Based on the popular series of novels by Sara Shepard, Pretty Little Liars follows four estranged best friends who are reunited one year after their best friend and queen bee of the group, Alison, goes missing – only to discover they are receiving text messages from an anonymous ‘A’ who knows all of their secrets.
I spoke with Shay Mitchell, who plays Emily, and Troian Bellisario, who portrays Spenser on the series; two of the four friends who find they must stick together to keep each other’s secrets.
What are your two Pretty Little Liars characters like?
Shay: I play Emily Fields and she is I’d say the sweetest out of the bunch, the good girl and she’s extremely loyal to all of her friends.
She’s grappling with her sexuality and trying to figure out what it is and who she is and, coming from conservative parents, this is a little bit difficult for her.
That’s one of her secrets and there’s a new girl in town that she may be interested in. This show isn’t shying away from anything.
Troian: I play Spencer Hastings who is overachieving, highly academic, succeeds at everything she does because she makes it her priority. She’s under a lot of pressure. Her whole family want her to go to the best school.
They’ve planned out her life for her, not unfamiliar to a lot of people out there and she’s struggling because she might be thinking, ‘I don’t know what I’d actually like to do and nobody around me is letting me figure it out.
They’re saying, ‘No. You do this. You’re getting straight ‘A’s and that’s what you should be doing’.
She meets her sister’s fiancé and he’s kind, wonderful, smart and hilarious and he’s the first person who says, ‘What do YOU want to do?’ And she can’t help being attracted to him and he is to her.
Do you guys know who these texts signed “A” are actually coming from?
Shay: A certain amount. We still don’t know everything from reading the books. The fans of the books still don’t know.
Troian: The fans are waiting for the final book, which is coming out in June.
Shay: We’ve read all the books but we don’t know what finally happens and for people just tuning in, it will be a while. It’s a big mystery unfolding.
How different is the series from the books?
Shay: It’s very similar to the books and what Sara Shephard has created as far as all the girls’ characters. We have to add a few twists and turns to keep the readers on their toes because they may think they know everything but they do not.
Troian: I think the fans will be really happy because the characters are really true to Sara Shephard’s creation but they’re not going be able to sit back and be like, ‘Oh, yeah, I remember that’. There will be a lot of (changes)