the series’ dramatic twists and turns, his love of social media and the actor that’s inspired his career. 

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What’s the best part about being in “Famous in Love”?

The juicy drama. In a teen drama like this, it’s a little more soapy. Usually in TV you don’t get drama that’s this exaggerated. There’s a lot of conflict that wouldn’t happen in a usual storyline and I kind of like that. There’s all these plot twists and turns. Another reason why I like it so much is I’m a mega-fan of “Entourage,” so I really like playing the teen girl version of that.

What do you and your character Jake Salt have in common? What makes you different?

Well, Jake is very ambitious and motivated, and I would say I’m the same. I think Jake is a little more straight-edge than I am. I like to have a lot of fun and go to music festivals and that kind of thing, which I don’t think Jake would ever do. He’s a little too much of a nice boy and he’s also a little more earnest. I’m much more of an assertive person. If I like something or don’t like something, I’m usually more open about it. But Jake and I definitely do share traits as far as ambition and motivation goes. And we’re both screenwriters. I got almost halfway through a degree in screenwriting at USC, and I still am a writer. I still have a few scripts, but I don’t write with the passion and tenacity that I used to.

You and Bella Thorne have undeniable chemistry. What’s it like working with her?

We knew each other before “Famous in Love,” but we weren’t close. We would just see each other at birthdays. And then when I got cast in “Famous in Love,” we got closer. I have this straight-edge front, but then you take me to a festival and I’m the first one to be dancing in the mosh pit. I think she just liked that I let loose. We just kind of hit it off. We’re pretty close now.

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“Famous in Love” seems like a really fun group of people to work with. Are you and the cast friends off-set?

It’s literally the perfect crew. I love everyone. They’re all amazing. They all have their own little thing that makes them awesome. We were all basically thrown in a room together and told to be friends. Luckily, with us, it worked. 

What’s one of the biggest challenges you faced while filming “Famous In Love”?

I actually started a business two and a half years ago with a couple buddies called Respark, we do digital and social media marketing for companies. We basically own and manage a bunch of themed Instagram accounts that have over 150 million followers. We were in the middle of making an app right when we went to production. So I was thrown into this, and I still had to work and I was running double time to make sure everything got done. That was not easy, and managing expectations on both fronts was a challenge for sure.  

Since Respark is all about managing massive Instagram pages, what’s one tip you have for anyone trying to build an Instagram following?

Themed accounts are a lot easier. You can just do shoutouts. You get bigger players to shout your page out and you shout them out, and then eventually you get 100 thousand followers. It’s a long process, but it works. For personal accounts, it’s just content. The more content you have, the better. Posting three times a day, your friends may hate it, but that will land you on the Explore page at some point. Keep your page consistent and make the content interesting and fun.

I. Marlene King produces “Famous In Love” and also “Pretty Little Liars.” What’s she like?

She’s legendary. She just knows what she’s doing all the time. She knows exactly what needs to be done and she gets it done. And that’s the mark of a legend, in my opinion. I just like her ideas for making the characters’ choices unpredictable. It’s one of her best traits when it comes to writing.

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Let’s talk about your upcoming movie “The Bachelors.” This is totally different from your TV show. What can fans expect to see?

They can expect a completely different Charlie. The role I have in that is polar opposite of Jake. It was really fun to play, but he’s a complete d**k in the movie. I play the bully character to the lead kid. There’s a scene in the cafeteria where we get into this brawl and it’s so well-shot. It’s very cool.

What was it like working with Oscar winner J.K. Simmons on “The Bachelors?”

I’m pretty honest when people ask me about actors and how they are. He’s a nice person. He’s just quiet. He’s very focused and into his work. He was amazing though. He pulls it out of thin air and at a moment’s notice he’s crying or knocking his head against the wall. He’s really good.

Who’s an actor that inspires your career?

Heath Ledger, for sure. I think one of the huge things that propelled me to act is I was really quick with impressions. Ever since I was a kid, I could get an accent down or get somebody’s voice down. Right after “The Dark Knight” came out, within a day or two I had The Joker impression pretty much locked down. I’d do it at school and my friends thought it was the coolest thing ever. From there I ended up going out for the sixth grade play.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you could have given yourself when you first started your acting career?

Just prepare more. Early on, I wasn’t always prepared going into auditions, but every single one is an opportunity so you have to make sure you do your best for each one.

If you could guest star on any TV show right now, what would it be? 

“Game of Thrones.” 

What are you most proud of having worked on so far? 

My company, Respark.

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? 

At this very moment I want to go to Hawaii. I’ve never been!

If you could have dinner with any three celebrities, dead or alive, who would they be?

Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla and Michael Faraday.