Bearing a resemblance to the coming-of-age classic flick Stand By Me and teen thriller I Know What You Did Last Summer, US series Pretty Little Liars – based on the books by Sara Shepard – centres around four friends who are forced to reassess their friendship when their popular leader Alison DiLaurentis is murdered. Following her death, the girls receive mysterious notes from an anonymous figure known as ‘A’, who threatens to reveal their deepest secrets. At the same time, the threats also provide clues as to A’s identity and Alison’s death. Now in its second season, we hear from 24-year-old Canadian actress Shay Mitchell, who plays Alison’s close confidante Emily Fields.
Who is A?
That seems to be a popular question. I’d love to share it with everybody, but I don’t even know. None of the girls know, I promise you. So it’s a secret for us, too. And I’m kind of happy that the writers don’t tell us.
Do you think we’ll find out soon?
You will find out. As far as when we’ll find out, I’m not sure. It’s up to the writers, but you will definitely find out, I promise you.
Will we find out who killed Alison?
Yes, maybe a little bit later from when you find out who A is, but yes, yeah.
What kind of girl is Emily?
Of the group of girls, Emily is a little quieter and wants everything to be really smooth. She’s super-sweet, extremely loyal to all the girls, and a really good keeper of secrets. Emily is the sportier one. She’s captain of her swim team and comes from a very conservative family. I fell in love with the character when I read her whole background. And then I got to pick up a couple of her quirks.
You and your co-stars have a great dynamic…
We really lucked out. From when we shot the pilot in Vancouver last year, it was like we’d been friends for years. We’re so fortunate to have such great chemistry, especially when we’re playing friends who’ve been friends for years. It’s nice.
What’s the dynamic like off set?
Hilarious. In between takes, we’re laughing, in hysterics. One of us is saying a joke or doing something funny. It’s so much fun, and we hang out off set, too.
What was the first season like?
It’s been the most amazing year of my life. It’s been so crazy. It’s like a snowball effect with everything that’s happened for our show. I mean, we all knew it was going to do really well, and you hope for the best, but you never really know. So when you get good feedback, it’s just great.
Had you read the books?
When I found out I’d landed the part for Emily, I picked up a couple of books. And I think I read right through them on the plane home. They’re so addictive: the stories are great, and the characters are so relatable. And Sara Shepard just did such a good job of taking you into this whole other world. I fell in love with the books.
How is it different from Desperate Housewives?
To even be compared to Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl, that’s such a huge compliment. Desperate Housewives has a small-town kind of feeling, and it’s the same with Rosewood, where our show is set. All of the girls have an issue or something, but the difference is it’s a younger generation.
What other shows do you watch?
I’m a big fan of Gossip Girl and reality show Cake Boss.
Season two of Pretty Little Liars airs every Friday at midnight on MBC4.