Updated: July 10, 2013 6:20AM
Troian Bellisario’s recent roles have her playing women at very different times in their lives who have reached their breaking point and are trying to move forward.
She plays Spencer Hastings on the popular “Pretty Little Liars,” returning for its summer premiere Tuesday on ABC Family.
Bellisario said she has been very vocal with the writers and the network about wanting to take her character to a darker place. She got her wish, but has since “kind of backed out of the writers’ room” about what’s coming up.
The 27-year-old actress also plays the title character on the Web series “Lauren” on the WIGS YouTube channel. She’s a single mother in the military who was sexually assaulted by a fellow comrade.
“I walked in two days before we were going to shoot and [co-star] Jennifer Beals had done a lot of research. I was like, ‘Give me everything please,’ and she gave me this incredible book called ‘The Lonely Soldier’ and I watched [documentaries] ‘The Invisible War’ and ‘Lioness’ and just absorbed and read and watched YouTube videos. It was overwhelming. I had no idea,” she said.
Stuck in adolescence on “Liars,” Bellisario embraced the idea of playing someone closer to her age on the WIGS show. “In real life I’m watching my friends get married and have children,” she said, “and the conversations that I have in my life are different.”