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@PLLKristen: How long did you know that Mona was going to die?
Janel Parrish: I got the call from Marlene the day before the table read for the episode It was funny because I was really nervous, you always here that when Marlene personally calls the talent, there might be something happening. So when I got the call and they said, ‘I’ve got Marlene on the line,’ I was just like ‘Oh no, am I in trouble? Because I feel like I just got called into the principal’s office!’ And she was like, ‘No you’re not in trouble but I want to tell you that in the next script you are dying. But don’t worry, you’re not losing your job, we’re still going to have you in flashbacks.’
@GraceCordy10: What was your first reaction when you found out Mona would die?
JP: Well, at first my heart stopped! But then when she said don’t worry you still have a job, I was like, ‘Oh okay! You can turn my character into a monkey and I’d still be fine.’
@Ayyeitszemi: How did the cast react to Mona’s death?
JP: There was definitely a lot of shocked faces and people asking like, ‘Oh no! Wait, are you not on the show any more?!’ And I was just like, ‘No no no, you’re still stuck with me!’ I’m still here, just in a different capacity, which is fine, and I think it will actually be a fun twist on the show.
ETonline: Do you think Mona put up a good fight before being killed off?
JP: I think she put up a great fight! As you can see there are bloody handprints everywhere and the glass was broken. I think Mona fought with every last breath she had and maybe “A” has a few scratches and bruises on whoever they are because I don’t think Mona went down without a fight.
ETonline: So you think Mona definitely discovered who “A” is in the final moments before she died?
JP: She definitely saw whoever it was in the face, and now she’s dead because of it.
@Louisxlie: How did you feel filming the final scene with Mona in the trunk?
JP: Honestly, it was just really hard to keep my eyes open! [Laughs] I was like okay I just have to keep my eyes open for one more second and then they’ll cut, and thankfully it worked out. It wasn’t eerie for me to see to see it on TV because I knew that it was just me keeping my eyes open, and I was like ‘Yay! I didn’t blink!’ But for everybody I know, they were upset seeing me like that.
@LifeOfThaParty: If Mona didn’t die what would been her next plan?
JP: Well she was definitely planning to take down Alison. I think she would’ve found the girls, and found the police, and found a way to nail Alison to the crimes that she believes she found evidence to. And those were all pretty good colleges, I think she would’ve been just fine anywhere.
@TinyHales: Do you think Mona redeemed herself after being “A”?
JP: I think that she did and I think ultimately that’s why [the liars] feel so guilty, and they feel so bad that right when they decided to trust Mona and she does redeem herself, she dies. They get this text from “A saying it’s all your fault, and now they’re stuck with this guilt and they’re wondering if there is something they could’ve done to help her. If they had trusted her from the very beginning, or let her in their inner circle from the very beginning, would this still have happened?
@Fan4me: Janel, are you in the Christmas special?
JP: I actually will be in the Christmas episode and it’s going to be really fun! I get to be the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future and I have to say, the costume and the hair and make-up is going to be unbelievable. It might as well be a Halloween episode because my costume is amazing, it looks like a Halloween costume. So I think it’s going to be really really cool episode, and it’s going to be fun and creepy. Even though it’s a Christmas special, and kind of like a fantasy episode, there are still a lot of answers to correct questions on the show. I think it’s important that even though it’s a special, the fans should still treat it as an episode.
ETonline: Are we going to see Mike’s reaction to Mona’s death and do you think that her feelings for Mike were truly genuine?
JP: You will see Mike’s reaction to it and he’s devastated and it’s so sad because Cody has got such a puppy face. And yes, I do think that Mona’s feelings for Mike were genuine—I think they had a really sweet and romantic episode andf I think that also adds to the devestation to Mona’s death.
ETonline: Lastly, do you have a message you’d like to give to your fans?
JP: Yes! I want them to know that I love them so much, and not to be sad for me. They can be sad for Mona, I totally get it, but don’t be sad for me because I’m not going anywhere. I love being a part of the show and I’m going to continue being a part of the show as long as they want me on there, and from what I’m hearing, that’s a while. I’ll be on the show and with the cast just in flashbacks and I’m totally okay with that. You have not seen the last of Mona—she will still be the crazy dynamic Mona, even after death.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start at the beginning: How and when did you find out that Mona was going to die?
JANEL PARRISH: I found out the day before the table read. [Showrunner] Marlene [King] gave me a call, and I was very nervous. I was like, “Okay, I know what this means. She’s calling me, the creator of the show, I’m totally dead.” She was like, “Hi Janel, it’s Marlene,” and I was like, “Oh, am I in trouble?” And she was like, “No, you’re not in trouble. I just want to let you know you’re going to be getting the script tomorrow. You are being killed, but you’re not being killed off the show. You still have a job, don’t worry. You’re going to be in flashbacks now.” And I was like, “Okay, that’s fine.” She was like, “It’s just basically what Sasha [Pieterse] did for the first three years; Alison was the flashback girl, and now that will be you.” And I’m like, “Fine. I’m totally OK to fill those shoes as long as I still have a job.” So truth be told, I wasn’t sad at all. I’m kind of excited for this new little turn.
Were you happy with the way Mona got to go out? It was kind of epic.
Yes. Exactly. I think if Mona was going to die, that would be the way to do it. She is going to go out with a bang. So I’m so glad that her death wasn’t just like, you know, something small. Like you said, she went out with a bang. She went out claws out, teeth out, bloody handprints everywhere. That girl was fighting for her life. So I was like, “Yeah, you know what, I died, but I’m proud of the way I did it.”
Did you actually get to film her death scene, or did they just tell you the aftermath?
Yeah, I just saw what the aftermath looked like and I read it in the script. I read that there was blood everywhere and then I showed up to set one day and there was blood and broken glass everywhere, and I was like, “Okay, Mona fought though.” I’m proud of her.
Do you know who killed you?
Well, as things always are on set, the writers never really tell us what’s going on and who’s who. But as far as what I personally think,…There was blond hair under that hoodie. Mona uncovered some evidence incriminating Ali and suddenly she’s dead. So I think that it’s Alison, and I think everyone thinks it’s Alison.
I have to say: I was really really shocked with the trunk scene at the end, but I was also kind of obsessed with it. I love that the show went that dark. But I have to ask if filming it was as creepy as it looked.
It’s so funny. The reason why it was not creepy was because I was focusing so hard on keeping my eyes open. I was like “Must. not. flutter. your. eyelids.” So that was my thought process the entire time, just complete focus. Thank God it turned out okay. I just watched it and I was like, “Good, my eyes look dead.” But no, it wasn’t creepy. But it was creepy watching it for sure, with the blood on my cheek. It’s just a creepy image.
Do you think that Ali has gone “full-on socio,” as Mona put it?
It kind of seems like it. That girl can lie with a smile, can’t she?
But I thought, in a way, Ali going crazy was vindication for Mona, who’s been saying this all along.
But that’s what’s so sad. Like she finally looks herself in the mirror, sees her self worth after years of being bullied and just is like, “I win. I feel great. I’ve won this war.” And then turns around and meets her death.
When I was watching it last night, I was so in the moment. And then when the episode ended, I suddenly thought, “Poor Mike!” So how is Mike going to cope with this?
Yeah, you’re going to see his reaction. He’s going to be very sad. He loved Mona, and I think that she really loved him. I think it was a very, very sweet romance, so it’s going to be really sad when fans see how he reacts to it.
Every time I talk to Marlene, we discuss a different version of Mona—from 1.0, Loser Mona, to 4.0, etc. Who was your favorite Mona?
I don’t know. I really liked Madhouse Mona. Just an actress, it was so fun to play and the scenes just made me feel like such a creep. I’d never played a character like that before, and I just really enjoyed playing with that. I enjoyed how, wherever I went, people were like, “Gosh, you’re so creepy on the show.” And I was like, “Thank you. I’m very proud that I can play that role correctly and that I am able to be a creepy character.” I kind of enjoyed scaring people on the show for a little while. [Laughs] It was fun!
You tweeted that you will be in flashbacks even as early as the Christmas episode, correct?
Yes. The Christmas episode is going to be a really fun episode. It’s kind of a fantasy type of show, but it’s also still an episode where fans will get a lot of answers, so they shouldn’t miss it. But yes, Mona will appear as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future—and let me tell you, in a fantastic outfit, of course.
In terms of flashbacks, are you getting to play a spectrum of Monas? Are you revisiting multiple versions of the character?
I think that I am going to, and I’m very excited about that, because not only will it be satisfying for fans, but it will be satisfying for me. There’s always been holes in Mona’s history and her past, and I’ve always kind of had to connect the dots myself. Which is fun, but I think it will be really nice for everybody and also for me to see how Mona did things and why she did things. Mysterious Mona! Find out where she was when something happened.
You’re still such a big part of the show, they probably didn’t give you a goodbye gift. But my first thought when you died was, I wonder if they’ll finally tell her who “A” is now.
You know, probably not, because our writers are so secretive. They are so good at that. I can tell you, throughout the years, we’ve all tried to be like, “So Marlene, who’s ‘A?’” And she’s like, “No, not getting away with it.” “Dammit! I tried” [Laughs]
“Basically, as Alison was the flashback girl for the past three seasons, it will now be [Mona],” Janel Parrish tells us. “I think it’s great! Even though Alison was ‘dead’ for the first three seasons, you found out everything about her through flashbacks, and now that’ll be happening through Mona.”
Read on for more scoop from Parrish, including what Mona will be up to in the Christmas special and what really happened during her fatal scuffle with that mysterious blonde.
TVLINE | I’m bummed about Mona’s death, but does the fact that was sort of redeemed make it easier?
It does, and I think that’s also what makes her death so devastating. She finally earned people’s trust, not only the girls’ but also the fans’. She finally came through for everyone … and then she died.
TVLINE | We didn’t see the attack itself. Was there a plan to show more?
Actually, more will be seen of the fight. Mona did not go out without a struggle, and I’m very proud of her for that. If I could have chosen the way she died, it would have been that way — her fighting till her last breath.
TVLINE | Alison seemed more than a little pleased. Can you say anything about her next move?
Mmhmm, that smug smile. It definitely looks like she killed Mona, and more will unfold as time goes on. But for now, yeah, it looks like Alison did it.
TVLINE | The scene with you in the trunk probably gave some viewers nightmares. What was it like playing dead?
That was really creepy, huh? Honestly, most of it was just me trying really hard not to blink. That’s what was going through my head the whole time: “Don’t blink! Don’t blink!”
TVLINE | Since we’re seeing her in flashbacks, what else is there to tell?
It’ll be satisfying for fans to get more information about Mona, since she’s been such a mystery. It’ll be good to see some backstory as far as she’s concerned.
TVLINE | So you’re still a series regular?
Yup! I’m still going to be a regular, just in a different way.
TVLINE | Will we see her in the Christmas episode?
Oh, yes, she’s going to have a fun part. She’s going to be the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future. She gets to mess with Alison, and in a fabulous costume, I might add.
TVLINE | How will Mona’s death, in the present, going to affect the girls moving forward?
It’s going to be the biggest mystery moving forward in the second half of the season. It’s going to affect Hanna the most; she loved her at one time. They were really close at one point, and they’ve always had an intense relationship, whether it be good or bad.