October 27, 2016
        "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars        

Pretty Little Liars – Secrets of ABC Family’s New Series

By Fred Topel

HollywoodNews.com: Pretty Little Liars is ABC Family’s new series about a group of girls whose secrets come back to haunt them. When their ringleader, Allison, goes missing they start to get messages from her. Is she communicating with them from the grave, or are there other mysterious forces at work?

“It’s figuring out who is haunting us with these messages,” Ashley Benson said. “We have no idea if it’s Alison because she’s missing but there’s things that happen and five minutes later we get a message. It’s literally someone is watching us 24-7 and we don’t know who it is so it’s eerie in that way but there’s really no ghosts.”

Co-star Lucy Hale added, “Basically, we just don’t know if our friend’s alive or dead, if she’s sending us these messages and if it’s not her, who is it?”

Whoever is sending these messages sure is trying to make it seem like they’re Alison, whether alive or dead. Shay Mitchell explained. “Because the leader of the group, Alison, has disappeared and we are receiving messages from someone who is signing off as A,” Mitchell said in a group interview. “So we’re thinking that it’s Alison but if she’s gone missing, how would it be her? So I can understand how it could look like that.”

Troian Bellisario doesn’t think it’s Allison’s ghost. “Also, the messages that we’re receiving are all these threats to expose secrets that only Alison knew,” Bellisario said. “Some that we didn’t even know about each other, but that Alison knew and while she was the queen bee of our group held over us, things like frenemies. She would kind of hold that over each one of our heads and kind of keep us separate and under her power. She was a very manipulative young girl. It could be from her kidnapper, because we don’t really know what happened or if she’s been kidnapped, if she’s dead, if she’s fine and vacationing.”

These secrets start coming to light in the very first episode, said Hale. Benson added that there are surely more secrets to come. “And how do they know all of our secrets because [Alison] was the only one who knew,” Benson asked. “I’m sure we’ll have more but right now, they’re deep, they’re dark and they’re juicy.”

Bellisario said that even if there are clues that point to a ghost, don’t believe it. “Well, you find out something very, very great in the pilot which might be why you think there’s a bit of a supernatural ghost element,” Bellisario said. “But it’s not the whole story and you can’t trust it. You can’t trust anything on this show called Pretty Little Liars. Don’t trust anything on this show.”

Allison is only one of the mysteries on Pretty Little Liars. “Look for suspense, fashion, boys,” Benson teased. “It’s juicy. Everybody can relate to it. It’s just going to be a great show. There’s comedy, there’s drama. It’s just all elements put into one show.”

Don’t be fooled by the ABC Family label either. Pretty Little Liars is as scandalous as it sounds. “That’s one thing I was kind of worried about but the moment you read the first page of the script you’re like, ‘Okay, this is gonna be good,’” Hale said. “ABC Family is definitely stepping it up a little and becoming more mature and darker. It’s unlike ABC Family’s ever done before when it comes to material and the issues that the show is about. So I was definitely very intrigued when I read the script and the name is the first thing. The name of the show, I was like wow, that’s a great title.”

So look for a whole new group of bad girls on TV this summer. “I feel like I couldn’t be squeaky clean if I tried,” Bellisario said. “You can hear it in my voice. It was funny because that’s why when I first auditioned for ABC Family I had a blast in the audition but I would call my agents, I was like, ‘That’s not happening.’ They were like, ‘Why?’ I was like, ‘No, I did a great job, I loved it but I’m not going to be on ABC Family, you kidding? You know me.’ Then I got a call back and I was like this is fun, but no, they’re not going to [hire me] and I got another callback. So I think that’s why it kind of is a kind of different show because they don’t want to be squeaky clean. They want to talk about real things and I don’t think they didn’t do that in the past, but they’re not shying away from anything anymore. So I am really proud because that allowed me to get a job.”

Pretty Little Liars premieres June 8 on ABC Family.

About Fred Topel

Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist in Los Angeles since 1999, for websites like Daily Radar, About.com, Crave Online and Sci Fi Wire. Follow his celebrity encounters on Twitter @FredTopel.

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