Jake Manley has truly delivered this summer. He stars alongside Bella Thorne in the new movie Infamous, which is out on VOD and in select drive-in theaters now. This film is a wild roller coaster that takes a sharp look at social media and fame, with a Bonnie and Clyde twist.
In addition to Infamous, season 2 of The Order drops June 18. Jake is back as Jack Morton, and the new season picks up in the aftermath of that game-changing season 1 finale twist. Jake talked with HollywoodLife about Dean and Arielle’s complicated relationship in Infamous, how he felt about Dean’s fate, what’s ahead for Jack and Alyssa in The Order, and so much more.
First, I have to ask, which role did you dye your hair for?
Jake Manley: I dyed my hair for Infamous, and then it was really tight switch over to The Order. They liked the look, so they decided to write it in the first few episodes of season 2.
Infamous is this crazy wild Bonnie and Clyde-esque love story that really explores the depths of social media and fame. What stood out about the role of Dean that made you want to take this project on?
Jake Manley: When I first read the script, I was like, this is crazy. I don’t know if I buy this. I don’t know if I believe this. By the end of the story, I kind of just sat with it for a day or two. I re-read it and was like, man, this actually could happen. Maybe not 5-10 years ago, but as we keep going forward this becomes more of like a reality. The more I looked into it, I realized that this is really polarizing to what is going on in society. I’ve never been a big part of social media or knew how to work that game. That’s what I thought was great about the character of Dean because he’s just the guy that’s trying to fly right. He spent some time in the prison systems, and he’s never really had a solid partner. He finds that in Arielle. He’s kind of enamored by this girl. He doesn’t know anything about this world of social media or the impact it has. That just kind of drew me to the character. I don’t think I would have been able to be the Arielle, the social media pusher. But that’s why Bella is just so perfect for that role. No one else could have done that like she did. I met up with Bella, and we were able to talk about the script and just hang out and get to know each other. After that, I definitely wanted jump on board with this and tell the story.
What do you love the most about Dean and Arielle’s relationship?
Jake Manley: I think it’s the push and pull. You want so bad to have one thing and make it work, but it’s not working. I like that kind of struggle because I think that is a reality in a lot of relationships. I just think at the end of the day these two characters only have each other and these fans. Fame is like a farce. They don’t actually have friends or family, so they’re just kind of stuck with each other. There’s no way to really get out. They’re a dysfunctional couple, but it’s like: what else do they do? Josh Caldwell, the director and writer, and I several times talked about that first scene with them talking around the fire. It’s almost cute. This story could go in a different direction. This guy doesn’t know what he’s getting into, and the whole time you just want Dean to walk away because it’s just leading him down to more trouble.
Arielle has one idea of fame and social media, and Dean feels the complete opposite. If the ending hadn’t transpired the way it did, do you think those two would have lasted?
Jake Manley: Definitely not. There’s a huge power dynamic that shifts like throughout the movie. Dean seems like he’s in control and in charge, and then it just completely flips to Arielle, and Dean’s not sure what to do. He’s just being strung along. But no, I don’t see them going further than they did. It’s just like that classic end to that couple. I don’t doubt that those characters have love for each other and things like that, but I don’t know. That’s a good question. Who knows, maybe they would have ended up together.
Dean does die at the end. When I was watching the movie, it almost seemed like Dean was at peace with dying. Did you view it that way?
Jake Manley: Absolutely. Josh and I talked about that because Dean says, “Now we both get what we want.” Arielle gets her fame, and he’s getting out. He doesn’t want to go back to this prison system. I don’t think this character had much to live for, so in the end, they kind of both get what they want.
The ending really caught me by surprise. When Arielle walks out and sees all of her fans, that really just shook me. Did you have a similar reaction when you saw that in the script?
Jake Manley: Yes, I did. Besides the script, when we were actually filming that part, it was so wild and apparent. I think that scene makes the movie, and you couldn’t have faked it with just sound or anything. It’s interesting to think about if she walked out and it was just quiet. It’s almost like: is this in her head? I think that’s something Josh wanted to leave you with as well. The whole movie is told from her view and her perspective, and she’s got such a distorted view of reality in the world that you wonder if this in her head.
The Order is also coming back for season 2 after quite the finale. That ending really caught a lot of people by surprise, especially the final moments with Jack and Alyssa. Do you think he’ll be able to forgive Alyssa for what she did in those final moments?
Jake Manley: I thought about that for a while, too, at the end of the season because I didn’t know how they were going to start season 2. If this character is going to forgive her, there better be a good reason and there better be some convincing. I was interested to see how they were going to spin that, and I think they’ve done a really good job. You learn why she did it, and it makes sense. It seems to be for the greater good, and I think that’s how Jack overcomes that. But it’s a wound that takes time to heal. I thought it was a great ending. It just left the stakes high, and it picks up at such a good point.
Obviously, Jack doesn’t have a lot of his memories now. How does that change his trajectory at the beginning of the season?
Jake Manley: He’s way off course at the beginning of this season. He’s not himself. He’s been manipulated to believe something else, and there’s a lot of humor in that. There are some really funny outcomes because of that, but he slowly starts regaining those memories and piecing things together.
Alyssa and Jack had finally gotten to a good, solid place at the end of the season before that twist. What can you tease about their relationship in season 2?
Jake Manley: It’s similar to season 1. These are two characters who are caught in 2 different worlds, and they want to be together. It’s the classic Romeo and Juliet thing, so it’s about them trying to make things work. People are just going to have to watch, but I can tell you there are a lot of good moments in season 2.
What about the Knights?
Jake Manley: I’d say they have a long road to regaining their power dynamic, but the Knights are crafty. They’re not going to give up. They find a way to get even.
What kinds of villains will Jack, Alyssa, and the others be facing this season?
Jake Manley: They’ve got their hands full. There are new villains, and they’re going to have to put aside their differences to come together and team up to get rid of these guys. There are amazing new villains who might not always be who you think.
A little bit down the road you have a new holiday movie called Holidate. Is this is your first holiday movie?
Jake Manley: I did a Christmas movie a long time ago, but this is my first full-blown holiday movie. This one covers all the holidays. That’s why it’s so great. It spans over the course of the year, so it’s relative to any holiday, which I love.
I feel like holiday movies have made a comeback.
Jake Manley: Everyone loves a good holiday movie. So everyone’s trying to make the next classic. I definitely think that this movie will be. I think that it’s got everything going for it — an amazing cast and funny story. I can’t wait for people to see this. It was the most fun I’ve ever had filming a movie.