×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Pretty Little Liars’: Marlene King Shares Audition Memories About the Five Stars

Pretty Little Liars” will be going off the air for good after nine more episodes, but seven seasons ago, the Liars were just auditioning for the show that became a pop culture phenomenon and changed social media forever.

Last week, “PLL” creator Marlene King chatted with Variety’s TV podcast, Remote Controlled, about the final season and her decision to end the series. She also recalled auditioning the stars, sharing memories of the first time she met Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisario, and Sasha Pieterse, who was just 12 years old.

Some fun facts: Benson came into her audition crying, Hale didn’t have to audition, and Mitchell was not the first choice for her character Emily.

Ashley Benson

I remember her coming in for her audition and she was in tears because she was on a show called “Eastwick” and she had just found out it was canceled, and so she came over to this audition. We knew we wanted a blonde for this role because it was one of the last roles to cast and other than Alison, we did not have a blonde in the show. We couldn’t find the right person and she came in … there’s just something magical that happens with her and the way the camera captures her and those eyes. We all knew in the room that we found our Hanna.

Shay Mitchell

We had a hard time finding Emily. … We searched and searched and searched and we hadn’t found our Emily, and Shay self-taped from Vancouver and we loved her tape. Emily is nothing like Shay — she is the most girly person you’ve ever met. There were two girls who came down and our preference was this other girl, but in the room full of a lot of people … Shay just nailed it in the room. I had never done this before, so the girls left, and I said, “Am I allowed to change my mind?” And they said yes, and that’s how Shay got that job.

Lucy Hale

Lucy didn’t audition. She was coming off of “Privileged” and everybody wanted to do a TV show with her. I grabbed a coffee with her … and she had read the script and she loved it, and she wanted to play Hanna and I didn’t think she was a Hanna; I thought she was an Aria, so I said, “Go home and read it again.” She read it again and she chem read for both roles with a couple of guys, and once she started doing her scenes, she’s like, “You’re right. I’m Aria.”

Troian Bellisario

Troian came in to read and she did a great job, but we were like, “It’s ‘Pretty Little Liars’ — you’ve got to put on a little lipstick or some makeup.” She loves to tell this story — we’re like, “Come back. Go turn into a Pretty Little Liar and come back.” And she came back and she just owned it. It was a scene where she was supposed to be smoking a cigarette in the pilot with Wren, and we didn’t end up doing that, but she took off this Armani jacket and she had this low-cut back and she lit the cigarette in the room. She was just so bold and so courageous, and then she got that in the room.

Sasha Pieterse

Sasha is a great story because we had read Sasha for Hanna and we were going to test her at the studio or network … and then we found out she was only 12 years old — not that she couldn’t play a teenager, but I knew what Hanna was going to do and I was like, “Do we really want a 12-year-old doing those things?” But also, they can only work a certain amount of hours under the age of 16. So that’s when we just said she’s Alison. She read with a few of the girls as Alison, she was several years younger than all of them, but she scared he hell out of everyone in a good way.

More TV

  • The 100 -- "Sanctum" -- Image

    'The 100' Boss Breaks Down Season 6's New World and Theme of 'Can We Do Better?'

    When “The 100” returns for its sixth season on April 30, the CW drama will thrust its characters into a brand new world. After escaping a no-longer habitable Earth at the end of the fifth season, the characters went into cryostasis until the planet was ready for life again. One hundred and twenty-five years later, [...]

  • David Milch Deadwood

    'Deadwood' Creator David Milch Diagnosed With Alzheimer's

    David Milch, the creator of “Deadwood,” revealed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in an interview published Tuesday. “As best I understand it, which is minimally, I have a deterioration in the organization of my brain,” Milch told Vulture. “And it’s progressive. And in some ways discouraging. In more than some ways — in every way I can [...]

  • Jim Lanzone

    CBS Interactive Chief Jim Lanzone: 'We Have a Tiger by the Tail' With Streaming Growth

    MENLO PARK, Calif. — CBS All Access can’t serve up addressable advertising inventory fast enough for marketers hungry to reach consumers watching premium video online. That was the upbeat outlook shared by CBS Interactive CEO Jim Lanzone during his keynote address on Tuesday at Variety’s Silicon Valleywood presented by PwC. “There’s not a form of advertising [...]

  • ÒThe One Where Diane and Liz

    'The Good Fight' Renewed for Season 4 at CBS All Access

    “The Good Fight” has been renewed for a fourth season at CBS All Access, Variety has learned. The legal drama, executive produced and run by Michelle King and Robert King, is currently streaming its third season on the Eye’s digital network. The show “continues to be a flagship original series for the service,” said Julie [...]

  • Netflix Orders Adult Animated Comedy 'Inside

    Netflix Orders Adult Animated Comedy 'Inside Job' from Shion Takeuchi

    Netflix is set to add another adult animated show to its burgeoning slate, Variety as confirmed. The streamer has put out a series order of “Inside Job” from “Gravity Falls” and “Disenchantment” writer Shion Takeuchi. The show will be the first series Takeuchi produces under her recently-signed overall deal with Netflix. The 20-episode adult animated series [...]

  • Peabody Award Logo

    Peabody Awards Announce First-Ever Catalyst Award and 2019 News and Radio/Podcast Winners

    The Peabody Board of Jurors have selected “$2 Tests: Bad Arrests,” “Anatomy of a Killing,” “Back of the Class,” “Cambridge Analytica,” “The Plastic Problem,” “Separated: Children at the Border” and “Spartan Silence: Crisis at Michigan State” as the 2019 Peabody Award winners in the news category, Variety has learned. Additionally, “Believed,” “Buried Truths,” “Caliphate,” “Kept [...]

  • Ryan Murphy Walk of Fame

    Ryan Murphy Says He Has 10 Greenlit Projects at Netflix

    At the Time 100 Summit on Tuesday, Ryan Murphy revealed that he has 10 greenlit projects in the pipeline at Netflix, including three documentaries, four TV shows, and three movies. Murphy has previously announced five titles slated for a Netflix release. Three are shows, including “Ratched,” the drama series starring Sarah Paulson as the infamous [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content