Exclusive: Shay Mitchell talks Emaya, doing her own stunts, and why she loves playing gay

There’s a rumor running rampant in Hollywood that Shay Mitchell is the nicest person in the entertainment industry. “As beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside,” people are always telling me. Which, as you know, is saying something. Shay didn’t do anything to dispel the rumors when I spoke to her in late December. After 18 solid months of filming, she finally had a holiday, during which she should have been resting, or celebrating, or at least combating her terrible cold. But nope, on her first real vacation since shooting the Pretty Little Liars pilot, she called me up to chat about the mayhem of season 2B, the launch of her new website, and why she thinks landing the role of Emily Fields was meant to be.

AfterEllen.com: This is kind of embarrassing, but I was actually just shouting at you on TV because I’m watching the winter premiere and Oh, my God!
Shay Mitchell
: I know!

AE: No, seriously. Oh, my God.
SM
: No, seriously! I know!

AE: We should do this for like an hour. I’ll just shout incoherently at you while you affirm my Pretty Little Liars mania.
SM
: Good idea. Where are you in the episode?

AE: You’re in the greenhouse with “A” and you just went flying over a table with glass shattering everywhere. Was that really you?
SM
: Yes! My dream movie role is some kind of action role where I get to blow up cars while running in heels. And so this was such a fun taste of that. We had stunt people on set doing the choreography, and I was like, “Um, I’d really rather just do it myself.” They’re always like, “Shay, please don’t jump over that table.” And I’m like, “Yeah, no worries; I won’t.” And then when the cameras start, I run full throttle and throw myself at it. My knees were so bruised up after that — but it was totally worth it.

AE: I talked to Marlene yesterday and she said season 2B is full-on Badass Emily. Are we going to get to see more?
SM
: Oh, yes. And it was so much fun to play! When Emily started out in season one, she was kind of reserved and kind of willing to sit back and let things happen as they happened, let other people take control. And she’s evolved so much since then. She doesn’t give a crap anymore. Like, you want to call her the weakest link? She’ll show you the weakest link.

AE: I’m only going on what I’ve seen so far in the premiere, but 2B seems creepy as hell.
SM
: You have no idea. Honestly, it was kind of scary shooting that greenhouse scene. I mean, we always have lots of crew around, but it was dark and the cameras were outside and I was in there by myself most of the time.

AE: Marlene told me her sons were on set the final day of filming and the youngest one got so creeped out by A’s lair that he had to leave.
SM
: I saw that room on the final day of shooting. I was hanging around on set talking to Marlene and she was like, “Let me show you this room.” And we went in there and I was like, “Holy — thanks for giving me nightmares as I’m heading home by myself!” The second half of this season is intense. It’s creepy. Not kid creepy. Grown-up creepy.

AE: Great. I couldn’t even walk my dogs outside after the sun went down for like a solid week after the Halloween episode.
SM
: Oh, Heather. You’re going to need a hand to hold for the rest of this season. Don’t watch it alone. I’m always telling Marlene that she’s got a nail in her head or something. She comes up with the most twisted stuff. Well, all the writers do. I have such a tremendous amount of respect for our writers, for the way they build on Sara Shepherd‘s stories. I mean, even the way they’re able to stay on top of everything going on with all the characters. It’s a full-time job just keeping up with who Emily is dating!

AE: Yeah, let’s talk about Emily’s love life in 2B. Is she going to settle down with Maya or continue to play the field and date every gorgeous girl in the state of Pennsylvania?
SM
: Well, I can tell you that someone comes back —

AE: You can say it’s Maya. I already know it’s Maya.
SM
: Oh, good! OK, so Maya comes back and things really heat up with them. There are some intimate scenes with them, more intimate than Emily has ever had on the show. But the thing with Maya is that she’s been away for a while, and Emily didn’t just stand still while she was gone. She’s been growing and embracing her sexuality and owning who she really is. And so it’s a neat connection because it’s almost like they’re meeting each other for the first time. Maya is going to be a little shocked with how forward and how comfortable Emily is with herself now. Emily is a new Emily, and we’re going to find out if Maya likes the new Emily as much as Emily likes the new Emily. There are some pretty steamy scenes.

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