Lucy Hale Has Been Preparing Her Whole Life for ‘Ragdoll’

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“I love true crime; I love the psychology behind why people snap or why people get revenge or why people are bad.”

Lucy Hale is back on the small screen. She started acting as a teen, making cameos on shows like “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “The O.C.” before landing her breakout role as Aria Montgomery on “Pretty Little Liars.” Now, she’s starring on the upcoming AMC+ show “Ragdoll,” in which she plays DC Lake Edmunds, an American detective investigating a series of grisly murders in the U.K. The series comes from the producers behind “Killing Eve.” Hale joined us to offer tips on building a character and a lasting career in the performing arts.

For true crime junkie Hale, accepting the role of Lake was a no-brainer.
“I’ve been preparing my whole life for this. I love true crime; I love the psychology behind why people snap or why people get revenge or why people are bad, or why people turn into monsters. The Ragdoll Killer has got some demons, but what’s really interesting is that [the detectives] all have their own baggage, too. So the show is a whodunit, but it’s also about the fundamental problems of the police force: sexism, racism, PTSD, mental health, mental illness. Each character has something going on in their life that’s led them to this point. I’m fascinated [by] how and why people choose to take on this job.”

Certain elements of her character’s backstory were concealed from her.
“You don’t always get the answers as an actor. You don’t always get what you’re looking for. That’s why our job is so fun, because the opportunities are endless. With every character I play, when you’re not given the answers, that’s where the fun begins. There [are] so many recipes to come up with something interesting for your character.” 

Developing on-set chemistry is Hale’s No. 1 tip for a successful filming experience.
“What’s most important to me is the banter and dynamic with the people you’re working with. You so often do not get the time to know the people you’re working with before you’re shooting. It kind of worked in my favor for this, because Edmunds is new [to the force]. She’s the new kid on the block. She’s not really supposed to have any built-in history with anyone.”

Despite her nearly 20 years onscreen, Hale admits that she still needs to remind herself where she belongs.
“Being a young actor, I was deeply insecure and never thought that I belonged where I was at. Impostor syndrome—I hear actors talk about it all the time. Like, am I supposed to be here? Are you sure you want to cast me? I will always feel that. I’ll always be like, ‘Nope, they’re recasting. I’m fired!’ But you are exactly where you are supposed to be. I love my career, I love the things I’ve done, but I just think of my little Lucy brain and all the things I used to worry about, and the biggest thing you can do as an actor, and also as a human being, is own your space. That’s the one thing you have. You have your power, and nobody can take that away from you.” 

This story originally appeared in the Nov. 4 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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