Few relationships on Pretty Little Liars have been as consistent as Aria and Ezra’s. Sure, he’s her English teacher and she’s underage, but the two have somehow made it work. Or they had for three seasons, until they finally called it quits in last season’s finale. I spoke to Ian Harding about the future of the relationship, and how Ezra’s adjusting to his new role as a father.
Obviously the big question on everyone’s mind is, are we going to see Aria and Ezra get back together? What can you tell us about the future of that relationship?
Ian Harding: It’s gonna be nuts. It’s gonna be exceptionally rocky. I have hope in the back of my head, because there are positive signs here and there. But right now, it’s really rough for them. I think every relationship goes through a really rocky period. Theirs maybe exceptionally so because she’s getting chased by possibly a group of people who are trying to kill her.
What’s it like to be part of this TV relationship that, on the one hand, fans are so into, but on the other hand, is totally wrong and illegal?
IH: The thing is, I’ve never really seen it as — obviously on paper it’s inappropriate. But in terms of working with Lucy and all the scripts, I’ve never looked at this like the movie The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon, where it was like, he’s a pedophile. I mean, they fell in love and it’s kind of an unfortunate meeting time. She’s in high school and not old enough, legally, but he’s very young! He’s not like a 70-year-old and she’s not 10. It’s never really dawned on me as something that’s uber-taboo. It’s only a little weird when I’ll go to some event and a 12-year-old from Ohio will be like, “I’m in love with you.” And I wanna be like, “You need to watch it.”
How do you think Ezra’s adjusting to being a parent now that he’s kind of stepping into that father role?
IH: I think he got totally gobsmacked. I mean, he’s trying to figure out the job situation, what he wants to do with his own life, because he wants to write but now he needs to pay for this child. And it was out of the blue. It wasn’t like, somebody got pregnant and now we need to go through that whole thing. It’s, you have a seven-year-old that you weren’t around for for almost a decade. Here you go. And on top of it, his family’s horrific, and he’s dating a high schooler who’s getting chased by possibly the CIA. That’s what it feels like. Who would have that big of a knowledge of everything that’s going on?
When do you think he’ll have a clearer idea of what’s really going on with Aria? Or do any of the characters on this show ever really know anything?
IH: I feel like it’s probably going to be a la Lost, just hopefully more spelled out. There are so many questions that are unanswered. I have a young cousin who’s like, “What about this?” And she brought up some thing, and I was like, “Oh, I forgot that that happened.” There are so many questions. So I’m not sure.
How do you keep track of everything that happens on the show?
IH: Oh, I don’t. There are times when I’ll read a script and go, “What? Are you kidding?” And they go, “Yeah, Ian, that happened last season.” And you’ll go, “Oh. Whoops.”
When you’re playing Ezra and there’s so much going on in the background — so much plot to take in — do you just maintain focus on the character?
IH: That’s all you can do. I can’t think of all the history and everything, because honestly that’s the writers’ job. Honestly all I can do is listen to Lucy Hale and respond and have a good time. And hopefully believably play this guy.