“Pretty Little Liars’” most addictive love story – between 17-year-old high schooler Aria (Lucy Hale) and her teacher, Ezra (Ian Harding) – is one of the ABC Family show’s biggest twisting romances, keeping fans glued to the show in droves, and things are about to get a lot more complicated.
On last week’s episode, Aria’s still-clueless-that-their-teenage-daughter-is-dating-a-teacher parents got a little bit closer to accidentally uncovering the truth as mom Ella (Holly Marie Combs) made a bookstore date with Ezra and dad Fitz (Chad Lowe) invited him out for beers. Ezra’s portrayer, Ian, told AccessHollywood.com that this Monday’s new episode, which follows a President’s Day marathon of the series, is going to bring even more heat on the couple.
“There are some moments, both in Monday’s episode and the coming episodes where you get right to that point, where you think, ‘Oh God! It’s going to happen now!’” Ian said of the possibility that the teen-teacher romance will be discovered. “But I think the bigger problem now is almost like not necessarily getting caught. It’s like, going through actual relationship motions and there’s something on the horizon that I think will put them to the test.
“And it may not necessarily be like, ‘the cops,’” Ian continued. “It’s just various things like skeletons coming out of people’s closets and certain people’s storylines… characters that are already in the show entertwining.”
Tackling the part has been one the early twenty-something actor has give plenty of thought to, especially since Ezra is always facing new challenges.
“It’s interesting [to play] because you don’t know what’s going to happen next… With TV, it’s such a test for an actor, because you have to constantly reevaluate this guy and constantly find the heart in him,” Ian said of playing the complex educator. “It is certainly interesting because he’s constantly walking this line and what is wrong/what’s right is very blurry, so it’s certainly a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge to take.”
Like his character, Ian is barely out of college himself, having graduated from the esteemed Carnegie Mellon in 2009, and he’s drawn from his own post-college experience to play the teacher the teens are swooning over.
“I definitely get the whole recent-college-graduate-trying-to-figure-out-your-life thing that seems to be going through Ezra’s story line,” he said.
More than being able to pull from his college experience for work, Ian’s actually met up with some fellow thespians (like “True Blood’s” Joe Manganiello) from his alma mater in Hollywood and bonded over their mutual hallowed halls in Pittsburgh, Penn.
”[Joe] was [at] a Carnegie Mellon [event] in Los Angeles — like alumni sort of shindig with this producer that went to CMU before both Joe and I, so it was me and him and a few other actors like Cote de Pablo from ‘NCIS,’” Ian recounted.
“Blair Underwood stopped by. I was just like, ‘You went to CMU?’ and he’s like ‘Yeah’ and I’m like ‘Wow, you’re attractive,’” Ian joked of the handsome star of NBC’s “The Event.” “And then Cote de Pablo was like, ‘Hi, I’m Cote’ and I’m like ‘Oh, yes you are!’”
While it’s been nice finding a few actors in Los Angeles he has more in common with than just being an actor, the success of “Pretty Little Liars” has kept him too busy to do little else besides work. With the exception of a friend’s birthday party the night before he spoke to Access – one that involved real racing cars and left him bruised – Ian admits it has even been hard to plan cast watching parties of “Pretty Little Liar” episodes. Still, he and his co-stars manage to enjoy the episodes together – virtually.
“Lucy and I will text back and forth,” he laughed. “She’ll be like ‘Nice tie,’ and I’ll be like, ‘OK! Nice face.’”