Mallory Bechtel will always remember the day she purchased her first Fairly Little Liars guide. It was again within the fourth grade—she had simply completed performing a song with her friend, Gabby Gillespie, at an area bookstore when, out of the nook of her eye, she noticed a Barbie-esque doll wearing a pink shirt on a guide cowl. Having already watched Coraline and My Trainer Ate My Homework, a 1997 kids’s horror movie a few doll that involves life, Bechtel was instantly intrigued.
“It was manner too mature for me on the time, however I used to be discovering the world of boys and drama, and I completely beloved the creepy component,” Bechtel, now 22, tells W over Zoom with fun. “I learn that loads [at night]. I might get scared, and I must crawl into mattress with my little sister.”
So when Bechtel acquired her first audition for the upcoming sequence Fairly Little Liars: Unique Sin, the Houston native—who was capable of parlay a lifelong love for musical theater into turning into the primary Broadway alternative for Zoe Murphy in Expensive Evan Hansen in 2018—knew she may flip her childhood obsession into an artwork kind.
Created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lindsay Calhoon Deliver, the fourth sequence within the Liars franchise, premiering Thursday on HBO Max, maintains the core feminine friendships of its predecessors. However this time, the story is ready within the eerie, blue-collar city of Millwood, the place a brand new group of disparate teenage ladies are affected by “A”—an unknown assailant hellbent on punishing them for the sins of their moms, in addition to their very own.
As a pre-teen, Bechtel was fully absorbed on the earth of the 5 authentic Liars—Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse), Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario), Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson) and Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell)—and “wished to be similar to Aria.” However after rewatching the present in early maturity, she was struck by how the dad and mom had been written—and took a particular liking to Hanna’s mom, Ashley (Laura Leighton). “I don’t know what she can be doing, however perhaps she will change into associates with our mothers,” Bechtel suggests about her dream cameo on Unique Sin. “I might be geeking out if she got here and stated hi there.”
Whereas there are tons of Easter eggs referencing the unique, which had a “creepy-crawly feeling” in its personal proper, Unique Sin is “very totally different in that it’s rooted in horror,” Bechtel provides. “It’s so referential to the ’80s and ’90s slasher movies, and that’s how I’ve been promoting it to my dad and mom.”
After initially auditioning to play Imogen, the pregnant excessive schooler whose private loss drives a lot of the damaging quest to unmask “A,” Bechtel landed the roles of Karen Beasley, the college’s “reigning queen of imply,” and her soft-spoken but sinister sister, Kelly. Taking part in equivalent twins in her first outing as a sequence common on tv was a welcome problem for the actress, whose previous display screen credit embrace Hereditary, Legislation & Order: SVU, and FBI: Most Needed. When it got here to enjoying twins, Bechtel wished to make it really feel like she was enjoying “two distinct, absolutely realized individuals.” She had in depth conversations with the inventive staff, together with director Lisa Soper, about including particulars that might differentiate the sisters.
“It actually helps that Karen was all the time exhibiting extra pores and skin—you simply carry your self a bit of in another way due to that. Karen was all the time in a heel, and Kelly all the time wore flat sneakers, so she hunched a bit of extra,” Bechtel says. “Karen furrows her forehead a bit of extra; Kelly retains it up. Karen has her mouth open when she’s listening; Kelly retains her mouth closed. Even my eye make-up is ever so barely totally different.”
Though she had the distinctive duty of doing double responsibility, Bechtel reiterates that she leaned on her “twin double,” the actor Alex O’Shea, who was current to shoot the entire scenes with Karen and Kelly and acted as a sounding board to find out find out how to carry the ability dynamics between the sisters to life. In different phrases, the actress by no means felt like she was performing reverse herself. “Internally, my little reminder to myself all the time was: ‘Karen is motivated to be the perfect at the whole lot, and the whole lot she does is to impress her father,’” Bechtel says. “Kelly is motivated to assist Karen and to maintain the peace between her household.”
For Bechtel, Karen and Kelly’s sisterly dynamic is most paying homage to Spencer and Melissa Hastings (Torrey DeVitto) from the flagship sequence. “Melissa was the star of the household, and Spencer perhaps felt like she needed to do terrible issues to even examine to her. I bear in mind she copied Melissa’s essay to show in for some faculty task and fully plagiarized her,” she explains. “I believe Kelly bites the bullet a bit of extra. At the least, once we first meet her, she has accepted that she resides in Karen’s shadow, so that might be the large distinction, however [there are] positively loads of similarities.”
In relation to enjoying the antagonist in highschool dramas, younger actors may be tempted to play up their characters’ cattiness—to the purpose the place their performances are overly campy. On this case, Bechtel believes the writing lends itself to making a extra grounded tackle the traditional “imply lady,” as a result of viewers are given extra perception into “why Karen looks like she has to lash out” at others. “I’m so grateful that we get to go residence and meet her father, and see what a typical household dinner is like, the place the whole lot she says goes to be challenged,” she provides. “She doesn’t have this unconditional love from her dad and mom—the one manner she will even [get] a nod of approval is that if she is profitable.”
Karen’s sense of self-worth “comes from feeling like she is the perfect at the whole lot, and the Liars current a really actual menace to that,” Bechtel previews. “There’s one thing in them that makes her really feel like, ‘They’re dominating in a discipline that I’m alleged to be dominating in, and I’m going to battle again with the whole lot I’ve, as a result of I can’t stand the considered going residence and my dad having to listen to that I’m not the lead [ballerina or] the spirit queen.’”
Kelly’s dynamic with the Liars, then again, is ever-changing. “I like that Kelly does really feel like she has to do the whole lot Karen says, however she additionally has a lot love for her too,” Bechtel says, smiling. “They’re finest associates. And once they harm Karen actually badly, her intelligent aspect comes out, and her evil aspect comes out, and he or she completely takes over the scenario. She’s on a journey of self-discovery and the Liars are very a lot concerned.”
And whereas an early tragedy befalls the Beasley household and ramps up the stakes to uncover the true identification of “A” earlier than they declare their subsequent sufferer, Bechtel has an ominous warning for followers who suppose they may have the story found out: “Not the whole lot is because it appears. Don’t belief something on this present, as a result of really something may occur.”