Director Jamie Babbit spills the beans on the coming out episode of “Pretty Little Liars”

 
 

AE:  Many of your films revolve around teenagers.  Obviously Pretty Little Liars is teen-centric as well.  What makes you gravitate toward this terrifying age group?
JB: 
I’m definitely attracted to teen stories.  I mean, I have been in the past, number one because I was just out of my teens when I started. It’s such a critical moment in our lives where we’re just defining ourselves. Dramatically, there’s a lot going on.

AE:  Did you enjoy being a teenager? Were you a happy teenager?
JB:
  I was a very happy teenager with lots of secret desires for my best friend. I was happy in my secret desires.

Jamie Babbit

 

AE: Did you come out when you were a teenager?
JB:  Hell no. 

AE: How old were you?
JB:
Well I was 16 when I came out to myself but … I don’t know what you mean by out … I mean, I was out to my boyfriend when I was 18, but the first time I hooked up with a girl I was like 22.

AE:  Which pretty little liar is a teenaged Jamie?
JB: 
Emily! Totally.

AE: Question from an AfterEllen.com reader - Will we ever find out more about Emily’s friendship/relationship with Alison? I adore her relationship with Maya and can easily see why Emily would be attracted to Maya but, based on what we know about Alison so far … I have no idea why anyone liked her at all, much less wanted to make out with her. JB:  Yeah, you understand more… There are flashbacks in my episode of the two of them in their private moments and you see why they’re friends.  She’s a typical girl but she’s really beautiful and basically she’s very seductive to Emily and doesn’t mind hooking up with her…

AE: Question from @natthedem – What do you think about the evolution of the portrayal of gay and lesbian teens on television?
JB: 
I think it’s getting much better. So, I think the evolution is great.

AE: In your films you have control over casting. When you come in on a show that is already running you don’t. Is it challenging to direct a group of strangers who already have established characters?
JB:
No, sometimes it’s easier because you’re not starting from the ground up.  You’re just dealing with the dramatics of the scenes, not the arcs of their lives, so there’s a nice shorthand when you work in TV.  They already know their characters.  And Marlene casts really great, talented actors so that’s very helpful. 

AE: What did you think about working with this group specifically?
JB:
They were all really sweet, super eager, really talented.  Sometimes with older actors they’re more like, bitter and just trying to get a paycheck so that makes it a little harder sometimes.

AE: Do you have any of your own projects coming up?
JB:
I’m doing a queer thriller that Guin Turner wrote called Breaking the Girl.  It’s kind of like a lesbian version of Strangers on a Train

AE: Who is "A"?
JB:
How are you?

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