.: Holly Marie Combs & Chad Lowe Talk Pretty Little Liars :.
The new ABC Family drama Pretty Little Liars is set in the perfect little town of Rosewood. So quiet and pristine, you would never guess that it holds so many secrets. Some of the ugliest ones belong to the prettiest girls in town – Aria (Lucy Hale), Hanna (Ashley Benson), Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Emily (Shay Mitchell).
As the four estranged friends, whose darkest secrets are about to unravel, have to turn to each other over the year-old disappearance of the Queen Bee of their group, Alison (Sasha Pieterse), the girls realize that what they swore they would never tell might be brought to light, whether they like it or not.
Holly Marie Combs and Chad Lowe are playing Aria’s parents, who have secrets of their own. During an interview to promote their new series, the actors talked about what attracted them to Pretty Little Liars and how they enjoy taking on characters who have conflicts of their own.
Q: What attracted you both to this show?
Holly: It’s a fun, contemporary and very exciting show. It’s not often that you’re given an opportunity that fits into your little box of what you can do, what you want to do and what you’re able to do. I have three kids.
Chad: I like that every character is dealing with conflict and there’s a certain moral ambiguity.
Q: Your character is a cheater.
Holly: Yes, he is!
Chad: It doesn’t wrap things up in a nice, white bow. It’s messy, complicated, compelling, funny and touching. It has all the qualities that I look for in a show that I would want to watch. You want to be on a show that you’d actually like to watch, and this has all of those elements. God knows, I’ve been on a few show that I didn’t want to watch. I’m not going to name them.
Q: Are your roles going to get bigger throughout the run of the series?
Holly: I don’t know. We don’t really know.
Chad: We’ve shot five episodes now and what’s different about this show, for the parents, is that rather than what’s traditional for the parents on a show – like even with Melrose Place or 90210, or many shows previous to that – they aren’t just scenery in the backdrop. They have their own issues and conflicts.
Holly: We do have our own storylines going.
Chard: And, these conflicts aren’t separate at all from the children. They’re very much integrated, which represents the style of parenting that each one of the parents has on the show. They’re very involved in their kids’ lives, and the kids are very involved in their parents’ lives. In some ways, that mirrors what’s happening in society today.
Q: Holly, how old are your kids now?
Holly: My kids are 6, 3 and almost 1.
Q: So, you took a hiatus for awhile and now you’re back to work?
Holly: I did. I don’t want to say that I had 30-35 to have kids, but it did kind of work out that way. I worked during my 20s, and then I turned 30 and it was time for that to happen. I guess I got as many in as I could, in five years.
Q: Are any of your kids interested in acting?
Chad: Acting out.
Holly: My 6-year-old is kind of dramatic. I’m thinking it may run in the bloodlines, which is evident in Chad’s family. I didn’t know that it maybe it was a genetic thing. My son will put on plays all by himself and not realize that’s what he’s doing, but it’s pretend, imaginative play. I look at him and go, “Oh, no! Please don’t do that!” I would like them to have a more normal life than I had. When they’re 18, they can do whatever they want. If he wants to become an actor at 18, more power to him, but he’s going to have to wait until then.
Q: Chad, are you directing as much as you were?
Chad: Not right now, just because of the show, but yeah, I’m continuing to do that.
Q: Which is more fun?
Chad: They’re both a lot of fun, honestly. They’re very different. They occupy different sides of your brain, somehow. I think directing is a little more demanding. Certainly, it’s a little more demanding than the schedule we have.
Holly: We have a pretty easy schedule.
Chad: We’ve got a pretty cush gig here. It’s not bad, at all. But, I love directing and will continue to do that.
Q: Will you direct any episodes of this show?
Chad: You know, perhaps. There’s always a chance. Not in the first season, certainly. Every show tries to find its voice in the first season, and I don’t know if they would risk it for me, but I certainly would love to direct the show sometime.
Q: Chad, what do you think of your brother, Rob Lowe, leaving Brothers & Sisters?
Chad: I think that they really told the story of that character. I’m not so sure there was much more for him to do. And, I know the split was amicable. I know he loves his new job, and I think Brothers & Sisters will be just fine without him. It’s a great show.
Q: Holly, being a working mom, do you have any stress relief secrets?
Holly: I don’t have time for stress relievers. I go home and there’s animals to be fed, and that’s only if the children have been fed beforehand. And then, somewhere in that, I eat occasionally, but never while sitting down. It’s always while standing up in the kitchen, or walking.
Chad: So, clearly, her stress reliever is going to work.
Holly: Sadly, it is. That’s when I sit in my trailer in quiet and go, “Wow, listen to how quiet it is.” And then, they knock on my trailer, and I’m up and ready to go.
Q: What makes you happy in life?
Holly: What makes me happy, these days, is when all of my children are virus free, which doesn’t happen a lot. Somebody is always sneezing or puking. So, when they’re all happy and healthy and sleeping well, as a mom, that’s really my main focus.
Q: Is it a good time for you right now, to do this type of show?
Holly: It is. Chad and I have a very cushy schedule. We work one to two days a week. It’s hard for me, as a professional, to give so little and not have the weight of the show bearing down on me. It’s an adjustment, but at the same time, it’s really all I can swing right now, and not have my kids miss me, all that much.
Q: Do they go to the set with you at all?
Holly: They haven’t yet. I don’t think the set is ready for my children yet. As they get used to me, then I will introduce them to my offspring.
Q: Holly, are you still in touch with Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan?
Holly: I am. Alyssa actually lives in the same neighborhood as me. I’m waiting for Shannen to call me back. And, I believe Rose is in Bulgaria doing Conan.
Q: Would you go on Dancing with the Stars, like Shannen did?
Holly: No. It’s a lot of work. I don’t think people know how much work it is. And, if you’re not a born athlete, you’re going to be in trouble. It’s a lot of work, but it looks like a lot of fun. The costume designer from Charmed does all the costumes, and it was a great amount of fun to go and watch. It’s much more fun in person than it actually is on TV.
Pretty Little Liars premieres on ABC Family on June 8th