The Pretty Little Liars spinoff is quickly becoming a huge hit. The show follows Alison and Mona in a new setting. And with a new murder to deal with. This time, the victim at the helm is Nolan, played by British hottie Chris Mason. YEM spoke with Chris Mason on the night of The Perfectionists premiere. Check out our exclusive interview with Chris as he talks about entering the PLL universe.
Young Entertainment Mag: How familiar were you with the PLL universe?
Chris Mason: It’s so well known so it’s hard to get away from Pretty Little Liars. I’ve definitely known about the show for the past few years. The summer before we shot the pilot, I worked with Sasha on a movie called the Honor List. When I first met her, I looked up PLL and when I got the job, I watched a couple of episodes before I started filming. I only had about 3 or 4 days from getting the job to getting to shoot. So I watched a couple of episodes to get the feeling for the show. The director and the producers told me that this show was going to have a bit more of a darker, sexier edge so I was excited about that.
YEM: Do you prepare differently when filming the darker, sexier scenes?
Chris: No, I think like any scene, you have to be present and connect. If you know your character enough, it should be as natural as any other scene.
YEM: Tell us about your character Nolan.
Chris: Nolan is…I wouldn’t say he’s academically smart. He’s smart street-wise. He’s a mischievous guy. He knows how to play people and he doesn’t take no for an answer. I also think, as the actor that plays him, that he’s misunderstood. But he’s definitely a guy who’s not afraid to take action when he thinks things need to be done.
YEM: Did you have to find redeeming qualities of Nolan when you were cast?
Chris: Yeah. It’s always fun to play a bad guy character – someone who is universally disliked. As an actor, they always jump out at you. But I always try to find a depth and I think the great thing about reading the script was I hope I found a little moment of the redeeming qualities of Nolan. And hopefully the audience will see that. I think he’ll be a straight down the middle kind of character. People are either going to love him or people are going to hate him. So I’m looking forward to finding out.
YEM: Do you have a favorite scene that you’ve filmed?
Chris: Yeah, I can’t really say much about the content of the scene. But one of my favorite memories, a bittersweet memory; I got some bad news from my family back home in England on my first day on set. But I still had a couple of scenes to film. I went to set and I was working with Sydney [Park, who plays Caitlin]. We had some time to kill so I had to tell her the news. She was just amazing how she dealt with it. When we got to set, the whole crew who found out throughout the day, everyone was super professional and made it about the work. We shot the scene, and I don’t actually remember much about the scene. But I remember everyone making me feel like I could get through it. That meant a lot.
YEM: At the end of the first episode, Nolan [SPOILER ALERT] is found impaled on a fence. How does Nolan’s story move forward as the season progresses?
Chris: Nolan’s story ties together a lot of stories. So to tell the full story of the show, you need to know Nolan’s story. It’s imperative to everybody’s story. I think that’s as much as I can say right now!
YEM: Did you have the chance to talk to [PLL series creator] I Marlene King and [PLL author] Sara Shepard about your character?
Chris: When I auditioned for the role, the breakdown described a lot of physical differences. He had blonder hair, which I believe was mentioned in the books. But the character traits were what attracted me to the audition in the first place. When I wanted to know more, Marlene was great. She was always on set and was very approachable. I got to meet Sara as well while we were filming the pilot. The director Liz Allen as well, she was fantastic. She gave me a lot of room to play on set. Nolan is a very playful character. So she gave me the chance to use that playfulness in between takes and get the extra reacting. Everyone definitely contributed to the Nolan you see on screen.
YEM: What are you excited for fans to see throughout the rest of the season?
Chris: I’m just excited for them to finally have it! I know they’ve all been counting down the days and the seconds and the hours for this show. I know they’re going to dissect it and consume it and that’s great. They’re the people that we make the show for. So I’m looking forward to them finally getting their turn to see it.
YEM: What can fans look forward to in the rest of the season?
Chris: They can look forward to a lot of drama. And a lot of twists and turns.
Listen to YEM’s interview with Chris below: