Troian Bellisario wouldn’t reveal the big plot twist that’s going to happen on tonight’s Halloween-themed episode of Pretty Little Liars (though she did drop a couple of hints), but the actress was happy to share some costume secrets.
“The Halloween episodes are always really beautiful and stand alone to tell their own story. It’s almost like Pretty Little Liars gets a little spell cast on it for one episode every year,” Bellisario said. “[Tonight's episode is] going to be a great tie-over for fans who have been waiting for the second half of the season. It’s going to keep the mystery going.” In addition to the mystery, filming this year’s Halloween episode was torture. “That’s always the hilarious balance that we’re trying to [accomplish] — to be running for your life in a corset and heels and not kill each other,” said the actress, who estimates that she and her co-stars spent at least 98 hours in their costumes over the course of the seven-day shoot. “I’m so ready [to do a] period horror film [after this].”
Considering that PLL fans often recreate the costumes seen on the annual episode, will Bellisario be borrowing Spencer’s Titanic inspired ensemble to wear on Halloween? “Nope! The last day of every Halloween episode, we all get together and beg [costume designer Mandi Line] to let us build a bonfire to burn all our costumes. She never lets us.”
Read on for more from Bellisario about the costumes and plot twists viewers will see tonight, and what they can look forward to when PLL returns in January.
This is the fourth Halloween-themed episode, do you just assume your costume will be uncomfortable?
The first time we ever did [a] Halloween [episode] Mandi dressed me up as Mary, Queen of Scots… so I already understood what it was like to shoot in a very uncomfortable outfit. I think it was a little more of a shock to the other girls [this time around]. [Mandi and the producers] always make a joke on set, they’re always like, “You want to do period pieces, aren’t you so happy?” I’m happy that I’m in a beautiful costume, but you have to understand that on Pretty Little Liars we fight people , we run away from people, we jump, and we have near death experiences…. Within the costumes are mic packs, wires, and all of these random things that you have to shove inside [even though] you don’t have any extra room. So there’s that too.
Line said that your costume for this year’s episode was inspired by Kate Winslet’s character in Titanic, how does the team decide what you’ll wear each year?
Mandi is really open to what you have to say and what you feel comfortable with. She always has fantastic ideas and she has a clear vision of what she wants…. Everything that we do on the show, even when they’re reaching for another period, is modernized. The last Halloween episode took place in the 1940′s and… I was supposed to be this femme fatale. [This year], Mandi used [Titanic] as a reference… there were elements that were historical and there were elements that were incredibly modern. Hannah’s costume is risqué. Her cleavage area is definitely modern! I had this giant lace neck piece that went all the way up to my chin, so I was completely covered up from the top of my neck to my toes. I thought, “Cool, this is [historically] accurate.” Then I walked on set and saw the other girls in very, very sexy cleavage-bearing dresses. I was like, “Wait a minute, how did you guys get that and I got this?”
We all start with hats, but obviously shooting with hats is not something that DP or director really likes because you can’t really see the person’s eyes. It’s beautiful when you think of that scene in the Titanic. That giant crane shot where Rose is introduced and she looks up for the first time. She lifts the brim of her hat and you see her face. The hat is gorgeous for shots like that, but then almost immediately you’ll see that they take the hat off for the next scene.
How does your real-life style compare with Spencer’s?
Spencer has become a lot more like me. If you look back to the first season, she was a very strict, classical, American girl, but as we’ve all become more comfortable with our characters, Mandi has allowed her to get a little edgier, a little more comfortable. I’d say I have a lot more ripped clothes, I’m laid back. I don’t care what it is as long as I’m comfortable in it. Spencer is always very, very put together.
Can you offer any hints about the rumored twist in tonight’s episode?
The Ezria fans will have a few more answers and [will learn more about] why the girls were freaking out on the last episode. The episode is also the introduction to a lot of Ravenswood characters we haven’t seen yet. It’s the only crossover episode — that I know of — between Pretty Littles and Ravenswood, the only time where the cast of Ravenswood and the cast of Pretty Little Liars will be in the same room interacting.
What can you tease about the remaining episodes of the season?
The remaining episodes of this season are coming together really beautifully. I’m excited about it. They did a couple of amazing things with my character and with Ezra this year. They’re revealing things about the first time that you met us — the night that Allison was murdered and the day that Ezra met Aria — about Ezra and Spencer that nobody has known but are now starting to affect us. I’m excited that the writers have been sitting on these secrets for so long. You’re going to understand our characters in a very different way. And you’re going to find out a lot more about the night that Aly went missing.
The Pretty Little Liars Halloween episode airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on ABC Family.