PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: A.GISH TALKS SHOW SECRETS (July 2011)
Clearly the Pretty Little Liars need an adult they can trust and, as their therapist, Annabeth Gishís Dr. Anne Sullivan might be just the person to help ó or is she? In this exclusive Wetpaint interview, Annabeth dishes about Dr. Sullivanís motives, what itís like to work with the girls, and why the doctor may become the latest victim of the mysterious ďAĒ.
Wetpaint: How much did you know about the show before taking the role? Were you a fan?
Annabeth: Well, being that I have two little boys ó I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old ó Iíve been sort of out of it in terms of catching up with all the good TV shows. But I did know enough about it that it seemed to be a popular show. I certainly saw the posters, and I tied it to the fact that I knew ABC Family was this up and coming, strong network thatís really carved a niche for itself. So when the offer came and I spoke first to [show creator] Marlene King, we had a very good conversation. It kind of just came out of the blue for me like a little gift. Itís just been a really great job, and itís nice because Iím still being primarily a mom to my boys, but I get to go be on this super-chic show every other episode or so.
Wetpaint: As actresses, the four principal girls have their own dynamic Ė you get to play off the four of them as a group, which is pretty unusual. What was it like to work with them?
Annabeth: You know, I was really charmed, frankly, by all of them. As much as they are beautiful and unique, each one of them, they are all very talented and smart. They all seem to have that ďIt factorĒ in unique ways.
Wetpaint: How is it to work with the other four ďgrown-upsĒ on set? Is there anyone youíd like to work with on the set who you havenít had scenes with yet?
Annabeth: I just finished an episode that Chad Lowe (Byron Montgomery) directed and I had a scene with Holly Marie Combs (Ella Montgomery), which was lovely. She and I have sort of been working for a very long time and had never met, but I always knew of her work. Sheís also juggling motherhood and a working career like I am, so it was very refreshing to work with her as well. I have not yet seen Nia [Peeples] (Pam Fields), but Nia and I worked together a long time ago on a short-lived series called Courthouse. It must have been í94 or Ď95.
Wetpaint: You also starred on the final season of The X-Files, which had some very ardent followers. How do the PLL fans measure up to them?
Annabeth: [Laughs] Oh well, X-Files was certainly fertile ground for trading withÖ Letís see, whatís the right wordÖ Devoted, dedicated fans. But for the most part everyone was kind to me. Sure there were not-too-kind people, but you canít really focus on that, youíve got to do your job. So far everything that Iíve heard has been really sweet from the Pretty Little Liars fans. Itís amazing nowadays, the difference between when I did X-Files and this show. Itís Twitter and Facebook, and itís just completely different in terms of fandom. Itís just exciting. Fans really get the feeling theyíre involved in the stories and the actors and even with Marlene, the writer/creator. Itís a whole new landscape for fan interaction.
Wetpaint: When we meet your character, itís hard to be certain what her motivations are. Did the writers tell you things about your character that we havenít learned yet?
Annabeth: Well, I think so far that what you see is what you get. And Marlene specifically said she wanted Dr. Anne Sullivan to be warm and open so that the girls really can feel itís safe for them to trust her. She is ostensibly, as far as we know, a good presenceóbut who knows? Certainly, itís alright to say that ďAĒ finds Dr. Sullivan a threat. In the upcoming episodes youíll get to see more of how ďAĒ acts out that anger toward Dr. Sullivan.
Wetpaint: Who do you think ďAĒ is, if you had to guess?
Annabeth: Well, around the set itís ďshim,Ē like ďshe/him.Ē [Laughs] I had a scene in which I needed to ask is ďAĒ a man or a woman and I was not given an answer. But thatís kind of whatís captivated the audience to this lovely show. You have this mix of it being a thriller and this sort of dark, Gothic horror storyline, but with the levity of the girls and their stylishness, and then just the authentic trials and conflicts that young women face in high school. So itís really relevant and fun.
Wetpaint: Whatís the best part about working on the show?
Annabeth: On a very superficial, vanity level I would have to say the wardrobe, because Mandi Line, the wardrobe designer, and her whole crew are insanely gifted. Itís a very chic show, so I always look forward to finding out whatís in my closet for the day. But on a real sincere level, I have to be honest and say the family that is this cast and crew is really special because itís really positive. The girls have a whole young presence that lightens everyone up, and Marlene and [executive producer] Oliver [Goldstick] and everyone helm this ship that is a really tight-knit group of people. So I can honestly say Iím having so much fun.