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Sasha Pieterse on Why ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Fans Will Enjoy Watching Her Play Twins in ‘The Image of You’ (Exclusive)

Sasha Pieterse played the ultimate mean girl when she joined the cast of Pretty Little Liars as Alison DiLaurentis. Now, the actress thinks fans will get a taste of Rosewood while watching her play twins Anna and Zoe in her new film, The Image of You.

“I think [Alison] is kind of part of my subconscious when I play somebody like Zoe,” Pieterse, 28, exclusively told Us Weekly while chatting about the psychological thriller. “I was obviously used to playing a character like that for so long, and I kind of like to think of [her] as the grownup Ali. If Ali never changed, Zoe is the grownup Ali in her early 30s. What she would’ve evolved into.”

The Image of You, which hits theaters on Friday, May 10, is based on Adele Parks’ novel of the same name and follows identical yet polar opposite twins, both played by Pieterse. When softspoken Anna meets stock trader Nick (Parker Young), she thinks he’s perfect, but her sister, Zoe, has doubts and sets out on a mission to discover the truth about him.

While Pieterse likens Zoe to who Alison would be if she had never evolved, Anna is akin to who Alison eventually became during PLL’s later seasons.

Pretty Little Liars Where Are They Now

Related: So Long Rosewood! See What the 'Pretty Little Liars' Cast Is Up to Now

“It’s a fun kind of trick to play,” she told Us. “It’s like how do these characters interact with each other? Two Allison’s talking to each other, you’re sitting at different stages. How do they treat each other? What’s their relationship?”

Pieterse added that the dynamic between the twins is coated in “emotional abuse and manipulation,” noting that fans of PLL will “connect” the duo’s traits to Ali “naturally because they’re such vivid, very outrageous” characters. “You are really going to feel probably the same way you feel about Allison when you’re watching Anna and Zoe,” she teased.

Pieterse portrayed Alison throughout all seven seasons of PLL, which is based off Sara Shepard’s book series. Audiences watched as Ali grew from mysterious queen bee to a beloved member of the core group. And while her disappearance was a major plot point of the first few seasons, the show ultimately strayed away from the books’ narrative.

Sasha Pieterse on Why Pretty Little Liars Fans Will Enjoy Watching Her Play Twins in The Image of You 927
Republic Pictures

That meant Pieterse never got to bring the final novel’s biggest twist — that Alison had a twin, Courtney — to life on screen. Instead, the honor was given to Troian Bellisario, who played Spencer Hastings (and later, Alex Drake).

Now, Pieterse said fans are excited to see her live up to the challenge of playing two characters. “Finally Alison gets to be her twin essentially,” she quipped, laughing. “I get to live up my twin dream. It’s true. I know [showrunner] I. Marlene [King] wanted to keep everybody on their seats with the twin theories, but I am glad that I finally got to play two people.”

Playing twins who felt like two similar iterations of Alison allowed Pieterse to immediately understand how she would bring Anna and Zoe to life. The actress told Us that she knew “exactly” how she would play the duo, down to “what they would be wearing” for every scene.

Sasha Pieterse on Why Pretty Little Liars Fans Will Enjoy Watching Her Play Twins in The Image of You 930
Republic Pictures

When it came to creating traits and figuring out how to make them individualistic, Pieterse said that she and director Jeff Fisher sat down and crafted “two separate Pinterest boards” to share their ideas. There were also the minutia details to ensure that both twins came off as different people.

“My process was just kind of deciding [what clothing] to put on, to make sure that I had their walks down and their changes in tones, and then cross-referencing it with people. Being like, ‘Do you see Anna in this? Do you see Zoe in this?’ It was really fun,” she said. “The way that that’s shot is really, really fun.”

Lindsay Lohan in 'Parent Trap.'

Related: Stars Who’ve Played Twins

While Pieterse enjoyed playing the softer Anna, she confessed that the edgier Zoe was her favorite of the two, noting that it’s “more fun” to play the outlandish characters — something she’s become well acquainted with throughout her career.

“I mean, even with Pretty Little Liars, it’s nice to play the nice characters, but it’s way more fun to play the crazy devilish ones just because it feels like you’re putting on another body essentially,” she told Us. “So I think Anna was nice and sweet and friendly and that was comforting. But Zoe was definitely more fun.”

Pieterse added, “I would hope I’m not like Zoe … but I do really, really enjoy playing her.”

The Image of You now in select theaters and available to buy on digital.

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