Lucy Hale says she had to work hard to put her teenage drama days behind her and reveals how she embraces her dark side in the serial killer thriller Ragdoll.
Lucy Hale is perhaps best known for her teen-friendly dishes, such as Pretty Little Liars and Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene, but the American actor says she has a “very intense, dark side” .
It was this fascination – along with a determination to broaden her horizons and refute her skeptics – that drew her to Ragdoll, a new BBC serial killer thriller from the same producers as the global hit Killing Eve.
“I appreciate the darker things,” she said on a Zoom call from Los Angeles. “I love shows like this, I’m the first to listen to a real detective podcast. And just from a career perspective, I just want to do things that really turn me on or that are empowering or different. I want people to be like “oh, I’m surprised Lucy is in there”. I like it because it’s so easy to get stuck in a box and I always want to push the boundaries a bit. “
Coming from a reality TV singing background and having made an impression like Aria Montgomery during her seven-year stint on Pretty Little Liars, Hale says she had to fight hard just to be considered for roles like DC Lake Edmunds in Ragdoll. She says she is grateful for having had the chance to show what she is capable of by playing an American with a troubled past who joins the British Police Force as part of a team in search of a motivated killer. revenge.
“It took a long time,” she says of her career development. “I’ve been through Pretty Little Liars for five years now and it’s a slow burn. It’s a blessing and a curse – it’s champagne trouble, I mean poor me.
“I could be fine playing roles like this forever, but for me as a person I have to do different things or I just don’t feel satisfied. I have to feed the beast.
Life somewhat mimicked art for Hale while creating the sometimes gruesome and dark Ragdoll. Her outspoken DC Edmunds is truly an outsider as a foreigner on the average streets of London and Hale says not knowing the city, the people or even the processes of a British ensemble held her in good stead. And then there was the ‘joke’ both on and off set as Hale adjusted to the British sense of humor and his character struggled to understand how his colleagues could see anything to be joking about. from a corpse sewn from body parts left behind by the killer to taunt potential kidnappers.
“The joke is very real and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done here,” she laughs. “I guess it’s much drier. I feel like as Americans we explain ourselves too much – we’ll tell a joke and we’ll be like, “That was the joke – funny, wasn’t it?” “. While the British will say it and go and you will never hear from them again.
To prepare for the role, Hale hooked up with a real British detective and bombarded her with questions ranging from the best and worst parts of the job to what she should do with her hands at a crime scene.
And while she knew law enforcement worked differently across the pond from her homeland, one key regulation blew her away once she showed up for work.
“We got to the set and I said, are we going to take gun training? And they were like ‘well we don’t have guns here’ and I was like … ‘amazing – because guess what, we have way too many in America,’ ”she laughs.
Hale considers herself lucky to have been able to overcome much of the coronavirus-induced production shutdowns over the past 18 months. But despite shooting two films last year and Ragdoll earlier this year, she admits to having experienced an “existential crisis” like many of her peers when faced with such uncertainty in her chosen field.
“I probably got about one a day,” she says. “But it was so humbling and good for me to recognize that I have to find things that I love outside of my job because anything can happen at any time and I am still Lucy.
“I work all the time and like to be busy, but like a lot of people over the past year, I’m sure we’ve all had similar feelings: where’s my personal worth or my identity if I’m not working. not 12 hours a day? ‘.
“We didn’t give ourselves the chance to turn off until we were literally forced into it and I think a lot of us, cheesy as it might sound, must have all gone inside and nitpicked this that we would like to change in ourselves. “
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Following Ragdoll for Hale, the romantic comedy The Hating Game, based on the best-selling book of the same name, which hits theaters here in January. She did it with her friend Austin Stowell – the couple play rival editors – and she says it’s “a really cute love-hate-love story” that reminded her of the romantic comedies with which she grew up.
She happily admits it’s a sudden turn between dismembered corpses and work romance, but she’s determined to continue to mix things up and open up to new experiences.
“I want to loop people around,” she says. “I don’t really set any rules for myself because I think when you do that you miss out on fun opportunities, so I always had the idea that I should be doing jobs that look fun and bring me a lot of joy. . I try to keep all doors open and read everything sent to me because you never know what could be an amazing experience for you.
Ragdoll is available on Foxtel On Demand, with new episodes every Saturday