She’s still on the show.
For the seven or eight fans who spent the better part of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS’ hiatus fretting over whether or not Hanna survived last season’s not-so-fatal car crash that capped off the first half of ABC Family’s surprise summer smash, worry not. “The episode starts off with my character Hanna in the hospital after she’s gotten run over, and she wakes up and she’s still shaken after the whole thing and she doesn’t really remember what happened,” explained Ashely Benson. “But the pretty insane thing is that she remembers who she saw by the car and in the woods and who she thinks is ‘A.’ So, she tells the girls and it goes from there.”
She had no idea PRETTY LITTLE LIARS was going to be a hit.
Despite an already built in audience from the popular book series of the same name, and giddy network executives who had already proclaimed the show a success, Benson wasn’t nearly as confident. “Me and the other girls hoped for it, but you never know,” revealed the cautiously optimist actress. “So, we filmed the pilot and we waited to hear if it got picked up and it did, and once it started airing things just went out of control! It has been pretty amazing to be part of something that actually goes above and beyond everybody’s expectations, unreal really.”
She can relate to her character in flashbacks.
What’s that? You can’t imagine how the beautiful Benson could possibly ever relate to her character, particularly in her hefty Hanna flashback phase? Think again! “I know what it was like to be left out and kind of picked on because I was in elementary school, so whenever I play Hefty Hanna it’s really emotional because I just feel so awful for her. Because she’s just a little overweight, Alison just gives her such a hard time and I totally know what that’s like because I got picked on for being in the industry or for being a dancer or whatever and I just had the worst time in elementary school.”
She has big screen aspirations.
Admittedly, wanting to emulate Natalie Portman is probably not much of a shocker, especially considering that in a little over a month there is a very good change that this week’s Entertainment Weekly cover girl will more than likely be walking away with her first Academy Award for her remarkable performance in Black Swan. That said, Benson, does hope to get down and dirty in film. “I’m always cast as the pretty girl and I want to break away from that,” said the actress. “I want to be something completely different, whether it’s someone who faces drug problems or just like kind of an edgy role, I just think it would be quite a challenge for me and I would love to challenge myself with something a little darker. I love what Natalie Portman does and that’s my main goal and we’ll see when it happens.”
She actually reads her Twitter (So Think Before you Tweet!)
Unlike most actors who are quick to tell you that they don’t dare go online for fear of what people have to say, Benson, who admits to being somewhat shy in real life as she adjusts to her new found fame, loves the ability to interact with fans from afar. “It’s pretty insane, but I love to interact with fans and that’s why I think Twitter is such a great thing because I answer the questions and I just see everything they write about the show and what they like and what they didn’t like, it’s really great.” admits Benson, “I’m just so excited to see what the fans think because the next couple of episodes are crazy. The new season is definitely a lot more creepy, scarier and the writers did an amazing job. We go on this huge ride, I mean, ‘A’ just does things that are just so devious, so mean and she literally tortures the girls, especially my character because of everything that she went through, being hit by a car. Hanna really gets pushed to her limits.”
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS returns Monday January 3 at 8PM on ABC Family (Much Music in Canada)