Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Lindsay Calhoon Bring Interview: Pretty Little Liars Original Sin

HBO Max's Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin reintroduces fans of Freeform's Pretty Little Liars to a new generation of individuals embroiled in a murder mystery. Set in the town of Millwood, Original Sin fixates on the stories of a group of high-school-aged girls who face their own predicaments and are drawn closer together as the plot progresses.

Original Sin was created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who co-wrote the series with Lindsay Calhoon Bring. Prior to Original Sin, Aguirre-Sacasa developed both Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Original Sin's main cast features Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Maia Reficco, Malia Pyles, Mallory Bechtel, and Zaria.


Related: How Is Original Sin Connected To The Original Pretty Little Liars?

Screen Rant interviewed Aguirre-Sacasa and Calhoon Bring about constructing each character's story in Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, as well as their horror-inspired approach to the series.


Cast of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin standing outside

Screen Rant: How much did you try to emulate the original Pretty Little Liars? What did you try to change?

Lindsay Calhoon Bring: I think we wanted to honor the original show but not necessarily emulate it, which is why we tried to set ourself apart and expand upon the universe a bit. One of the ways we really wanted to differentiate ourselves was to make this a horror show and specifically, a slasher horror genre show. We loved from the original, obviously, the icon that is A, everchanging the mystery of who A is. For us, one of the big jumping-off points was making A a killer like Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees. So, it was really for us about taking some of the things that we loved about the original show and being inspired by them to set ourselves apart and do something a little different.

There are so many interesting characters in this series. What were your goals as writers for fleshing out characters individually and their relationships with each other?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Obviously, it's an ensemble show with these five high-school girls becoming friends, and that's obviously the bread and butter of the show, that's the franchise — the friendship of these five girls. We did, though, want to make sure that each of them had their own storyline that they were driving, had their own issues that they were exploring, that we knew what they wanted, what their greatest fears were. We really wanted to dimensionalize all of the girls.

The other thing is we decided early on that these girls would not be friends when the show started, that they would know each other but not necessarily be a tight-knit group of friends. We wanted by the end of the season for that friendship to really have been earned and solidified. I think that was kind of the big animating ideas behind the writing and the breaking of the story was to give each girl her franchise, her own story, and then by the end, really think, "Wow, they became friends, they were forged together, they survived together," and have that feel satisfying emotionally.

How did you approach establishing that air of mystery and suspense and maintaining that all the way through?

Lindsay Calhoon Bring: Roberto and I are such horror fans. I think we were able to connect about our love of horror, what scares us, what are our favorite horror moments, movies and TV shows. It was really exciting to create a new horror villain and create new horror set pieces. We knew that we wanted to tie the horror to our characters very specifically, so as writers, it was important to us to know the girls, to know what might scare them, and to know what might be satisfying for them as characters.

An example of that is our character Noa — played amazingly by Maia Reficco — is a track star. So, of course, having someone who is a runner as a lead of your show, it lends itself in the horror genre to an epic chase. So, those were some of the setups and payoffs, writer-wise, throughout the show — creating characters and finding amazing horror moments for each of them.

What do you think fans of the original series will be most excited about in Original Sin?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: I hope that they are excited and I hope that they're excited by the fact that we love and honor the original series. We're not trying to replace it, or redo it, or fix it, or anything like that. It's such a perfect, so entertaining, so watchable, so fun — so, I hope that people are excited by the fact that we're just trying to expand the PLL cinematic universe and we hope that they're excited by the new, more horror-movie take on this story and the villain, as Lindsay said, and then, that they're really excited about these amazing actresses at the heart of the show.

What can you tease about the show’s future? Is there a plan for more seasons?

Lindsay Calhoon Bring: Roberto and I certainly have had conversations and have plans for more stories beyond the story in season 1. We can say that for sure, we think we have many, many more stories to tell and many more scares to inflict upon everyone.

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Synopsis

cast of Pretty Little Liars Original Sin

Twenty years ago, a series of tragic events almost ripped the blue-collar town of Millwood apart. Now, in present day, a disparate group of teen girls — a brand-new set of Little Liars — find themselves tormented by an unknown Assailant and made to pay for the secret sin committed by their parents two decades well as their own.

In the dark, coming-of-age, horror-tinged drama Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, we find ourselves miles away from Rosewood, but within the existing Pretty Little Liars universe — in a brand-new town, with a new generation of Little Liars.

Check out our other interview with Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin stars Bailee Madison & Chandler Kinney.