Lucy Hale starred on Pretty Little Liars for seven seasons, garnering legions of rabid fans from the series that became a cultural phenomenon throughout its 160-episode run. After growing up on Pretty Little Liars, Hale is ready for her next chapter: starring in her own TV show, Life Sentence.

In Life Sentence, Hale plays Stella, a young woman with cancer who lives life like she is dying, only to find out that she’s actually cured.

“Most people think this show is about a girl with cancer,” Hale tells Variety. “It actually becomes a show about a girl who has no idea who she is and has to re-think her life because up until very recently, she was living as if there was no consequences for her actions. She was just living like there was no tomorrow.”

Here, Hale tells Variety about her new series Life Sentence, why she was attracted to the show, and if she’d be interested in a Pretty Little Liars reunion.

Did you know that you wanted to jump right into another series after Pretty Little Liars?

I had no idea what I wanted to do. In my mind, I thought I was going to wrap PLL and take a little bit of a break. And then it was a couple months before we wrapped the last season of PLL that I got pitched this idea, and it was just one of those scenarios where it creatively made me really excited.

I don’t care if it’s a play or a movie or a TV show or a TV movie – if it’s a good project and a good role, I’ll do it.

It was very different than what I had been doing for the past eight years, and I knew I wanted my next step to be drastically different, just because creatively, I’ve been doing the same thing for the last eight years, so I needed something to stimulate that part of my brain.

What was it about Life Sentence that you knew it was the next best project for you?

I had never done anything tonally as light as this because there’s a comedy element. But really why I wanted to do it is because I think Stella is such an important character. She’s someone that I want to aspire to be more like.

She’s really smart, she’s just ultimately a girl who gets a second chance at life and is trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. I thought the idea was really interesting to take the cancer movie story and flip it on its head and give it a different ending than they usually have.

What is the message that you hope comes across to the viewers, as they watch this show?

I never live in the moment and it’s so easy to take things for granted, and I think just being alive is something to be grateful. So I think we can all take a note from Stella and live each day like it’s our last.

What I really love about this show is there are some really heavy topics we talk about, but it’s all done with a sense of humour, and I think that’s something we can all try to do – not take everything so seriously, and just kind of laugh through it because sometimes that’s all you can do.

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Lucy Hale and Hillary Clinton attending Beautycon Festival NYC 2018 on April 22, 2018 in New York City. Photo: AFP

This is a light, fictional show, but since you play a young woman who had cancer, I’d imagine there is an element of truth there, so how did you go about your research?

Thankfully, I’ve never had to go through anything like this – I’ve never been personally affected by cancer. It was a lot of documentaries and researching online. From a medical standpoint on the show, I did a lot of research because I wanted to make sure we were doing it justice and it was believable.

But at the heart of the show, it’s about a girl that’s lost and she tries to figure out who she is, and I could definitely relate to that because we’ve all been there. The biggest challenge was trying to do the cancer story justice.

How has life been for you since Pretty Little Liars?

It’s so strange. I live so close to where we filmed that, so it’s strange not driving on that lot every day. But I didn’t take any breaks after the show – I immediately went to do the pilot of Life Sentence and then filmed Truth Or Dare and then started the season of Life Sentence, so I really haven’t had a moment to sit and think about it. I’ve just stayed busy.

With Life Sentence, I moved to Vancouver and it’s all new people, so it’s like a whole new chapter. It was sad closing the last chapter, but I’m just excited for the next steps and to see what everyone else does.

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Lucy Hale with her Pretty Little Liars co-stars. Photo: Warner TV

Would you want to appear in the Pretty Little Liars spinoff, or if there were a reunion, would you want to be part of it?

Yeah, I’m really excited about the spinoff. I cannot wait to see what they do with it. As of now, I am not a part of it. But yeah, definitely. That show was such a big part of my life, and I think the fans would be really appreciative if we maybe one day went back and did something together, so yes, that’s definitely possible.

Now that you are in a new chapter of your career, what are some of your career goals?

Obviously, I would love to continue doing this show. I think the next step for me is I would love to get into producing. Directing, I’m not really sure. But right now, I’m working on taking steps to start producing because that’s always been an interest of mine.

I would love to do more film work. I just feel really lucky to be where I’m at, and if I can keep riding this wave, I will be really happy. – Reuters


Update: ‘Life Sentence’ received cancellation notice after one season