Well, it finally happened. We now know who “A” is on ABC Family's hit show Pretty Little Liars: Mona! Wetpaint Entertainment sat down with Janel Parrish, the actress who plays Mona, for an exclusive interview about playing “A,” the toffee reference, and her reaction to the Season 2 finale haters.
Wetpaint Entertainment: The last time we talked you said you were “shocked” to find out who “A” was. How shocked were you?
Janel: (Laughs) I was kind of shocked but not really. I’d heard from the beginning that I could possibly be “A,” and obviously I knew that I was “A” in the books. I had high hopes that it would be me because it would be so much fun to be a crazy psychopath, but the writers kept everything so close to the vest and they would be very coy every time I asked them if I was “A.” They would just say, ‘It could be. Things could change. We’re not going according to the books.” So when I got the script for the finale, I was shocked in a very excited, “This is surreal! This is really happening” kind of way. Because I’d hoped for it for two years.
So you really didn’t know. No idea.
I didn’t have a clear idea until I got the script. But I’d heard whispers that it could be me.
Knowing that Mona was “A” in the books, how did that inform your performance?
Even though no one came up to me and said, “You are ‘A,’ play it like this” I tried to have that in the back of my mind in every scene as Mona, because I had read the books and I did understand if I were “A,” why and where it would go. I tried to interject that into every scene. And obviously once I got the finale script I had so much fun playing three different characters in one episode: I got to be Crazy Mona, I got to be Dorky Mona, I got to be popular Mona – and it was amazing.
Do you have a clear picture of who knew on set that Mona was “A”?
I think the writers have known all along where they were taking it. They’re very smart and they’ve put all the pieces together very perfectly.
Did you ever get a note, like, do a scene a little crazier?
No, never! I actually had a conversation with Marlene at one point where I was like, “I know you can’t tell me, but if I am “A,” I want to know if I’m playing Mona correctly, because obviously, if you have a different idea in your mind of where Mona’s going to go and how I should play it, then I’d want to know,” and she’s like, “No, you’re doing everything perfectly, keep doing what you’re doing. Everything will come together at the right time.” And I think it did.
What do we know about the toffee lipstick reference?
She’s crazy and she thinks she looks hot, even though she got thrown off a massive cliff! (Laughs) And looks like a crazy mess. I’ve gotten tweets from people wondering if there was a toffee connection in the finale episode and to be honest, I don’t even 100% know. I don’t know where the writers are taking it but I’m sure they have a great ride planned for everyone.
Her motivation seemed to be that they took her friend away. That’s so sad.
There’s definitely more to the story. There will be more to the story.
You are “A,” right? No other “A”?
I am “A.” But obviously there’s more explaining and more questions raised for Season 3. There’s a lot more craziness coming to Rosewood.
How happy are you?
I’m really happy. It was so much fun and I had the best time of my life filming that episode. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had working on any project. So, it was really rewarding to see it last night and see it all come together. And hear that the fans liked it and were freaking out. It was just really exciting.
You’re really tiny. Why were so many people so scared of you? Like a professional therapist?
She’s tiny but she’s vicious. She has a Mean Girl, feisty thing.
And lastly, the reaction to you being “A.” Have you been reading fan reactions online?
It’s insane. I do have a Twitter, so I’ve been reading a lot of the tweets and a lot of them are really, really happy and excited and a lot of them are upset, but you know what? It’s been such a big deal, such a big, talked about, controversial subject for the last two years so everyone’s going to have an opinion. And I love hearing all the opinions. We wouldn’t have a show if the fans didn’t tune in and watch. It’s exciting. I love hearing that the fans are so affected by the show.