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Sasha Pieterse

Much More Than a Pretty Little Liar

by Deborah Wagner

Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 31, 2015.

If you're a Pretty Little Liars fan, then you are undoubtedly counting the days until Tuesday's season six premiere.  With a frightening end to last season that left loyal fans both shocked and confused, Pretty Little Liars remains ABC Family's most popular and talked about show.

One of the reasons for the wide appeal of PLL is undoubtedly the talented group of writers led by Marlene King.  Together, they have successfully kept fans on the edge of their seats for six seasons with unlimited cliffhangers likeÖ  Who is A?   Who is buried in the grave?  Who is red coat?  Is Mona really dead?  Did she do it?  And of course the big one nowÖ  Who the heck is Charles?

One fave in the complex cast of characters is Alison DiLaurentis, played by nineteen-year-old actress Sasha Pieterse.  Fans either love or hate Ali as she continues to wreak havoc on the lives of the other liars, their friends and families... as well as everyone else she crosses paths with in Rosewood, Pennsylvania.

Last week we had the pleasure of speaking with Pieterse during a conference call about the upcoming sixth season of PLL.  She shared her thoughts on many things PLL and also dropped some bombshells about new storylines, relationships and answers to some outstanding questions that we are all waiting to hear.     

Whatís in store in with Charlesí new mission to complete his doll collection with the real Alison?

I can tell you that Charles is somehow related to the DiLaurentis family, which is a huge spoiler.  (Laughs)  So, use it wisely, but I think thatís exactly it.  Charles is obsessed with the girls and obsessed with everything that he has created in his mind.  To have the real Alison is his obsession and his dream.  That is going to be really strange in the summer season that weíre having.  Itís going to be really eerie and dark as usual, but there are things that you havenít seen before as well.  This is a new element for Pretty Little Liars.  We finally found out who A is.  Everything is going to fall into place, make sense and weíll find out how this has all come about, as well as the history of Charles and the reason he is so obsessed. 

Itís cool because weíre so far from what the average teenage show is all about.  I think thatís why we have so many different age ranges that really appreciate the show.  It really does dive into so many different things.  Itís a murder mystery and itís all this psychological drama that happens.  Thatís just what Charles is.  Heís this self-destructive hyper-sensitive crazy genius that is haunting these girls, and his ultimate dollhouse does include Alison.  Youíre just going to see us trying to figure out what his plans are and how heís going to accomplish that, or trying to stay one step ahead.

How long will Alison be staying in the dark when it comes to Charles being ďAĒ and his relationship to her?

Honestly, I donít completely know yet!  Not everything is written yet.  Weíre still in the process of filming.  Iím in the dark about that too.  I enjoy finding out all these different secrets that are coming about.  What Marlene will share with me and what everyone knows.  There are things that I found out about Charles already that I cannot share with you, but I can tell you that itís going in a super cool direction and not something that I would have expected.  I think the fans are going to really enjoy it.  Weíre really enjoying playing our characters right now, because everything is so different.  Everything that weíre going to be filming is so different.  This is totally reinvented and itís a lot of fun.

Is the name ďCharlesĒ going to ring a bell for Alison when the girls return and tell her, or will she be as clueless as them?

She has no clue who this person is.  Iím pretty sure Iím able to say that.  (laughs)  Itís completely a shock to her.  So, that also brings up if Charles is somehow related to the DiLaurentis family, how come no one knew about him.  That unravels a whole other different but cool storyline actually, because as much as everyone knows whatís happened and the girls are trying to figure it out, theyíre also following their own storyline and their own demons.  Weíve always known that Alison has a strange family, but now it just goes so much deeper and so much darker.  Itís really hard for her to trust anyone.  She canít even trust her own family completely.  Iíve actually really enjoyed watching that unravel and playing that out. 

What can you tell us about Andrew and what he has to do with Charles?

I have to be vague about that, but itís a really good question.  Andrew is a weird component in all of this.  I canít really tell you if heís Charles or not, but he definitely has something.  It might not be what you think it is, but heís really cool.  He came out of nowhere.  But at the same time, he was always there.  I know fans arenít necessarily surprised because theyíre going and re-watching the episodes that he was in and are now really suspicious of him, which they should be.  Itís this weird dynamic, especially now between him and Aria and why heís doing what heís doing.  So, I think the fans will enjoy the outcome of what happens to Andrew for sure.

Can you tell us who Alisonís love interest is going to be in season six and how that relationship will unfold?

Itís a healthy relationship and itís the first time Alison has really had a connection like this.  Obviously, sheís had a connection with Emily, but this is very different and honest.  Thereís not that history that there was with the girls, which I think is important.  Itís cool for her to start anew and thatís the best way to do it.  To be honest, itís very new for her and Iím actually not sure exactly where itís going to go yet either, but itís a little bit of a surprise.  I think the fans are going to love and hate that.  Thereís going to be a lot of Emison fans that are going to be very disappointed, but this is life.  This is what happens. 

Everyoneís had a relationship except for Alison.  Thereís been Emily and Alison, but itís so on and off that it wasnít consistent like Toby and Spencer, or Hanna and Caleb.  This is a cool version of what a regular teenager would be going through.  Itís been fun to play.  Itís weird.  Youíve heard of Alisonís previous boyfriends and flings, but youíve never actually seen it.  So, I think itís a nice, refreshing and innocent in a way, a side with Alison that we havenít seen before.

How far ahead do you get to see the script?

We are on our eighth episode now and youíre about to see the first episode.  So, weíre quite far ahead.  I should say that we havenít started the time jump yet.  As much as I know a little bit, Iím also being honest in saying that I donít really know a lot about our time jump yet.  Theyíre still writing it.  (laughs)  Itís fun to sneak in the writersí room and ask questions and see how much theyíll tell me.  Itís going to be really fun to do that time jump.  We get to see everything before everyone else does, but not as much you think.

Where will we find Ali after the time jump during season six? 

Well, I canít tell you too much obviously because itís a secret, (laughs) but Iím really excited about it.  All of us are really excited about it.  Itís something new and different that the fans havenít seen before.  Itís an interesting twist because so many different weird things happened to the girls at this time in their lives in high school.  Now this is something totally different.  Theyíre grown up and their life has moved in different directions.  I think the fans are going to really enjoy seeing that.  I also think that weíre really going to enjoy acting and playing that out and seeing how characters are working together again.  So, Iím very excited.

Did you ever think Alison was guilty, and how did you go about playing that as an actress?

Alison has been so fun for me because I also never know. Sheís had so many different storylines.  There was a part of me at one point that I did think that she was guilty.  Then I thought about it and realized as twisted and as messed up as she is in all of the lying she does, generally thereís a reason for it.  As everyone found out that she was alive, we also realized that she now isnít as selfish as she was before.  Sheís learned so many different things about herself and about the world.  About the reality of ďAĒ and how dangerous ďAĒ is and trying to protect her friends, even though the girls didnít think so for a while.

I think some of the fans were convinced.  She kind of prevailed.  Now, sheís trying to make everything better and sheís also trying to learn about her family life.  Everything is a lot more serious to her.  Itís not about the clothes that sheís wearing or how to diss someone.  Itís much more about protecting herself, her friends and her family and really finding out what Rosewood is hiding.

Sheís really grown as a character and thatís fun for me.  Itís been such a crazy arc, and to now sometimes be vulnerable and nice has been a nice change, because she was never that way.  Everything that sheís feeling now is genuine.  Sheís not manipulating anyone anymore.  Sheís really trying to figure out her demons and what caused her to do things. Sheís realizing that there were things in her family and things that she was told when she was younger.  Now itís a total subconscious thing and there were so many reasons for the things that she did that she didnít even know.  They were so engrained in her.

I really enjoyed playing out my now family storyline too.  Itís been a fun change, and I think fans are really going to enjoy that too because weíve never seen that before.  Weíve never seen this common dynamic that I can tell you a lot about, but itís going to be really interesting.  I really enjoyed having scenes with my dad too.  He is so great!  Jim [Abele] is so great and nice.  He really portrays daddy DiLaurentis very well.  Heís had to do some fun stuff.  Iím looking forward to what people think of Alisonís family, because itís so twisted.

Do you think Alisonís apology to Paige came from a genuine place?  What is their dynamic together?

It definitely was a genuine apology.  Alisonís going through a lot of turmoil and sheís realized how much sheís hurt people.  Now that sheís out of jail, she really has to face people and everything that sheís dealt with.  I mean her whole path is now brought to life and light.  Sheís had to face everyone and that was a really cool moment between both Paige and Alison.  In that moment I think that was a very genuine apology and she also saw how much Paige and Emily loved each other.  Itís like she has a new respect for Paige.  Paige was not the person that she left when she disappeared. 

What do you think it is thatís so compelling about the dynamic between Alison and Emily?

Thereís such a powerful connection between them and honestly, both of them donít know what it is.  Alison cares about her a lot and I donít think she really knows what her feelings are.  Sheís not sure if theyíre misplaced or not, but the definite truth there is that they have such a strong friendship.  As much as Alison has gone astray, done so many crazy things and has lost their trust, lost her trust and gained her trust back again, there will always be that connection there.  I donít think thatíll ever disappear.  Emily was her pit bull.  In the book thatís how they described it.  She was always protecting Alison, no matter what.  Thatís carried through even now.  When Alison was found, or at least the girls found out that she was innocent, I think that made Alison and Emily even closer because that was Emilyís mistake and now it was Emily asking for her forgiveness. 

So, that was also interesting.  That was a great dynamic between the two of them and good for the fans to know.  I know everyone is so for Emison.  I totally understand because of how many great scenes Emily and Alison have had.  But, itís also important for at least the teenage girls watching our show to recognize that not everything stays connected; not everything always comes together.  This is a high school relationship and they deeply care about each other.  But, this show is really doing a really great job of showing their relationship grow and their relationship arc.  Marlene has really good plans for their relationship and where the fans will like it, but at the same time, itís a realistic thing.  Itís really real.  Some of them might not like it, but some of them will.  Itís a really important change.  Youíll see some of that go through the time jump as well.  They definitely do care about each other.  I think their feelings are genuine either way it goes.

What will Alisonís relationship be like with Mona?

Itís pretty strange.  Theyíre nervous of each other, probably Mona more than Alison, but I think theyíre starting a friendship in a very strange way.  As much as theyíre different, theyíre very similar too.  Theyíre now learning how to be around each other without protecting themselves because now everything is out there.  Everyone knew now that Mona would stay and now sheís not.  Now Mona also was trying to convict Alison of murder and now that Mona knows that that wasnít accurate, itís this weird vibe between the two of them.  At the same time, Mona was kidnapped as well.  Alison helped save Mona too.  Itís a weird dynamic, but I think their friendship will grow as time goes on. 

Do you think anybody will ever fully trust Alison with everything that sheís done?

Honestly, people in Rosewood that donít know her, like the girls do probably not trust her.  Itís going to be really hard for her to clear her past and make people understand that sheís not that person anymore.  Now that Alisonís genuinely changing, I think it will get easier for her once sheís start gaining peopleís trust again.  Youíll see her love interest help out with that, which is also a cool aspect.  Itís a cool aspect to Alison, growing up and changing her persona.  Sheíll master it almost completely.  There will still be a little bit of a doubt with certain subjects, but I think for the most part sheíll be okay. 

What is the biggest change you think we will see in the upcoming season?

Itís weird that the police know the truth now, but I think itís even stranger that the parents do because now you hear the parents talk about ďAĒ and all the terrible things that ďAĒ has done.  Thatís a weird change, because thereís not a lot the girls can hide from their parents now.  Thereís still a lot that they can, but now they know the dangers of Rosewood and ďAĒ with Charles.  So, itís curfews and having to know where they are all the time.  Not trusting them when they say theyíre going to a sleepover because they feel like theyíre not actually.  That kind of stuff.  Fair enough, they got kidnapped and that would be an absolute crazy fear for a parent, but the fact that theyíre using the word ďAĒ now is really strange to see on the page and to hear her say it.  I think the fans are going to be a little weirded out about that, because now the parents are in on it in a way.  That was something that you would never have imagined before.

How did it feel to play such an intense scene when Ali was found guilty of murder?

It was weird.  That was our first time in a courtroom for the show, which you think would be strange.  You think we should have had a lot more court scenes.  (laughs)  Being convicted felt a little real.  It was really strange.  I mean we had the handcuffs and everything.  Being in an actual courtroom and being in that environment, having such an emotional scene, yes, it was very intense, but fun at the same time.  It was really important for everyone to see how emotional and vulnerable Alison was, especially since we now know that she didnít do it, and thatís a very real thing.  Thatís a very twisted thing.  People go to jail for things they didnít do so many times that it was interesting to see a girl go through that.  It was definitely fun to play.  The girl that played my lawyer [Lauren Tom], sheís so sweet.  She was Rossí girlfriend on Friends and I had no idea!  (laughs)  So, that was fun talking to her too.  We had a really good time building those scenes.

If you can give Ali any piece of advice going into season six what would it be? 

To be honest.  That is literally my answer.  (laughs)  She needs to be honest now with everyone and go wholeheartedly into things instead of always trying to protect herself.  Sheís so scared of failing and getting hurt now, which obviously that is okay.  Itís a genuine reaction for her given everything that sheís been through, but that would be my advice to her.  Start letting go of all the fears that sheís had even though Charles is still on the loose. 

Do you think there are any worlds in which itís still possible that Alison could be ďAĒ? 

In Marleneís world anything can happen (laughs), but I honestly do believe that sheís innocent.  I donít think that sheís ďA.Ē  I think sheís done some weird and terrible things and maybe she sacrificed some sanity in the girls in order to accomplish something else.  I definitely think that sheís extremely manipulative, but I think sheís grown out of that.  I donít think thereís a possibility for her to be ďAĒ anymore.  Sheís gotten way too hurt for that for it to be a genuine reason for her to be ďA.Ē  So, no, I donít think that she could ever be ďA.Ē  But you never know.  (laughs again)

Are we ever going to find out who Varjak and Red Coat are as well?

I have to be vague on that for sure, but this is the summer of answers.  (laughs)  Thereís definitely some surprises in there that I wouldnít have even expected.  Marlene is great and I think the fans will be satisfied and itís going to be a cool way to connect everything.  Theyíre so smart.  Theyíre geniuses.  Itís insane what they come up with.  Even when I think that thereís nowhere it can go, Marlene and our writers prove me wrong.  Itís a really cool storyline and I think the fans are going to really enjoy it.

Do you have anything in common with Ali?

I would hope not.  (laughs)  I get asked that question so many times and itís a very valid question too.  I have a really happy, healthy family relationship.  I definitely donít have the twisted one that she does and I would hope Iím not going to.  But, thereís parts about her that sure are enjoyable.  Youíre seeing that as well.  I feel like Iím totally opposite.  I hope that Iím totally opposite.  Iím told that Iím totally opposite.  So, Iíll stick with that.  (laughs again)

How dark is season six going to be, and how would you tease our listeners into watching the sixth season of Pretty Little Liars?

Itís really dark.  Thatís why I mentioned it earlier, that we have such a broad age range of viewers.  The girls go through very adult things.  This is definitely the darkest season that weíve encountered and I think that is because we brought Charles into it.  Now that youíve realized that this is someone that could be a lot closer than anyone ever knew, I think itís frightening.  We start to find things about Charles and it just gets more and more disturbing.  Itís interesting.  This season is kind of horror-esque.  Not completely,  because we still have our little comedy aspect and the girls still go to school, but thereís a lot of twisted things that, I mean at their age, they should never be going through.  This is not a normal situation.

Itís very dark, especially considering everything that happened to them in the dollhouse.  Youíll start to find out what it was, and itís really dark.  Thatís really the craziest aspect of it.  Letís be honest, this is an ABC Family show, but these girls got tortured and kidnapped by this person that they donít know that knows everything about them.  Thatís a really dark subject.  Thatís a really weird aspect of the show, especially originally a teenagerís show.

As much as itís fun, yes, itís weird.  A lot of times, thereís nine-year-olds, seven-year-olds thatíll come up and be like, ďI really love your show.Ē  Itís so surprising to me that those kids are watching our show.  I know a lot of it will go over their head, but weíre dealing with really dark things.  Itís been interesting to see how broad the viewers are, which is great.  Itís really dark and I wonder how the parents are going to react.  Theyíre watching it with their kids too, but itís been a really fun place.  Our show still does it in a really classy way and still makes it really fun.  For all the viewers who have to watch the show with their lights on, theyíre going to have to grab a blanket and lock all their windows and doors to watch this.

Is there another other storyline that you wish you could have acted yourself, like Aria or Spencer or anything interesting that you wish you could have gotten to play out?

Honestly, Spencer has been my favorite characters.  Obviously, I love playing Alison, but I just love how intelligent Spencer is and all the things that she comes up with.  Sheís still so intelligent and the things that she does and the things that she knows are really great.  I think sheís got a really fun character.  So, if I could trade, it would probably be Spencer.  But, everyone is so funny.  I mean I love how funny Hannaís character is and the lines that she has are classic.  Aria too and Emily because Shay [Mitchell] thinks itís hilarious all the things that she has to do for Emily.  The writers have done such a good job at shaping these characters to some of the things that they do in life as well, which I think is cool because Troian [Bellasario] is actually very much like Spencer.  Because of how smart she is sheís able to say all these crazy words and every now and then, weíll be like, ďTroy, how do I say thatĒ and thatís exactly what it is when sheís Spencer.  (laughs)  So, I think thatís really important. 

I thankfully have not been molded for Alison.  I think thatís important for everyone to know.  (laughs again)  Other than that, theyíve done a really good job at shaping our characters so that itís really easy and natural for us to play them.  I donít think I could ever do Spencer justice compared to Troian.  I think sheís perfect, Troian, but I definitely love her character.  (laughs more)

If you could guest star or join the cast of another ABC Family television show, what show would you want to be on?

Thatís a really hard question because we have so many fun shows.  I mean this is a drama, so I think probably a comedy.  I love cooking (Young & Hungry)Baby Daddy is so funny too.  I donít know! 

What has the transition been like behind the scenes for you working, going from a child to an adult?

Itís pretty crazy because I was 12 when I did the pilot.  Everyone was much older than me.  At the same time, I never really felt the difference.  I always had older friends.  I was the only child.  I was home schooled.  I graduated at 14.  So, Iíve had an abnormal childhood in the best way.  I loved it.  I would never have changed it.  So, everything came naturally.  Alisonís character has been so much fun.  Sheís done so many crazy things.  I mean sure, sheís maturing now, but she hasnít really calmed down necessarily.  Thereís been an arc in her character, but itís not like they really catered Alison to the younger me just because I was younger. 

That wasnít necessarily a big change, but youíre right.  I have grown up on the show.  This is such a great platform for me which has been fun.  To now play someone who is younger than myself because itís always opposite.  Iíve always been playing someone older.  When I was four, I was [playing] a six-year-old.  So, this is a different change for me, to play someone who hasnít graduated yet and isnít 18 yet.  Almost 18.  But, that aspect is really strange for me, because now Iím older than my character.  Itís been fun to deal with all the teenage problems that I donít have anymore.

How often do you and your other cast members read the fan theories around Pretty Little Liars and have you ever read one that was dead on?

Thereís been a few that have been head on.  People thought that Charles was a family member somehow.  So, they guessed that right.  (laughs)  Even before that, thereís been so many different things that they have put out there that have been really, really strangely accurate.  I think thatís great!  Thereís so many fans that are so intrigued and interested in our show.  [They] literally watch our seasons over and over again to pick up on little things and they piece it together.  There are some things that they piece together that we never thought that they would and then we have to rewrite it.  Weíre like, ďOh, how did they catch thatĒ and we have to change it a little bit because theyíre so spot on. 

Itís amazing that they do that.  As mysterious as our show is, our fans are really picking up the pieces, which is unusual.  You usually watch a show and as much as youíre frustrated or want something to turn out the way it is, you donít really research it and watch it with a microscope.  Thatís cool about our show, that our fans are in love with it that much that theyíre that invested to do that.  I have read a few theories that even though necessarily theyíre not whatíll happen, theyíre really interesting and cool and intriguing.  We really appreciate that.  A lot of times, itís funny.  We think itís really funny and we all sit together and read some funny things and what the fans think.  I think the fans should know that we read and we listen and enjoy their input for sure.


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