The Pretty Little Liars season 2 finale produced many jaw-dropping reactions from fans but no scene incurred as much of a social media flurry as the grand reveal of ‘A’ did! After two seasons of sabotage, heinous messages, blackmail and hit-and-run incidents, the identity of PLL’s creepiest texter was finally revealed. So who was the psycho behind all those terrifying threats? Mona Vanderwaal — she’s been ‘A’ this entire time! (Yes — as in geek-turned-queen, Glamp party coordinator, lacrosse-team-serial-dater, social butterfly Mona!)
When Mona ditched her masquerade gown for a black hoodie and appeared in the doorway of A’s sinister lair (minus the gum, mind you), Spencer Hastings and viewers everywhere understood exactly what this meant…that Mona wasn’t an innocent ‘A’ victim at all. In fact, she’s the devil in disguise! And best of all? There’s a whole world of demons (aka ‘The A Team’) out there biding their time, waiting to take down the Liars one by one. (Mm. We love the harsh scent of a Rosewood conspiracy!)
Well, the third season of Pretty Little Liars doesn’t kick off until June 5th on ABC Family but don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Whet your ‘A’-ppetite with an exclusive interview featuring the mega-talented Janel Parrish!
Pretty Little Liars: Before we get started, can we just tell you how terrified we were of you last night?
Janel Parrish: [slowly] Goooood. I’m glaaaaad. You should be. [laughs] No, no…I’m just kidding.
Pretty Little Liars: So what was your initial reaction to find out that you’re ‘A’?
Janel Parrish: I was extremely excited to find out that I was! Who wouldn’t want to be ‘A’?
Pretty Little Liars: Were there any inside jokes on set after that infamous table read reveal?
Janel Parrish: Oh definitely! The inside jokes were pouring in…mostly about how tiny I am. They were like, “You’re so tiny. How could you pull everything off?” Well, I’m tiny but I’m feisty.
Pretty Little Liars: Ha! Perfect response.
Janel Parrish: Mmhmm. I’m fierce!
Pretty Little Liars: We know that you are a fan of Sara Shepard’s books and have read them. Were you suspicious that ‘A’ on the show would be the same as in the books?
Janel Parrish: Yea! I definitely had a feeling. I spoke to Marlene King about it when I had read the books and asked her if I was going to be ‘A’ but, you know, she was keeping things close to vest and telling me I could be ‘A’ as of now I am but things could change and there could be more to the story than that. So, I always hoped — and had it in the back of mind even in scenes as Mona — that I could be ‘A’.
Pretty Little Liars: Were there any scenes that sort of solidified your suspicious that you were ‘A’?
Janel Parrish: Definitely once Mona started receiving text messages from ‘A’. Seemingly out of nowhere, gaining the sympathy vote…warming her way into the group of the four girls. That was all definitely a little suspicious and that was when fans started tweeting me saying, “This is a little weird. Why are you suddenly a victim and getting texts from ‘A’?”
Pretty Little Liars: Once you found out that you were Rosewood’s creepiest texter, how was hard was it keeping it a secret from your friends and family?
Janel Parrish: I wanted to tell everyone. I wanted to tell everyone…especially when I started filming [the reveal] because it was so much fun. I had such a great time filming the finale — I got to do some crazy stunts and I looked like a psycho. I just wanted to take pictures and tell everyone but I couldn’t so that was hard. However, the payoff was wonderful!
Pretty Little Liars: Mona is going to have a much meatier role on Pretty Little Liars season 3. Could you tell us a little more about the upcoming season?
Janel Parrish: Oh sure! I can tell you what I know at least. I’ve been made a series regular for season 3 and that way I know that they are not planning on killing me — probably — like they did in the books. Which is nice! Because that was definitely a worry…that I was going to be revealed as ‘A’ and immediately die.
Pretty Little Liars: We’re so relieved that you didn’t die — Mona is a great character!
Janel Parrish: [laughs] I know…me too! I was so glad. My heart kind of stopped when I read the script. Thankfully though, they saved my life and cast me as a series regular instead. I’ll take that any day!
Pretty Little Liars: What can we expect when season 3 returns?
Janel Parrish: Season 3 will continue six months after the finale happened. The season will kick off with the second anniversary of Alison’s death. Mona will have been in the Radley Sanatorium for the last six months. You’ll find out more about her mystery visitor. It’ll focus more on Mona explaining how and why she did what she did. Also, if people are helping her, the season will focus on who is. And all the pieces sort of come together.
Pretty Little Liars: There have been hints throughout the show that ‘A’ is operating as a team. Which characters, in your opinion, would form the ideal A team?
Janel Parrish: I have a couple ideas in my mind as to who they are but I don’t want to say because I’m worried it will be a spoiler…because I’m probably right. I have a feeling that I’m right. [laughs] But, answers will definitely be coming for everyone!
Pretty Little Liars: We know that Mona is ‘A’ but not Alison’s killer. Who in your professional, A-knows-all experience do you think is the actual murderer?
Janel Parrish: It goes back and forth. I don’t know for sure who did kill Alison. That’s a mystery that’s going to be a drawn out a little bit longer. However, I think that at some point I — along with everyone’s who watched the show — has suspected everyone on the show…which is probably the writer’s goal. If that’s the case, that’s awesome because they do a remarkable job of making everyone in Rosewood seem like a suspect.
Pretty Little Liars: Mona got super scary in those final moments of the season 2 finale. How did you prepare for those deliciously wicked scenes with Spencer?
Janel Parrish: I kind of just had to go that place and get a little dark with it. I’ve never had to play a role like that before and it’s obviously such a different persona from Mona…the normal Mona. I had to completely let go of the character that I’ve been playing for the past two years and find a new one. That’s what was fun!
Pretty Little Liars: How are you going to gear up for “institutionalized” Mona?
Janel Parrish: I’m really excited to see the season 3 script and find out what’s in store for me so that I can figure out how best to prepare for it. It’s so much fun and I’m looking forward to playing more crazy Mona!
Pretty Little Liars: So what are your plans for the summer now that the show is on hiatus?
Janel Parrish: I’ve been having such a blast working on Spring Awakening. Musical theater is my first love so it’s nice to return to that after ten years of not doing it. So I’ll be involved with [Spring Awakening] up until we begin filming again on April 2nd.
Pretty Little Liars: What do you like most about your role in Spring Awakening?
Janel Parrish: I just love being on stage so much. It’s such a different world from the film and television industry and I love being able to work in both. It’s been a dream.
Pretty Little Liars: On Good Morning America, Troian, Lucy, and Shay revealed the following clues about ‘A’ –> ‘A’ admires one of the PLLs more than the others. ‘A’ loathes one of the PLLs more than the others. ‘A’ has a motive to justify A’s evil deeds. ‘A’ wants a playmate. Could you tell for which Liar each clue were aimed at?
Janel Parrish: The Liar that [Mona] admires is definitely Spencer. She says so in the finale — she admires her, wants her to join her team, thinks she’s smart, and can be beneficial to her plans. And the Liar that Mona loathes most? I’m sure you’ll find out more about that in season 3 but I would think that that would be Hanna.
Pretty Little Liars: Oh no — but they’re best friends!
Janel Parrish: Their friendship is now over forever. Sad face.
Pretty Little Liars: Would you consider Mona the ultimate frenemy on television at this point?
Janel Parrish: Absolutely yes! [laughs]
Pretty Little Liars: In a nutshell, how would you describe the upcoming third season in three words?
Janel Parrish:: Crazy. Dark. Fulfilling!
Pretty Little Liars: Do you have a message for all the excited fans about the big ‘A’ reveal?
Janel Parrish: I just hope they all loved it and are not mad at me because I’m not crazy…I promise! It’s just the character. [laughs] And, to get ready, because they’ll be treated to many more awesome twists in season 3!