Go Back to Black & White with the Pretty Little Liars!

MUMBAI: Next Saturday, be there for the black and white affair. It’s the Pretty Little Liars (PLL) like you’ve never seen.

For the first time in its 4 season run, the groundbreaking teen phenomenon has filmed an entire episode completely in black and white called “Shadow Play”, with heavy throwback at the classic Hollywood noir films of the yesteryear.

PLL writer and spin-off Ravenswood co-creator Joseph Dougherty is helming the episode which revolves around the character of the smart, yet headstrong and stubborn Spencer Hastings (played by Troian Bellasario), who has been going through many a sleepless night fueled by Aderol and she’s trying desperately to find out whether or not Ezra Fitz is A, the sinister antagonist hell-bent on exposing their lies and lives. Just to push her further, Spencer takes another pill as a result of which she loses touch completely with her own reality and wakes up in a new reality which has her life “Noir-ified”.

Making it “one of the photographed episodes of the series”, writer-director Joseph Doherty elaborates, “The central portion of the storytelling will be told in a particular kind of black and white which is meant to honor a form of very lush story-telling from American films of the forties.”

“With this episode, you could literally stop it at any point and print it out blow it up on a poster and it will look stunning”, says Shay Mitchell, who plays the role of the lesbian swimmer Emily Fields in a behind the scenes video on YouTube. Lucy Hale, who plays the artsy girl Aria Montgomery is still amazed at how all the liars faces “work for the era” making the episode incredibly authentic. Bellasario welcomed the prospect of the episode as a surprising world where people were bold, brash and adventurous, taking chances and risks, quite similar to that of the actual story.

Shadow Play continues the storyline with where the characters are and how the story is progressing, but the dialogue is “dated”!

While Mitchell is of the opinion that Shadow Play is one that goes down in history, PLL costume designer Mandi Line states that designing the costumes for an episode based in the period of the 1940’s and one that is shot completely in black and white comes with a unique set of challenges. What Line originally had been planned for the episode didn’t work out at all, because when it comes in black and white, “Color Doesn’t Matter.”

Line’s challenge was convincing the Pretty Little Liars that along with peach and green and leopard and all these different colors, and how in black and white they actually pop. So the actors are wearing green shoes with purple dress with leopard green trench coat, which in color would make them look crazy because they might not match, but it makes complete sense in black and white.

Line concludes that the best of working on this episode was that the script taught her something, and it had been a while she’d been taught something. Working on Shadow Play has certainly heightened her skills as a costume designer.

Follow the Liars as they enact a “Shadow Play” with more classic drama, passion, secrets and of course, lies on Saturday, 22 February at 2 p.m. with an encore telecast at 10 p.m. on Zee Café.

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