We all know and love Ashley Benson as “Hanna Marin” on one of our favorite shows, Pretty Little Liars. While we’re used to watching her speculate and scheme from our couches every Tuesday, now we are getting to see her in a brand new role. Ashley stars in Pixels alongside Adam Sandler and Josh Gad as a sexy video game vixen come to life. We sat down with Ashley to talk about her first big studio movie, and of course, a little bit of PLL!
Cambio: What was the best piece of advice director, Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Rent, Mrs. Doubtfire), gave you on set?
Ashley Benson: “More than giving me advice, it was just watching him do his craft. He’s just so specific and he knows what he wants. You know, we didn’t get to film with all of the stuff flying through the air, it was mostly imagining all of the things flying at you and having to kill them. He helped me to stand straight, to walk like you’re a video game hero, like you’re tough, you’re bad. So, every time I did something, he would give me a little, ‘Hey, do it this way. You’re a guy, you’re going to kick ass!’ Sorry for my French… But, you know he was very helpful in that sense because I felt crazy standing in the middle of Toronto swinging swords in the air!”
C: What was the best part about playing a video game vixen?
AB: “I think just being able to learn how to sword fight and train. It was crazy, we trained for three weeks and I had to learn how to handle swords and move them in certain ways. I didn’t know what I was doing half the time! It was really hard, I had to practice at home. Just learning how to do a bunch of jumps and kicks and turns, and fighting with a partner. Being sure I wouldn’t stab Josh in the face was hard! When it wasn’t a stunt double, it was Josh, and sometimes we’d have to be on the same page for me to not get hurt, or vice versa. It was really fun, though, I loved it!”
C: Let’s talk about Pretty Little Liars. What do you and the other girls like to do together when you’re not working?
AB: “I love to eat, so we love to go to dinner. Me and Shay [Mitchell] always go to dinner. Troian [Bellisario], too. Me and Troian just went to a movie. You know, we work so much, that I don’t really do anything when I’m done filming. I just love to hang out with my dogs. But, if anything, we all love to go to one person’s house and hang out, cook dinner, jam…”
C: Do you guys ever prank each other on set? Is there an embarrassing story you can tell us?
AB: “There’s so many things that I’ve done! I’m usually the one pranking people and making them really uncomfortable. If anybody’s new to set, I’ll pretend that I’m fighting with someone, and yell at them and make them fake cry, and the girls will be like, ‘Yeah…she’s crazy.’ So, I’ll give them a hard time for the first hour that they’re on set, and then I’m really nice to them. I love to keep it fun and exciting, because being on set for a long time can get really exhausting.”
C: We are partnered with an initiative called #BUILTBYGIRLS that encourages young girls that they can do whatever they want to do and build whatever they want to build. Having had such success at a young age, what is the one piece of advice you would give a girl trying to follow her dreams?
AB: “Don’t ever give up. You’re going to be told, ‘no’ a lot more than you’ll be told ‘yes.’ Even to this day, I’m told no all the time. You can’t let it discourage you. There’s been times where I’ve said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m tired,’ and then everything just starts going again. Some people are very lucky and they just get it right off the bat, and for other people, it takes more time for. If you really want to do it, whatever career you choose, you just have to keep going. Literally, don’t let ‘no’ get you down. Somebody’s going to say, ‘no,’ but somebody else is going to say, ‘yes.'”
Make sure to check out Ashley in Pixels, in theaters everywhere!