The end of Pretty Little Liars is quickly approaching, which means the series stars will be looking forward to the next phase in their careers. For Troian Bellisario, who plays Spencer Hastings on the show, that means tackling her past eating disorder for a new film, titled Feed. As Bellisario discusses the plot of Feed, she finds herself speaking publicly about her own past problems and how they relate to her character in the drama, which Troian herself scripted. Additionally, Ms. Bellisario gives her Pretty Little Liars fans a few insights into directing Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale).
Troian Bellisario Tells A Personal Story In Feed
For her first feature-length script, Troian Bellisario tells Interview Magazine that she wanted to tell a story about the long-lasting effects of mental illness and how the scars of that struggle never really go away. The specific illness might be treated or even cured, but Bellisario suggests that the memories serve as a constant reminder and, in some case, instill a fear that the illness might return.
To tell her story, the Feed writer and actress wanted to write about her own personal experience with an eating disorder, which is something millions of people experience. Making Feed relatable meant making it personal for Troian.
“It was not easy; it was like engaging with an addiction,” says Bellisario. “One of the things I really wanted the film to explore was that once you have this relationship, once you have this mental illness or this disease, it never really goes away.”
On the surface, Feed doesn’t seem to have anything to do with mental illness or with eating disorders, as it tells the story of two teens (Bellisario and Tom Felton of the Harry Potter franchise) who are driven apart by a sudden tragedy. Troian hints that the plot of Feed is much more complicated than it seems, however. The Feed writer says the story, much like eating disorders, are more about control and power than about the actual hunger for food.
“If I can tell a story that puts the audience in a position to make a similar choice to the one that I made in my young life, maybe I could get them to empathize,” said Ms. Bellisario.
In writing Feed, Bellisario adds that it brought issues to the surface that she thought she had already resolved. Instead, the Feed star discovered that she had just been ignoring the problems that instigated her eating disorder. Troian said she was amazed to learn that taming the “dragon” was possible and so misleading in the way that it enables the person to believe it’s not still living within.
Troian Bellisario Directed This Week’s Pretty Little Liars
Warning: Spoilers from last night’s episode of Pretty Little Liars follows.
Ms. Bellisario reveals that this week’s episode of Pretty Little Liars was her most exciting episode ever, particularly because the actress stepped behind the camera to direct. WZZM 13 reveals that Troian’s discussion about the episode took place on the late-night talk show Truth & Iliza, which had Bellisario making debuts on two Freeform shows in one night. The actress joked that she should have guest-starred on Famous in Love, so fans could get a triple dose of Troian Bellisario.
While the Pretty Little Liars episode was fresh and new for fans, it had actually been filmed back in August. For Ms. Bellisario, revealing that her directorial debut was airing this week gave Troian a jolt of excitement and more than a few butterflies.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my god, it’s happening! Oh, wow. I guess I’ll be watching it?’ It’s overwhelming,” detailed Troian.
When asked about the episode, Troian says the thing that really stands out for her was working with Lucy Hale and the Bad Aria storyline. Troian recalls feeling that Hale’s Pretty Little Liars performances really stood out in the emotional episode.
“We did some really, really fun things that I don’t think anybody has seen Aria do and she just went there with them and I was so proud of her,” said the Pretty Little Liars star.
Feed premieres in theaters on July 18.
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays on Freeform.
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]