If there’s one thing the stars of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” have mastered, it’s the art of keeping a secret.
Joined by exec producers I. Marlene King, Oliver Goldstick and Joseph Dougherty at Sunday afternoon’s PaleyFest sesh, the “Liars” gave the audience only a few hints and kept the details of the upcoming season finale mostly under wraps.
The packed house at the Dolby Theatre caught a glimpse of a scene from Tuesday’s finale, but King only revealed that the episode will be “emotionally exhausting to watch.” She didn’t, however, rule out the possibility of a “PLL” movie.
“That comes up all the time and I would love to create (a movie),” she said.
TV Guide senior writer Damian Holbrook incited shrieks from the enthusiastic fans as he introduced the panelists, who dished on their co-stars, their most awkward scenes and being a part of the most tweeted-about show on TV (and the first ABC Family program to be part of PaleyFest).
Before the panel even began, Ashley Benson, who plays fashionista Hanna Marin, admitted that she ripped her dress while walking onstage.
Troian Bellisario, who plays the clever Spencer Hastings, said she felt an immediate connection to her co-stars when the shared a Thanksgiving meal while shooting the pilot.
“We sat down at this table and we had to share this family holiday together and it was really bizarre because it was almost instantly as if I had known you guys for years,” Bellisario shared. “I remember at one point looking over at the adult table and they would all be like ‘Oh my God, it’s happening.”
Since then, the girls have grown even closer, despite a few of them – namely Janel Parrish’s Mona Vanderwaal and Sasha Pieterse’s Alison DiLaurentis– taking some dark turns. Now that Ali is alive, Parish said she would like to see her and Mona go head to head in a future episode.
“I want a Mona-Ali full-on girl fight,” Parrish teased as the audience cheered.
But Pieterse was quick to come to her character’s defense.
“Alison’s really changed. They don’t know anything that she’s been through yet,” she said. “They have to find out the pain that she’s felt and everything she’s gone through, so I think welcoming her back is going to be not as easy as it should be.”
Shay Mitchell, who plays Emily Fields, said she enjoys empowering young people by playing a lesbian teenager who, as Holbrook put it, “gets a lot of action.”
“I love it,” Mitchell said. “I love the storyline that I have with my character and it’s fun having a lot of different girlfriends. I’m always telling (King) ‘Who’s next?’”
The cast also talked about awkward moments on set, like the time when Benson was wearing Hanna’s fat suit and Ian Harding, who plays English teacher Ezra Fitz and former love interest of Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), thought she had just gained weight.
Bellisario revealed that she gets the giggles while filming the sex scene between Spencer and Toby (Keegan Allen).
“Keegan is a consummate professional…and the way that I repay him is by laughing through every sex scene. But I can’t help it because what he does is, we’ll kiss and they just leave the cameras rolling…after a while you’re like ‘we’ve been kissing for a long time,” she said. “So I start to feel him smiling in my mouth and then I laugh in his mouth, and then they yell ‘Cut!’”
The co-stars were shared both tender and comical moments with the audience, from Hale calling Harding “the most giving actor I’ve ever worked with” to Benson joking that Mitchell “says every word wrong” because she’s from Canada.
King said season five of “Pretty Little Liars” (which premieres June 10) feels like a whole new show, though one familiar face – Tyler Blackburn’s Caleb – will make his return to the series in the 100th episode. Benson said she screamed on the phone when King told her that Blackburn was rejoining the cast.
The highly anticipated “Pretty Little Liars” season four finale airs March 18.