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Pretty Little Liars: SideReel Interview with Actress Troian Bellisario about PLL Season 2!

Thanks to ABC Family, SideReel's Yael got a chance to talk with Pretty Little Liars star, Troian Bellisario. Troian plays Spencer Hastings, one of the liars - some would even say the most level headed of the Liars. With fan input, Yael interrogated Troian some important questions about A, the other Liars, and what we can look forward to in Season Two.

~ If you're not caught up through the first episode of Season Two, consider this your OFFICIAL SPOILER ALERT! ~

Check out Troian's answers to some of YOUR burning questions!

Troian: It’s actually kind of difficult for me to speak about [Troian's] evolution just because I’m steeped in it and I just feel like there is so much more that she can do. I think Spencer’s biggest evolution has been being able to let go in terms of she’s learned through getting her friends back how to keep friends and how to be supportive. I think Spencer because of the family that she grew up with has a very strong and black and white sense of what is right and what is wrong and she sometimes thinks that she can control other people.
She’s learned to kind of just be supportive of her friends and not let that get in the way of their friendship. I still think she has a long way to go with that in terms of being judgmental of other people and I think her biggest lesson in that was her relationship with Toby. She really ran the gamut as far as thinking that he was the one who killed Alison; he was the one who might be involved with A, and he was their mortal enemy and now there is nobody she holds closer than her friends and Toby.

QUESTION: How does [Ian potentially still being alive] change the dynamic between Spencer and Melissa?
Troian: Well, it’s funny because I totally understand where Melissa is coming from. This is the father of her child. This is the man that she saw herself being connected to for the rest of her life. To hear the possibility that he could have killed somebody in the past and attempted to kill her sister—there is almost a safety and finality in his being dead.
If he is alive—if she does, and he comes back and she now has the opportunity to choose between believing me and absolving him and choosing to go with him or believing me and getting away from him or you know destroy her relationship with her sister and leaving with a murderer. Her allegiance is to this man. It just makes things a lot more complicated than if he were to be dead and then we would just be dealing with Melissa mourning him.

QUESTION: How are you, Troian, similar to Spencer?
Troian: Well, Spencer and I are very similar in that when I was Spencer’s age I was very studious. I was the valedictorian of my class; my academics meant everything to me and my family put a lot of pressure on me to do well, but it was also mostly coming from myself. I felt that I had to be the best and the brightest at everything otherwise I wasn’t worth anything.
I think Spencer definitely feels that and that’s something that I have grown out of. I’ve only grown out of it with age and by having life experiences and that’s more important to me. Spencer hasn’t had those life experiences yet. She’s truly steeped in the middle of trying to be perfect in every way. I would say that that’s the biggest similarity and difference between Spencer and I. I hope one day Spencer will get to go through the sort of life-rocking experiences that I have that make you re-evaluate what’s really important and get off your own back a little bit.

QUESTION: 'A' could been seen as a type of Super Villain for Pretty Little Liars. In that respect, what would Spencer's Super Power be?
Troian: Well, the interesting thing about Spencer, Spencer has a whip-smart intellect. It’s both her super power and it’s both her kryptonite because she is able to, I think, almost be ahead of A at certain points and come up with plans to try to trap A or to try to trick A. So she has this incredible mind that’s able to get the girls as close as they possibly can to discovering who A is, or discovering how to protect themselves at the last minute.
That also is, like I said, her greatest weakness because her mind works so fast sometimes she doesn’t take a moment to think and determine the difference between A’s red herrings and A’s actual moves. Just as often as Spencer is right about something she also grabs something that A gives her and runs with it and it’s hugely wrong. It’s what she did with Toby when she just adamantly went this is the guy; this is who killed Alison with finding proof and she was very headstrong about it and it got them into nothing but trouble and it was something that she had to come around and accept that she was completely wrong on.
... I think Spencer, because she’s a control freak, she’s the one who takes A the most harshly. She cannot stand having someone play her like a puppet. I think in that sense that’s where Spencer kind of fits in with the group, is that she’s always the one who’s willing to run out into the woods in the middle of the night if it means finding another clue. Where I think some of the other girls might just want to forget about it, leave it alone, let’s not play this game anymore and that she just can’t let that go.

QUESTION: Do you know who ‘A’ is or is that being kept secret from the cast by the producers?
Troian: Oh, my gosh, I feel like I could answer this question a million times and nobody would ever believe me. They will not tell us who it is. To be honest I don’t even think they know who it is. I don’t mean that they don’t have a few different choices, but every time I speak to them they are keeping their options as open as possible. I think that—maybe Marlene, our executive producer and our creator of the show has a hard fast choice and she’s now working towards that, but I remember there was a time in the writer’s room where they told me she has six different options for people that could be A.

QUESTION: Spencer has been in so many life-threatening experiences - how do you, as an actress, mentally prepare for the scarier scenes?
Troian: It’s quite hard, because to be honest we’re always having our lives threatened. There is always something that if it were actually happening to you, if the things that were happening to the girls were happening to me I feel like I would just need a break and I would ask my parents to commit me to a mental institution and just leave me there for my own safety.
You can’t play that all the time. There are moments when A threatens the girls and it’s just a nuisance and there are moments when A threatens the girls and it throws Spencer into a rage. It’s like as human beings we don’t ever have one reaction so I think it’s determining where we are in the story, what was the last time A tried to get under our skin, what are the stakes at this present moment and really connecting to all of those things to determine is this truly a scary moment. Or is this a moment where I completely lose my self-composure or is this a moment where all four of us are in the jungle and we’re all being scared and if I go to pieces everybody else goes to pieces so Spencer has to be stronger.
That’s what gets you out of the moment of oh, my God, I just have to feel scared again because I might jump off a cliff if I thought that that was the only way that I was going to be doing this acting for however many seasons this show is going to be running. It’s not just about that, it’s about what are the circumstances? Am I completely alone? How much fear do you show when you’re alone? Is it more, is it less? It’s those things.

QUESTION: I know that you spend a lot of time with the other girls- is there was anything that you guys like to do when you have free time on the set?
Troian: Oh free time on the set. For me personally, I try to sleep if there is any free time because we’re all really tired all the time pretty much so sleeping is a big thing. I also try to write and to just to work on other projects that I am trying to keep afloat while I’m doing this.

QUESTION: In your time off, what other TV shows do you enjoy watching?
Troian: I have not had cable for the past five years and I really never watch TV. The only show that I really ever got into was when I got all five seasons of Six Feet Under on DVD in college and that became my obsession. Now I’m really trying to keep up with Game of Thrones because I read the pilot and I auditioned for it and I fell in love with it. I think they’re doing such an amazing job. Yes, I guess that’s really the only show that I keep up with, but I’m really more of a—if I have time I want to go see a movie because I like that containment.

QUESTION: PLL is known for its fashion and style - have you been able to keep any of the things you’ve worn on the show and what’s your favorite piece you’ve worn on the show?
Troian: Everybody always asks me that question and they’re like, “Oh, my gosh! You must have such great clothes.” I’m like “no I go home in pajamas every day.” We unfortunately are not allowed to keep anything and that’s because they want to keep it in case they have to revisit the item or we want to pull it up later. It’s like these girls really don’t go shopping all the time and yet they never wear the same outfit so they have to repeat certain pants and certain shirts and items like that.

QUESTION: If you could give Spencer one piece of advice what would it be?
Troian: Chill out. Seriously, take a chill pill. Life is too short and you need to spend one night maybe going to the movies instead of like sneaking around the house and trying to find Ian. Maybe sleep, maybe find time to do your homework. I don’t know how Spencer maintains such good grades and like literally never does her homework.



New episodes of Pretty Little Liars air Tuesdays on ABC Family. And for more of the latest news and buzz, keep it locked to the PLL Page on SideReel or "Like" our Pretty Little Liars Channel on Facebook.

--Yael Tygiel

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