The 25-year-old Pretty Little Liars star spoke to MTV News this week about her reading for the big screen adaptation. The E L James novel is notorious for its S&M sex scenes, and Hale says the subject matter made her tryout "awkward" and "unlike any audition I have ever done in my life."
"It actually was just me [in the audition]," she reveals. "It was a two-page monologue of exactly what you would think it would be. Very uncomfortable, but it was sort of one of those things were you just had to go for it or you're gonna look lame. Hopefully, I didn't look lame."
The part of Anastasia Steele eventually went to Dakota Johnson, but Kristen Stewart, Lily Collins and Nina Dobrev were among the many actresses said to be interested in the role. Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as Steele's lover Christian Grey, but he gave up the part and Jamie Dornan was brought on instead.
"I think any girl in my demographic would have loved to do it," Hale relates. "Mainly, I was just interested in doing something risky and doing something a little different than my character on PLL, so it took me out of my comfort zone."
Hale will keep busy with Pretty Little Liars and her budding country music career. She released her debut album, The Road Between, on June 3 to mostly positive reviews. 50 Shades of Grey debuts in theaters February 13, 2015.