Hold on tighty, Ezria fans. This week’s Pretty Little Liars episode introduces a new man for Aria.
But what kind of influence will he prove to be on Lucy Hale's beloved Rosewood resident?
And does Ryan Guzman - best known for his dancing role in the Step Up: Revolution - know what he’s gotten himself into by taking on the role of Jake? Considering Ezria fans are not happy with the break-up of this secret PLL couple?
I jumped on the phone with Guzman this morning to get the truth on whether Hale really gave him a bloody nose, what he’s learned in terms of social media from the PLL girls and, because you know you want to know, whether his shirt will be off at any point in the next few weeks...
TVF: First up, how did the role come about for you?
Ryan Guzman: I initially auditioned for a different role, thinking I was going out for a police officer, which had already been cast. Then, a couple weeks later, I got a call saying ‘You’re going up for Jake.” It all happened really, really quick and I didn’t know what to think because at the table read, I still thought I was the cop character and it wasn’t until the night before. ‘Okay, I guess I should be focusing on this other character.’ It was very last second when I found out I was playing Jake.
TVF: How do we – and Aria - meet Jake in the episode?
RG: Aria gets some martial arts defense lessons because of A and she wants to protect herself and her family. She comes to the studio and bumps into the new guy, Jake. Jake is one of those guys who is calm and well-mannered and that’s charming to Aria so he steals her attention right away.
TVF: This is a show where we see good people and bad people. Where does Jake fall?
RG: I like to think of Jake as a pretty good guy. I think he’s a charming, good guy.
TVF: Did your mixed martial arts and dance background help in what you see Jake do on the show?
RG: The martial arts that I do on the show is different from anything I’ve done but, at the same time, it’s kind of similar to martial arts I did way back when I was younger called Tae Kwon Do. The martial arts I’m doing now is Tang Soo Do. They’re both variations of kicking and self-defense. Luckily we had a guy there when I do our scenes to tell me the form and what exactly I need to be doing and how I need to be doing it.
TVF: Did I hear that Lucy got a little aggressive with some of her moves and your nose got in the way?
RG: [laughs] No, me and Lucy like to joke around a lot and sometimes she’ll write something or I’ll write something on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram and the press will get hold of it and run with hit. But that was a joke.
TVF: Speaking of social media, everyone on the show is very into it. Are you at the same level or have they taught you a few things?
RG: I need to learn more from the girls. The girls are pros at it because they tweet everything and they’re so good at it. I still need to get on it. Instagram, Vine and all these other ones that I didn’t even know about until they started showing me.
TVF: Does Jake come face to face with some danger on the show?
RG: Being a martial artist on the show and being so close to Aria…we already know that Aria, everybody that she comes in contact with gets in the way of danger so it’s evident that Jake, at some point and time, is going to have to face danger.
TVF: Do we, the viewer, find out much about Jake’s backstory?
RG: I think as the story progresses you’ll start learning more about Jake. I think it’s more of a mystery of where Jake comes from and what he’s doing and what his true intentions are. He could either be bad or he could be good.
TVF: Will we see scenes between you and Ian Harding, who plays Ezra?
RG: Yes, I do have some scenes. We bump into each other and it’s pretty awkward when the two characters bump into each other and they have to interact and have to deal with this love triangle going on.
TVF: As you probably know, the fans of #Ezria are very possessive of that relationship.
RG: Oh, I know!
TVF: Are you prepared to take some heat for taking Aria’s attention away from Ezra?
RG: The first day that I found out I was playing Jake and the press found out I was playing Jake, all the Ezria fans let me know how they felt so, yeah, they’re telling me ‘Get off the show. We don’t need you here.’ They are very adamant about keeping those two together on the show.
I just had to reply ‘Look, I’m not here to break up your favorite couple. I’m just here as an actor playing my role. Have fun with the show.’ I like to think I’ve swayed a couple of people to become Jake and Aria fans in the process.
TVF: True or False: you have filmed a scene with your shirt off?
RG: Yes. Yes, I have.
TVF: Also, since dance is a big part of your life, is it safe to say we might see you dancing on the show?
RG: I think everything I do there’s going to be dancing incorporated. “Oh, he can move. Let’s throw some dancing at him.” Yes, you will see a little bit of Jake’s moves and skills.
TVG: Who else do you share scenes with besides Lucy and Ian?
RG: Jake is going to be interacting with everyone. I’ve done scenes with pretty much the whole cast. The only one I haven’t really done scenes with is Keegan (Allen, who plays Toby). Pretty much everyone else I have acted with.
TVF: Will we see your character in the Halloween episode?
RG: I can’t really say which episode you can and can’t see me in. But you’ll be seeing me a lot this season.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.