How to Get Cast on ‘Pretty Little Liars: Summer School’

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Photo Source: Karolina Wojtasik/Max

As the Pierces sing in the opening credits of “Pretty Little Liars,” “Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.” But when it comes to Season 2 of Max’s teen mystery-romance debuting May 9, we can’t keep mum. 

While a third season of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lindsay Calhoon Bring’s “Pretty Little Liars” sequel series hasn’t been greenlit (yet!), we’ve got the inside scoop on what’s happening behind the scenes on the second installment, “Pretty Little Liars: Summer School.” Here’s everything you need to know about the casting process, including audition advice from the show’s CDs and ensemble.

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What is “Pretty Little Liars” about?

Based on author Sara Shepard’s YA mystery-romance series, the “Pretty Little Liars” franchise began in 2010 with a Freeform show created by I. Marlene King. The series went on to spawn four spinoffs—the latest being the current “Pretty Little Liars,” which debuted on Max in 2022. 

The first season, subtitled “Original Sin,” saw the return of the infamous “A,” an anonymous figure who routinely torments a group of teen girls—Imogen Adams (Bailee Madison), Tabitha “Tabby” Haworthe (Chandler Kinney), Faran Bryant (Zaria), Minnie “Mouse” Honrada (Malia Pyles), and Noa Olivar (Maia Reficco)—living in the fictional town of Millwood, Pennsylvania. But unlike the first iteration, this “A” isn’t interested in punishing the girls for their own transgressions; instead “A” also wants them to pay for the mistakes their mothers made 20 years prior.

“Pretty Little Liars” pays homage to ‘80s and ‘90s slasher flicks, evoking the blood and gore of the genre, while also upping the ante among the latest generation of Liars.

Who’s in the cast of “Pretty Little Liars”?

“Original Sin” featured:

  • Bailee Madison as Imogen Adams
  • Chandler Kinney as Tabitha “Tabby” Haworthe 
  • Zaria as Faran Bryant
  • Malia Pyles as Minnie “Mouse” Honrada
  • Maia Reficco as Noa Olivar
  • Mallory Bechtel as Kelly Beasley
  • Alex Aiono as Shawn Noble
  • Elias Kacavas as Greg
  • Sharon Leal as Sidney Haworthe
  • Jordan Gonzalez as Ash Romero
  • Carson Rowland as Chip Langsberry
  • Travis Patton as Archie
  • Eric Johnson as Sheriff Beasley
  • Kate Jennings Grant as Madame Giry
  • Ben Cook as Henry
  • Elena Goode as Marjorie Olivar
  • Lea Salonga as Elodie Honrada
  • Kristen Maxwell as Teen Sidney
  • Sarah-Anne Martinez as Teen Marjorie
  • Emily Bautista as Teen Elodie
  • Derek Klena as Wes
  • Gabriella Pizzolo as Angela Waters
  • Zakiya Young as Corey Bryant
  • Kristian Mosley as Teen Corey
  • Robert Stanton as Principal Marshall Clanton
  • Jeffrey Bean as Mr. Smithee
  • Jennifer Ferrin as Martha Beasley
  • Benton Greene as Zeke Bryant
  • Barbara Tirrell as Mrs. Murray
  • Alexander Chaplin as Steve Bowers
  • Cristala Carter as Nurse Simmons
  • Brian Altemus as Tyler Marchand
  • Lilla Crawford as Sandy
  • Michael Maize as Joseph “Crazy Joe” England
  • Candi Boyd as Coach Desjardin
  • Anthony Ordonez as Mr. Gardner
  • Carly Pope as Davie Adams
  • Ava DeMary as Teen Davie
  • Kim Berrios Lin as Shirley Honrada
  • Annabeth Gish as Dr. Anne Sullivan

A few new stars are joining “Summer School,” including Ava Capri as Jen, Noah Alexander Gerry as Christian, Loretta Ables Sayre as Lola, and Antonio Cipriano as Johnny.

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Who are the casting directors of “Pretty Little Liars”?

Beth Bowling, Kim Miscia (“Blue Bloods,” “Mr. Robot”), and Freya Krasnow (“Dr. Death”) of Bowling/Miscia Casting put together the ensemble alongside David Rapaport (“Riverdale,” “The Flash”).

In an interview with Backstage, Bowling advised actors to leave their problems at the door before walking into the room. “This is going to sound harsh, but it’s important to come prepared and not have excuses,” she said. Miscia agreed, saying that CDs don’t want to “hear all about your bad day or why you’re sick.”

Miscia also told us that actors can make an impression on her “by being professional and prepared. It’s that simple! When you’re pleasant in the room, we look forward to auditioning you again, even if you weren’t suited to the role you originally read [for].”

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How does the casting process work for “Pretty Little Liars”?

Rapaport told us that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the process. “In an ideal world, we’d cast all the roles at the same time; but most of the time, it doesn’t work out that way. I really have to take a leap of faith. 

“Sometimes, we’ll do chemistry readings for love interests to make sure there’s a palpable onscreen chemistry; but a lot of times, you don’t even get to do that, and actors read with a reader—usually an associate from my office,” he continued. “I’m piecing together the chemistry in my brain; I never quite know what’s going to happen until I get on set or see the first edit of a pilot. We read people so many times to make sure that there are no questions left unanswered so you know what to expect or what you’re going to get.”

Madison first heard about the sequel from Lucy Hale, who starred as Aria Montgomery on the original. “Before I was a part of the show, she and I were working out together, and we were doing abs,” Madison told Entertainment Weekly. “And she looked over at me, and she was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, best idea ever: You should do the new “Pretty Little Liars.” ’ She was like, ‘My friend Roberto’s doing it.’ That was it; that was the conversation.

“And then a couple months later, the script was sent to me, and I texted her, and I was like, ‘You’re never going to believe this.’ My favorite was calling her and letting her know that I was joining the show,” Madison continued. “Her advice has honestly just been to trust my instincts and enjoy the ride, enjoy the process.”

In an interview with Nylon, Pyles revealed that, since she was the last of the main characters to be cast, she essentially stalked the other stars on Instagram before she met them. “I could see that they were meeting and they were embracing, and they already were just so wonderful about celebrating each other,” she recalled. “It’s so crazy, but I even saw in their comments with their pictures, they were like, ‘Yes, girl, you go!’ And I was like, Oh, I hope they like me.”

Pyles is a fan of the original “Pretty Little Liars,” particularly of bisexual character Emily Fields, played by Filipina Canadian actor Shay Mitchell. As a queer Asian American woman herself, Pyles told Nylon that she wants to continue that legacy of inclusivity with her character, Mouse.

“I heard the buzz about ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ and I just knew I had to be a part of it. I heard about it from a friend, and she actually showed me the character breakdown for Mouse and was like, ‘This is perfect for you,’ ” Pyles explained. “When this process began, it was a lot of me having to trust myself, and confidence-building and feeling OK saying that I can own this role and I can be that girl. And it’s been wonderful coming into myself as a young woman and also as an actor, and having such a wonderful ship to jump on. And it’s been just a really crazy, wonderful whirlwind.”

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Where can you find “Pretty Little Liars” casting calls?

Currently, there are no auditions for the series, as it has yet to be renewed for another season. But the show has cast with Backstage in the past, posting calls for background performers and stand-ins for “Summer School.” While we’re waiting for news about the series’ future, check out our roundup of similar gigs that are casting now, and read up on how to audition for HBO.

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What are the best tips for landing a role on “Pretty Little Liars”?

Create your own opportunities. Madison has been in the business since she was a child, so she’s learned to bide her time. “We hear about all these overnight success stories, and that does happen,” she told Young Entertainment. “But I do feel like the reality of it is, even the people that you think are working—or not hearing the word no from the things that they would love to do—still experience that. I think [you need to have] patience.

“I also encourage people to fall in love with the business as a whole,” she added. “I’m a big believer in not waiting for the right script to come around and to create your own things, write, and have discussions…. Dive into that creative mind of yours. Start writing, make videos with your friends, and start uploading [shorts] online. Thankfully, social media is around now, so I feel like the possibilities are really endless in this day and age—a lot more than what they were like when I started out.

Embrace what makes you unique. Kinney recognizes that Hollywood—and society at large—tends to make people feel like they have to conform in order to be accepted. But she believes it’s possible to find success through your individuality.

“I would say, be true to who you are,” she told Numéro Netherlands. “I think, often, as we grow up, we learn that we should condense ourselves to be one thing, or often we can be put in a box. But all the things that make us different make us unique and make us who we are, and that makes us special. So don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something; don’t let anyone ever dim your light. Those things that make you different are the things that are going to keep you going, so lean into those things and explore them. Don’t be afraid of them.”

Grant, who’s a veteran Broadway actor, agrees. “There will always be someone prettier, there will always be someone skinnier, there will always be a better actor, there will always be a better singer,” she told Playbill. “[But] there will only be one you. Your only job is to walk into an audition and reveal who you are.”

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