Pretty Little Liars has become a new favorite of mine. I had high hopes for this show since the beginning because I was a big fan of the book series. Sometimes it’s hard to see a book adapted to a television series or movie because while you read, you form a vision in your head of what the characters look and act like. Sara Shepard’s style of writing is so descriptive that she doesn’t leave too much to be imagined. However, Pretty Little Liars really brings to life these characters in a great way. There are things that are different but as a whole, it really does justice to Shepard’s writing. In the book, one of my favorite characters was Alison DiLaurentis. There was a lot of mystery and intrigue surrounding her (Is she A? Who is A?), and not just because she went missing. On the show, Sasha Pieterse truly personifies Alison. She does a wonderful job of bringing life (or death?) to Ali, and I only wish we saw more flashbacks. I recently had the chance to chat with Sasha (who is quite lovely) about the show, Alison and her manipulative ways (perhaps she is a protegee to Regina George from Mean Girls?) and why everyone should be tuning in.
I’ve read the books, so I know a fair amount. But tell us a little bit more about your character Alison DiLaurentis.
She is very feisty. She’s the queen bee of the school, and the girls. There’s five best friends, and she kind of rules over them. She’s like Regina George [from Mean Girls]. She’s very manipulative, but at the same time, she’s got a really sweet side too. She really does care for the girls, but she kind of has them under her thumb. (laughs)
Are you anything like her at all?
Um, (laughs), I like her style, and I kind of like the way she does things. She’s fun to play. I can kind of relate to her, I guess.
It’d be weird if you were like “I’m exactly like her!” (laughs)
(laughs) Yeah, I feel bad sometimes reading the script and then filming the scenes. And I feel bad because I totally belittle someone, and I’m just like “Oh I’m sorry!” but it’s so much fun. She’s like my guilty pleasure to play.
You have read the books. What about the books have you taken and brought to Ali? And what did you enjoy most about the books?
First of all, I love Sara [Shepard's] writing. Everything is so, so detailed and graphic. You can visualize everything, and I love that about it. And I love how she describes every characters so immensely — it’s just amazing how she does [it]. It’s kind of nice just to bring Alison alive. Because in the books, too, she describes her and so to put a face to Alison is really important because there are a lot of flashbacks in the books. And I think the show is a better understanding of who Alison is, which is good. I think the fans will really enjoy it.
You had mentioned you think Ali is like Regina George. Do you take any aspects from her and bring her to the role?
Oh definitely. You know how Regina George is so manipulative, that she’ll do something in a sweet way but it really has an evil meaning? And it’s just how you twist people’s emotions and get them to do what you want them to. Regina’s really like that, and I think Alison is too. I think Alison definitely has the control on the girls and no one really wants to be controlled by a mean person all the time, but when you’re really sweet about, it’s even more twisted, but it gets them to do what you want.
A scene in the movie that sticks out for me is when Cady’s character realizes Regina’s backhanded compliments, and that she doesn’t like her bracelet.
And do you have a favorite moment from filming the show so far?
There’s been a few. In Vancouver [where the pilot was filmed], it was freezing, it was like negative seven degree weather, which was crazy. And there’s one scene where Troian [Bellisario, who plays Spencer] and I are in our bathing suits outside. It’s supposed to be this nice summer day, we have all the lights on, it looks summer-y from the camera side. And then there’s snow falling in Troian’s hair and my hair but you can see more in Troian’s. So they had to cut the taping, and put something over her. We had to put a canopy over us so you couldn’t see the snow. And then we’re breathing really hard, so you can see the air, so we had breathe through our noses and all that kind of stuff. It was fun, actually.