Unless you've been living in a cave for the past few years, you're probably already aware that your favorite thriller, Pretty Little Liars, is coming to a close this year. That all sounded completely tragic and had you tearing up nostalgically over old boxsets, until you read about Lucy Hale's Truth or Dare movie role. The film focuses on a college student (played by Hale) who plays a supernatural game of Truth and Dare in Mexico. But the game then follows her home. This all sounds incredibly creepy and raises a few different questions, like why the heck would you participate in a supernatural game of Truth or Dare? Isn't Truth or Dare at its most basic already terrifying enough? But probably the most pertinent question is why is Lucy Hale choosing a role that sounds an awful lot like the role she’s been playing for almost seven years?
After all, like Aria Montgomery, the college student enjoys one night of slightly illicit activities (just like when Aria goes to Spencer’s for the sleepover at the beginning of Season 1 and the girls drink together) which lead to scary consequences (the friends all pass out and wake up to their friend Alison’s disappearance). And it’s a horror movie, which implies Hale’s role will be that of a normal girl who has to deal with some terrifying events, much like Aria does.
But, personally, I believe that the actor's decision to make this movie is a supremely smart move. It’s the exact opposite of the career step we might have anticipated — what I like to call the “Miley Cyrus” — aka distancing yourself from the material that made you famous (like a show for kids on the Disney Channel) with some career moves that seem like the polar opposite (making some heavily sexual pop songs and talking a lot about drug use).
After all, Hale has never been the lead actor on a show, never mind a movie. While Aria Montgomery may feel like the center of the Pretty Little Liars to you, there’s just as many viewers who will argue that, actually, the show’s all about funny, underrated Hanna or smart Spencer or Alison’s moral evolution or even about Emily and her eventful love life. So it would be hard for Hale at this stage to prove to studios that she can head a production and ensure enough star power that audiences will come flocking.
Making a film in the mould of Pretty Little Liars is smart because Pretty Little Liars is incredibly popular; it’s no coincidence it’s run for seven season. Its formula of pretty female leads coupled with plot twists that have you on the edge of the sofa is one that works. While there’s been talk about the possibility of a Pretty Little Liars movie, this would take a serious amount of time and coordination to ensure that all five leads had time free to shoot at the same time. So, in short, there’s going to be a vast Pretty Little Liars shaped gap in our entertainment world, and Hale’s going to rush to fill that gap.
The probability that the movie is going to perform well is high. After all, doesn’t that description make you want to go see it? I’d be less sold on it with another lead actor playing the college student, but knowing that the movie won’t just have a Pretty Little Liars-esque plot, but will actually offer a Pretty Little Liar in the flesh makes it must-see for me. And once Hale has proved that she is a star in her own right who can sell a lot of movie tickets, then she’ll have a lot of freedom to take whatever role she wants, whether it’s in a low-budget indie movie, a Marvel blockbuster or, heck, a rom-com (please let it be in a rom-com, just this writer’s personal preference).
So please, ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for Ms. Hale. Her next role might not be surprising, but it’s bound to ensure we’ll be seeing a lot more of her for years to come.