Note: Ian, I can’t thank possibly thank you enough for taking the time out of your day to answer our questions. We’re so thrilled you’re back on our screens each week!
Original Publish Date: Jan 7, 2011.
Q: When the show first started, there were fears that your character would not turn out to be a regular – in part due to both the direction your character was taken in the book series, and the immediate connection fans felt with Ezra & his relationship with Aria. This was particularly so with Ezra’s absence in several episodes. Did you have similar concerns when you joined the project, or was Ezra always destined to be a regular from the beginning?
I had no idea how long Ezra would be part of the show. I know he disappears after the first four books so I was a little worried, but I suppose I was so happy to have a job that I didn’t care for how long the character would stick around!
Q: Now that Ezra/Aria have reached the decision to move forward together, what can fans expect to see?
What can fans expect to see? Normal relationship drama I guess. We learn more about them as people, how they interact in public, date behavior, jealousy, past partners, etc. Granted this is all heightened due to A and the whole “student/teacher” thing.
Q: Ezra/Aria’s relationship is very much strengthened by a deep connection that is both genuine and innocent. It has been mentioned in several interviews/articles that they are not sleeping together. With the show having such a varying range in viewership, and their relationship having been very much nurtured/respected from the beginning, do you feel this would be an acceptable step for the characters to take despite being on a family network?
Hmm. This question is always a tough one. I leave this up to the writers. If it were to happen, it would be done in the most sensitive and loving way possible. Its a tight rope of a subject, one that I feel we might actually walk some day, but right now we’re in the building process of the relationship.
Q: What is a typical day on set like for you? Given that most of your scenes are with Lucy, are there any other cast members that the varying schedules allow you to socialize with easily?
My days vary widely, seeing as some episodes have a bigger Ezra storyline than others. I see the other girls at least once a week or so, sometimes more, and its always a blast. If we’re shooting a scene with all of us, there’s usually a lot of joking going on between takes. We usually get down to business when actually shooting, then as soon as “cut” is yelled we make fun of each other. I think we have to keep the humor going because the days can be long and the material can be heavy in some spots.
Q: Are there any fellow cast members whose work you were aware of before joining the show?
I knew of Lucy’s work since I had a friend that really liked “Privileged,” but other than that the only person was Holly, who on the first day of meeting her I was a little star struck. She’s the sweetest person to me now though. I will say she’s also the easiest to mess with. She’s a riot on set.
Q: What have your previous experiences with theater allowed you to bring with you when making the transition to television?
Oh wow I love this question! I think theater gives you the basics; how to break down a scene, how to get the character into you, etc. Its so technical, and you have to be able to reach the person in the back row, so in terms of training, any time spent on a stage or in a theater program seems invaluable to me. Also, I feel like theater helps you to respect the work, because acting, or performing in general can be very difficult. If you don’t respect it, it won’t respect you.
Q: Do your preparation methods vary at all, depending on whether the project is television/theater based? Or are your methods specific to each role?
Do my methods vary? Yes and no. (Before I go any further I’d like to say that I’m still learning so take what I say with a grain of salt!) I’ll go into this more with the next question, but film and theater need different methods of preparation. Regarding my work in the film realm, every script is a new challenge, a new mystery to be solved, so preparation varies from piece to piece. I have a whole slew of questions that I ask myself and of the script, that I would go more into if I had fifty more pages available to write! That being said, there are a few things that I do for every part, something as simple as, what happened before this? What’s the conflict in this scene? What do I need?
Q: How do you find theater compares to acting in a television series or movie? Is either more enjoyable and/or challenging than the other?
In terms of the difference between acting for film and theater, they’re completely different mediums, so there’s the obvious technical changes. Whether one is more fun than the other is difficult to answer. I love them both and get enjoyment from them in different ways. Film has its challenges, (stopping and starting, subtlety, lack of rehearsal) as well as theater, (stamina, projection, live audience), yet these challenges are what get me fired up. I like being anxious about these problems, then (hopefully) over coming them.
Q: At what age did you decide to pursue acting? Are there any other creative outlets you have a passion for, such as writing/directing etc?
At what age did I start acting? I guess since I can remember. I always liked telling stories. I had little action figures that my friends would simply bang together but I would always have to have a reason for the fighting. I would also tell my mom tall tales about little things that happened during the day. If I lost my jacket, it was because the dog next door who I hit with a ball last week at long last sought revenge by tearing it from my body, I fought him off though, wielding a mighty stick… blah blah blah. In terms of other creative outlets, writing excites me, though it will be a long time before any of that sees the light of day! I like learning how to make things. How to craft something. Especially food…
Q: What was your very first audition for?
My first audition I actually can’t remember, so I guess my first professional audition was for a Sheetz commercial, which I got. The final product is incredibly embarrassing.
Q: You’ve mentioned that you’re a huge fan of MODERN FAMILY. If you were to guest star in it, with which character(s) you’d like to act?
Modern Family! It’s brilliant. I would be in the background if I could. Honestly, any scene with any character would be great. I actually met Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet and once again made a complete idiot of myself. Sofia Vergara is otherworldly to me. First because she’s funny as all get out and second because she’s mind numbingly attractive. I’ll have a stroke if I ever meet her.
Q: What was the last book you read? Do you have a favorite author/genre?
I read a lot, though I usually read multiple books at once so it takes me a while to finish anything. I try not to stick with one Genre, that seems a bit limiting to me. The last book I read was “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Peterson. Its so simple to the point of dullness for the first 20 pages but then aspects of the main character’s life come to light and the story becomes unstoppable and all encompassing.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received.
I’ve received so much good advice over the years, I literally have journals packed with quotes and phrases that are like gold to me. I can’t really sum it up in one quick phrase, but I think being yourself, being open, and being optimistic is always key. If I may add another nugget of amazingness that was given to me, one of my favorite books is Steinbeck’s “East of Eden,” and one of the big themes in it is that everyone alive has the ability to choose. You are never powerless. Thats so inspiring to me.
Again, thank you Ian!
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