"Pretty" no more!
Troian Bellisario is saying goodbye to her flawlessly fashionable "Pretty Little Liars" alter ego and embracing a very dark and dirty role in the new thriller "Martyrs," in which she portrays Lucie, a young woman on a mission of vengeance against the people who kidnapped and tortured her as a child.
But the 30-year-old actress didn't shy away from shedding the glamorous skin for which she's best known.
"I loved having a lot less makeup and hair to worry about," Troian told Wonderwall.com of her role in "Martyrs." "It was so wonderful to get to have my hair be messed up and to not really have makeup on -- and that helped me get in the mindset of the character."
Still, getting into costume for her role in "Martyrs" wasn't exactly a cakewalk.
"The thing that was difficult with 'Martyrs' was that we were dealing with crazy amounts of continuity," Troian told us. "My character has extensive scarring on her back and arms, so that was a lot of makeup. And then as the movie went on, I take a pretty big beating. So we had to keep in mind, 'OK, I've got a glass shard in my leg. I've got a scrape up on my arm that's bandaged now, and I've got several cuts. I've got old scars. I've got new scars. I've got a fleck of blood on my left cheek.' So it was funny that towards the end, even though it wasn't an hour and a half of hair and makeup glam-style that I usually have, it was definitely two hours of prosthetic scars and insane wounds."
"You're in the makeup chair no matter what!" she adds.
Surprisingly, the glam makeover Troian receives for her role in "Pretty Little Liars" may actually be more unnatural for the actress than the makeup-free look she sports in "Martyrs."
"The good thing about all the hair and makeup that I have on 'Pretty Little Liars' is that I know when I'm in that hair and makeup and costume that I'm Spencer," Troian says. "It helps me be in that world."
"But I've never felt like I fit into the world of 'Pretty,'" she adds. "I've always from the very beginning of the show felt like the prettier they try to make me or the more perfect they try to make me, it just doesn't make sense for me. I don't understand it."
"They always have a real problem with me on set because I just want to do the scene," she continues. "They're like, 'No, no, no, your hair is out of place. We have to do this,' and I'm like, 'Why do I give a s--- if my hair is out of place? I'm being chased down by a psycho killer, and my boyfriend is dead in the woods. Screw my hair!'"
"So when nobody was following me around with a blow dryer or a curling iron before a really emotional scene [on the set of 'Martyrs'], I was like, 'This is awesome!'" she concludes.
Troian's aversion to looking perfect isn't just about being realistic, though -- "It's actually kind of a relief and an exciting difference [from 'PLL'] because I get to explore a little bit more of a grounded reality," she says of her work in "Martyrs."
She also chafes against society's obsession with physical perfection.
"I find that with a lot of the younger fans [of 'Pretty Little Liars'], there's this obsession with the word perfect or flawless," Troian told us. "You're so perfect. You're so flawless. I'm like, 'Well, what's interesting about that? And why do we care? Why do we want that?'"
Getting to show a more genuine side of herself wasn't the only thing Troian loved about working on the thriller. Apparently, she also got a kick out of wielding a shotgun on set.
"I've worked with guns a lot, and I've worked with rifles on a couple of other projects, but I've never worked with a shotgun -- and I've never had to constantly kick down a door and start blasting people," she told us. "So that was the most fun and challenging thing form me. And that was actually the first day of shooting!"
Between her derision to unrealistically glam hair and makeup and her affinity for kicking butt on camera, there's clearly more to Troian Bellisario than what meets the eye -- and we're loving it!
You can catch "Martyrs" in theaters and on Digital HD on Jan. 22 and on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 2.