How can Pretty Little Liars top itself after last season's shocking finale?
With a premiere that "has already started off with a bang," series star Shay Mitchell, who plays Emily on the buzzy ABC Family drama, tells The Hollywood Reporter.
With the reveal of the omnipresent trouble-starter "A" and the subsequent death of Emily's true love Maya (though arguable) putting everyone on high alert, Pretty Little Liars returns to the scene of the crime months after the events of the finale takes place -- with Emily, Aria, Hanna and Spencer ready to pick up the pieces again. But as the recently-released season three trailer reveals, "A" still manages to sneak their way in.
Mitchell talked to THR about a third season that turns "up the notch yet again," what viewers should expect for Emily (hint: vengeance is key) when the new episodes kick off and teased a future scene with the foursome.
The Hollywood Reporter: The Pretty Little Liars gang is known for being extremely secretive, but now that you're in the middle of filming season three, what should viewers expect?
Shay Mitchell: Well that’s the thing right because it was so crazy and intense in season two that we were thinking, “How is this going to be topped?” in season three. Leave it to our writers, they’re absolutely amazing and they turned up the notch yet again. This season has already started off with a bang and it’s insane to find out what’s going to happen after everything in the season finale.
THR: Can you give insight as to where Emily’s head is at when season three kicks off?
Mitchell: We always come back a month after [the finales]. The girls [are] now com[ing] back from summer break and they each had their own time alone to really think about things and regroup from all the craziness that happened. The girls all reunite and band together as they always do. A couple surprises might pop up along the way when they all get back from summer vacay. The big surprise, you’ll find out when you see the first episode back. I can tell you that they definitely don’t disappoint.
THR: The season finale had several big shockers. Were there any specific things that stood out for you?
Mitchell: When I was watching the season finale I was like, “Oh my gosh, crazy masquerade party. Oh my gosh, Mona’s a crazy person.” There were three huge surprises in one episode. In the interviews I was doing prior, I was saying this is more like a small feature film than it is a 45-minute episode. When we were all in the read-through, reading the scripts for the first time, I think there were oohs and ahhs from everybody at that table. I was pleasantly surprised with how we all reacted in the room, so I knew the fans were going to enjoy it. It was quite intense. I just got a lot of tweets about Maya’s death.
THR: That was certainly a surprise. How does the "A" reveal change things for Emily?
Mitchell: I think it changes things for Emily because you’ve just killed her girlfriend. "A" has done other things before that have been quite serious, but now you’ve killed somebody who's extremely close to her. Another person. For Emily, it’s no more "Mrs. Nice Emily," it’s not going to fly. You took it way too far. Emily is now coming back into season three with a vengeance.
THR: What’s a standout scene that you’ve shot so far this season?
Mitchell: It's a scene in a really tight, really small room; we didn’t have much room to work with. It was a scene with all four of the girls, and they have an accident. It’s quite a fast-paced scene with a lot of funny stuff in it.
THR: Any new characters that may be making an appearance in Rosewood?
Mitchell: There are going to be a couple of new characters that pop up. Tyler Blackburn became a season regular, so Caleb is going to be back for a lot more episodes this season. There will be a couple surprise new guests that will be coming to the show that I can’t speak of because their characters are going to have a lot to do with everything. It’s always fun to bring new people into Rosewood; you put people in, take people out.
THR: Will we see the girls venture out of Rosewood again?
Mitchell: Yes, I hope so. Me and the girls are always pushing the writers and producers: “Hey, so since they’re in Pennsylvania I think they’d make a lot more stops in New York, so how about we make this really real and shoot in New York.” We’re all vouching for that, I think that’s kind of the ultimate goal. Of course there could be like a whole world tour, but I think for right now New York sounds most promising. I think it could be in the future cards.
THR: You're also hosting a fashion-centric web series, "Beauty Smarties," on HelloStyle's YouTube channel. Why did you want to be a part of it?
Mitchell: I think it also stems from the fact that I have a beauty and a health section [on my website] and I talk about those things on my website and any social media platform that I have. I’ve never shied away from telling people that I’m a beauty girl. It was a really natural fit in that regard.
THR: Was it nerve-wracking hosting for the first time?
Mitchell: It was a little nerve-wracking, but only at the beginning. Just like everything you try for the first time.
Pretty Little Liars returns for season three 8 p.m. June 5 on ABC Family.