Other than the mystery surrounding A, one of the most exciting parts of Pretty Little Liars
is the forbidden liaison between Aria (Lucy Hale) and her super hot, now former, English teacher, Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding). Last episode, Ezra and Aria were hotter than ever
as they went public with their relationship.
Today, Ian Harding spoke to the press about the current season, his relationships with Lucy Hale and the rest of the PLL cast and what he does behind the scenes.
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How do you view the current status of Ezra and Aria's relationship?
Ian: It is always a fluctuating status. It is always shaken up. Aria has stuff that she is keeping from Ezra because it is so crazy, I think in some ways she doesn't think he will believe it. It's a very mature, real relationship to say the least.
Why do you think people love Ezra and Aria's relationship so much?
Ian: I think because it's so right, there's this connection that is so undeniable and once in a lifetime. The problem is the circumstances, the element of forbidden love--that it needs to happen, but oh, it can't happen. But, it's them trying to work it out and make this love happen, I think people can really relate to that and really love that.
Could you tell us about a time in your own life when, like Ezra, you were attracted to somebody that you couldn't have or shouldn't have?
Ian: I feel like everybody goes through that in their life. There was a moment when I got out here to Los Angeles and I was newly single, I thought this one person was just amazing and she was also an actress. She was kind of in a relationship at the time and I was like, "this is so wrong, this is so wrong." Once I finally got to know the person I realized they were not who I thought they were. I think that's probably the most or the worst obsession that I've had recently.
How much does Ezra factor into the game that A is playing, considering that A has a spare key to the apartment now?
Ian: A is going to be messing with Ezra a little bit more, and whether or not he knows that is going to be up in the air. It is more dangerous, and probably a little more fun for A to start putting a wedge between Aria and Ezra, and have Ezra not know about it, thinking, "oh, what's going on?" and Aria's thinking, "I have to keep it together, keep A away from Ezra," and it creates this wedge among other things.
Is there anything you can tease us with from this season's ninth episode about the physical relationship of Ezra and Aria?
Ian: It gets a little bit more adult, but how it's done will be different than viewers will expect. We've shot some scenes where Lucy and I have been very comfortable with each other. But ultimately I don't think it's going to be as racy as some might expect, but the ante is going to be up to say the least.
How are scenes different to shoot when you are filming with just you and Lucy as opposed to filming with the rest of the cast?
Ian: Lucy and I have a comfort zone that is other-worldly. We had to take a photograph where we had to be affectionate, and it got to the point where I remembered that when we first started shooting, when we were going to do a make out scene we were literally brushing our teeth beforehand and flossing and chewing all kinds of gum, and now we're lucky if the other person has brushed their teeth at all during a make out scene. There is a comfort level there that is pretty unique. And when it's the whole cast, it's professional when we're actually shooting, but in between takes it is pretty goofy.
Has there been any change with the atmosphere on set going into the highly anticipated second season?
Ian: Not too much. Everybody is really excited to be there, and is really gung ho and just works their butt off. The people who have done this for a while, the "elders" of the production, they've said that this is one of the most relaxed, fun and happy sets to be on, so I think we're just continuing on that path for season two.
Do you hang out with any of your co-stars off set?
Ian: Torrey DeVitto (Melissa) and I hang have become good friends. I also see Keegan (Toby) fairly regularly.
What has been your favorite scene or episode to shoot and why?
Ian: There was one episode recently that I can't really talk about. It was probably my favorite because it was so much fun to shoot, it was really loose on set and everybody was having a good time. Last episode, where I left, was actually a lot of fun to shoot because it was just all of the girls trying to distract me and I was trying to distract them. Because it was so heartfelt, we made light of it in between takes by ridiculing each other.
Can you talk about if any of the other girls will have an impact in the relationship with Ezra and Aria?
Ian: Yes. But that is all I'm going to say. Where the writers are going with this one storyline is really really interesting. I won't say any more, I'll just say yes and be really vague.
Who is your favorite couple on the show, other than Ezra and Aria?
Ian: I really love Spencer and Toby. I think there's a nice juxtaposition there with the always pulled together, neurotic Spencer and the almost ethereal Toby. It's a nice mix of characters and that will be a relationship to watch over the coming season.
Who on the show has Ezra not interacted with that you would like to act with?
Ian: Sasha Pieterse (Ali). She is not even 16 yet, but you would think she is 22 or 23 years old. She is a fantastic actress and she always brings so much to the table. I would love to somehow do a scene with her, but I don't think that's really possible unless there is some crazy twist. Or, I would love to do a scene with Torrey because she is a good friend of mine.
If there were anyone who could guest star on the show who would you want it to be?
Ian: No one I think would actually come on to the show. I've been really into Carey Mulligan and Marion Cotillard recently. I saw Beginners with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, so maybe them. But I don't think that would ever happen. More realistically, maybe someone from Modern Family?
Do you watch the episodes when they come on? What are your reactions to the episodes in their entirety?
Ian: I like watching them. I don't like watching myself, per say, because I am very critical of what I do. But I do think showing support to the writers and other cast members, looking at their work and being able to discuss it later and saying to a director, "Wow, that was really great" or "I didn't think the scene was going to turn out that way." For somebody that is just starting out, like me, it is important to watch your work, not in a critical or praiseful--I just made that word up-- kind of way, but to look as it is and view your work as an objective piece of art.
How did you feel when you saw that your name and your character's name was trending on twitter?
Ian: I had no idea what that meant. My sister told me, "You're trending on twitter," and I said, "Oh that's cool, are you coming over later?" It didn't register with me. And then, once I realized it was something worldwide, I said, "Wow, that's crazy." I feel really blessed. I think Twitter has really affected this show and its popularity, so if I'm somehow a part of that then great.
Do you have any upcoming projects outside of PLL?
Ian: We shoot clear through to December. I'm auditioning and still putting my face out there in Los Angeles because in the grand scheme of things I'm very new. This was the first pilot that I auditioned for. I'm simply new. There are definitely things on the horizon and there have been a few close calls, but for now I'm doing the daily grind and loving it.
If you were not an actor what would you be doing?
Ian: I'd probably be dead. No, I don't know. Psychology and helping people has always been an interest of sorts. I love psychology, but I don't know if I would have the patience to keep going in. I don't know what I'd be doing, probably manual labor.
What do you do when you're not on set?
Ian: I try to cook, I read, hang out with friends, I see movies; I do a lot of that. Learning to cook is very interesting and dangerous.
Do you have a favorite dish that you like to make?
Ian: I hate this question because there are many things that I like to cook. Baking is not the same as cooking but kind of. I made a really good shortbread that was pretty amazing recently.
Ezra reads a lot, do you read as much as him in your own time?
Ian: I do read quite a bit. I just finished this book called Painters, which was a Pulitzer Prize winner and I read Just Kids by Patti Smith.
Do you have a guilty pleasure TV Show?
Ian: I haven't watched it recently, but a few months ago I got into this show Bully Beatdown. Some of my friends back home said, "You gotta watch this show, it's fantastic." And I said, "No, this sounds so stupid." But it's basically this bully gets beat up by a professional MMA fighter and the people that he bullies are sitting there watching it happen. As sick as it is, you can't really turn away. So that has been my most recent guilty pleasure.
If you could give Ezra one piece of advice what would it be?
Ian: Oh man. I would give him a whole book of advice. Does it have to be just one piece of advice? Honestly, I would just say follow your heart, which just sounds so cliche, but he over thinks things and is quite neurotic about things. He is already in it; he already loves this girl, so just go for it.
And of course, the million-dollar question, who do you think A is?
Ian: None of us know. It could be that you show up to work one day and in the script you come to find out that you're A, you know. So, I think that's what's so exciting to watch and be a part of.
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)