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Life Sentence Star Reveals The Pitfalls of Her Character ‘Living Like She’s Dying’

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The CW is set to premiere its newest hour-long series, Life Sentence, and star Lucy Hale discusses what about the show appealed to her so much. The former Pretty Little Liar co-star takes the lead in a new show as Stella Abbott, a young cancer survivor whose new lease on life comes with the realization that she has a lot to learn about herself, her family, and the world around her.

At its heart, the series is a semi-comical look at family dysfunction, as it quickly becomes apparent Stella’s parents and her siblings were protecting her from certain truths during her illness. At the same time, though, the series aims to be about Stella discovering who she really is, which considering she’s been, as Hale puts it, “living like she’s dying” means dealing with the consequences of some fairly impulsive decisions.

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Screen Rant was one of several publications invited to the set of Life Sentence last November, where Hale previewed and discussed the series at length and dove into some of her character’s motivations. Hale was quick to point out that although Stella has been defined by her illness up to this point, she’s eager to discover what life is like now that she’s been given a second chance, but don’t expect it to be smooth sailing.

“So initially when I had gotten approached with this idea, I met with Erin [Cardillo] and Rich [Keith], who wrote the pilot. And they had said, 'Wouldn't it be interesting if the girl who's supposed to die ended up living and she has to live with all of these decisions and choices she made while she was living like she was dying.'

Where we pick up in the pilot, you meet this girl who is pretty impulsive anyway, but if she's living like she's dying she's going to do some pretty crazy stuff, like marry a guy she's known for three days in Paris, and who knows what else she's gotten herself into. But … she realizes she has no idea who she is and no idea who her family really is because they've been protecting her in this little bubble from the reality of their problems and the reality of the world. So, when she finds out she's going to live it's a bittersweet moment because at the same time she realizes how insanely dysfunctional her family is and that's been so fun to dive into in the later episodes.”

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Coming off a long-running series like Pretty Little Liars, Life Sentence presents an interesting change of pace for the actor. Not only is there no overarching mystery, but, despite there being a strong supporting cast, the new series is essentially a starring vehicle for Hale. It definitely seems as though it fits into The CW’s non-superhero wheelhouse, though more in the vein of previous hits like Heart of Dixie than, say, Jane the Virgin or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. If that’s the case, then the network may be looking at a successful new series that isn’t part of the Arrowverse.

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Life Sentence premieres tonight @9pm on The CW.

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