Why Tatyana Ali Found Vanished: Searching For My Sister 'Challenging' - Exclusive

As an actor, preparing for a dark role can be difficult. It's even more challenging, however, when you have to play two roles — which is exactly what Tatyana Ali had to do in "Vanished: Searching for My Sister." "The chance to play twins, at first, was totally exciting to me," the "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" alum said during an exclusive interview with The List. Yet, playing both Jada and Kayla, who have completely opposite personalities, quickly turned into a pretty challenging feat.

Once Jada goes missing in the film, her sister Kayla takes it upon herself to dress up as her identical twin in order to find her. For these scenes, Ali had to play a character who was pretending to be the other character — that she also played. "That was confusing to everyone on-set," she laughed.

There were days where both of her characters even had to interact with one another. "It was a really interesting experience to just be creating that relationship with myself," Ali said. It was her first time using a split screen, too, which made the process even more difficult. "Split screen work is very exact," she explained. "You know, to make it work, a lot of movement is restricted, which kind of always sucks as an actor. You want to just ... live the way you think you should be living."

Though playing two different people had its own set of challenges, nothing compared to some of the violent scenes that Ali had to act out.

Depicting violence was very difficult for Tatyana Ali

"Vanished: Searching for My Sister" leaves viewers sitting on the edge of their seats, wondering what happened to Jada. As her sister Kayla begins searching for her in a world filled with abuse and drugs, Tatyana Ali had a hard time being on set for some of those scenes. "I think the most challenging part for me was actually the violence," she told The List.

At one point, her character fights for her life as another actor puts their hands around her throat. "It was hard, like, on those days," she admitted. "And I'm working with amazing actors who, like, are actually scaring the crap out of me. Like me, Tatyana." In the end, this fear made playing her characters even easier on screen.

Perhaps the most difficult part, however, is knowing that the film is a true story and that there are women out there who go through similar situations on a daily basis. "Just that violence, violence against women, negotiating that, making yourself small so someone else feels bigger and maybe will leave you alone. That really touched my heart," Ali said. "And that's the kind of stuff that I had to wash off, you know, every day. Yeah. That was the hardest part."

"Vanished: Searching for My Sister" premieres on Lifetime Saturday, January 22 at 8pm/7c.