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?
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?
  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?
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?
Emily! Totally.

AE: Question from an 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?
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?
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?
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?
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"?
How are you?

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