WhoA! Pretty Little Liars star Troian Bellisario talks to Us Weekly exclusively about her new short film, Still a Rose, that hit iTunes last week, offering a brilliant modern take on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and its iconic balcony scene.
“I thought it was brilliant,” Bellisario, who plays Juliet, gushes about the project. “We need people to see that love is equal amongst genders, amongst sexualities. The more I watch it, the more I love the ending, when the couples kiss, and it cycles through them so quickly. In the beginning, your eye starts to go, ‘OK, that’s the two guys, that’s the two girls.' By the end, you’re just like, ‘I’m watching a kiss between two humans.’ It’s about the equality of love.”
Bellisario, 30, also opens up about how she worked with the filmmaking duo hazart in tweaking the dialogue to reflect love in the modern world.
"I'm a serious stickler to sticking to the text and how important that is!" she admits. "I didn't want to alter a word, but we were trying to figure out, 'OK, well there are certain phrases that do feel more female or male and we do need to change those to broaden the idea a little bit.' I'm a huge Shakespeare nerd. We got to reexamine something that I have read thousands of times but I had never read it with this in mind. It was really cool!"
The actress also reveals how important it was for her to be a part of the project and to show that love is equal, no matter the gender or orientation.
"We thought we were making a stand by trying to make this film a year ago and saying, 'We need people to see that love is equal amongst genders and sexualities," she emphasizes. "It's sad that a year later you can say, 'Oh, did you make this in response to this horrible event that just occurred?' I can't believe we're still having to come out and say these responses."
Besides celebrating the release of "Still a Rose," this season of PLL also marks another new milestone for Bellisario, as she’ll be directing the 15th episode of the hit Freeform show's seventh season.
“I’m very excited and very nervous!” Bellisario, who plays Spencer Hastings, admits. “We move at such a quick pace. I’m nervous about being in the scene and having to deliver a performance, and then all of the sudden being like, ‘Oh, OK, I’m actually directing, and here’s a note for you.’ It’s going to be interesting for me to sort of create that new language for the set.”
Bellisario also discusses Spencer's steamy elevator scene with the hot new cop in town, Marco (Nicholas Gonzalez), along with the actress' love for playing such a multifaceted character.
“It was really fun to shoot that,” she says. “I feel so grateful for the character I play, and for the writers who write this show, because they give me so much fun stuff. You get to see Spencer’s impulsivity problems. She is so entirely logical, until she is just completely reactionary."
Still a Rose is now available for download on iTunes.
Pretty Little Liars airs on Freeform Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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