Pop Culture

Lucy Hale talks ‘Katy Keene,’ the upcoming musical episode and why she relates to this more than ‘Pretty Little Liars’

Lucy Hale has played magnetic young women navigating love and friendships before — look no further than her run on Pretty Little Liars, the dark, revenge-filled teen drama that lasted seven seasons. 

Hale, 30, portrayed the most endearing, and arguably most liked, character on the sexy-yet-sinister Liars, so it’s not a huge leap to see her join the Archie universe on the Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene. The CW’s Riverdale, based on the Archie comic books, has been compared to Liars due to a similar neo-noir tone and penchant for character deaths.

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But Katy exists in a different lane than Riverdale or the sometimes-gruesome The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which also exists under the Archie umbrella. 

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“No one is dying on [Katy Keene],” said Hale, laughing, to Global News. “Ultimately, the show is about friendship and it’s about chasing your dreams, and it’s a show that should hopefully leave you feeling really inspired.”

The show, which premiered in early February on W Network, follows Katy Keene, a charming 20-something working at a department store while aspiring to be a fashion designer. 

Keene and her friends, which include musician Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray, who left Riverdale to play the same character on Katy), artist Pepper Smith (Julia Chan) and Jorge Lopez (Jonny Beauchamp), a Broadway actor pursuing a drag career, navigate issues like breakups, career roadblocks and unpaid rent together. 

Global News spoke to Lucy Hale over the phone about Katy and what viewers can expect this season.

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B.C. diner featured in ‘Riverdale’ creates milkshake to honour actor Luke Perry

Global News: Riverdale has been on for a few seasons now. Were you a fan of the show before you booked Katy?

Lucy Hale: It’s really interesting because I think right when Riverdale premiered, Pretty Little Liars was ending. So I feel like all the Pretty Little Liar fans went to Riverdale because tonally, they’re a very similar show. I remember watching the pilot of it and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is really good,’ it was such a beautiful show to watch. 

I definitely was a fan of the worlds that were created with Riverdale and Sabrina, so when Katy Keene came along, I was shocked to realize it was from the same creators. It’s a standalone show. 

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You recently made a cameo on Riverdale as Katy Keene. Who else from the Archie universe will we see on Katy? Any crossovers coming up?

Katy (Lucy Hale) and Jorge (Jonny Beauchamp) in ‘Katy Keene’. (Photo: The CW/ W Network)

I love that in the Archie universe, we keep everyone in the family. One of the people [appearing on Katy] is Mark Consuelos, he’s going to be on our show, he plays Hiram Lodge on Riverdale

Actually, this week there’s a cast member who gets introduced in Katy’s life who becomes a potential love interest. I don’t know if it’s been announced yet, his name is Luke Cook and he plays the devil on Sabrina. He’s the best — he plays the opposite of the devil on our show. [Laughs]

How is working with Ashleigh Murray, who left Riverdale to join Katy?

For all the Riverdale fans we do have Ashleigh, who plays Josie on Riverdale, who moves to New York and that’s kind of the tie-in between the worlds.

She’s really being showcased on this show. Katy Keene is a much better world for Josie to live in. She kind of thrives in New York City. And Ashleigh is just so sweet, and we’ve all gotten really close. The chemistry you see on camera is real. 

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Katy involves musical performances throughout the show. You’ve had a career as a singer — were you excited for that element?

I love music and I’ve pursued it in a couple of different ways, but I love it the most in this setting, through acting. We get to do a whole musical episode and I get to sing a couple of times. That’s what makes the show really unique because it has a whimsical, fairy tale-like vibe to it at times. Sometimes we just bust out into song, so that’s really fun.

I definitely can’t say what musical we do, but I will say that my song that I sing in the finale, it’s from a Broadway show. It’s actually one of my top five favourite songs of all time, coincidentally. I can’t believe that I actually got to sing it. I can’t wait for people to hear it.

Katy has been compared to Sex and the City, especially because of the outfits the characters wear and Katy’s storyline. Are you personally into fashion and design?

Josie (Ashleigh Murray), Pepper (Julia Chan) and Katy (Lucy Hale) in ‘Katy Keene.’ (Photo: David Giesbrecht/The CW/W Network )

Josie (Ashleigh Murray), Pepper (Julia Chan) and Katy (Lucy Hale) in ‘Katy Keene.’ (Photo: David Giesbrecht/The CW/W Network )

Because of what I do for a living, it’s given me a whole new world of things I can wear and discovering new designers. Even before I was living in L.A., I just always loved clothes and I see myself in that way.

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My character on Pretty Little Liars, she had a strong sense of style, but Katy is on a whole other playing field because she is a seamstress, she knows how to pronounce all the designers’ names. [Laughs]

On Liars and in Katy you play women who are figuring themselves out. Who do you relate to more: Aria or Katy?

Definitely Katy. Katy’s just very passionate about life, very driven and she wants to do good things and do big things and try her best to help people along the way. She just really enjoys life, and just her passion for what she wants to do with her career. That reminded me so much of myself and moving to L.A. But even now, I still have that spark where I just want to do better and try new things and challenge myself. So it’s very easy to tap into her.

‘Katy Keene’ airs on Thursday nights at 8 p.m ET/PT on the W Network.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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