Tyler Blackburn is on a break. Well, from filming. He's currently on location in Louisiana, where he's shooting his own series, Ravenswood. A spinoff of Pretty Little Liars, the show that introduced us to his character Caleb Rivers, the badass foster kid and boyfriend to PLL-er Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson), Ravenswood is its own beast. The series follows Rivers as he and four other teenagers (played by Nicole Gale Anderson, Britne Oldford, Brett Dier, and Merritt Patterson) fall under a town curse and race to undo it, before they fall victim to it, too.
Attractive people running from ghosts and unraveling murder mysteries? Count on Twitter to explode tonight, when Ravenswood premieres on ABC Family, following the Pretty Little Liars Halloween special at 8 p.m.
Complex got a chance to speak to Blackburn about being approached with his own spin-off show, life on the PLL set, and how he makes girls' ovaries explode.
Interview by Tara Aquino (@t_akino)
What's it like being part of a new cast and a different set?
None of us are from Louisiana except this one guy, Brock, so we're all in this new experience together. Our families aren't out here, so it's good that we have each other. As far as working on the show, everyone brings their A-game every day and we're all trying to do something cool. It's turning out amazingly well.
Was it hard leaving the Pretty Little Liars set?
Yeah, it was hard. I think as an actor it's exciting to always be trying something different. I've been on PLL for three years, and that can get a little bit daunting after a while, especially being a boyfriend.
Was it a compliment to get your own spin-off?
Huge compliment. Every day I try to show up and do a great job. It's validating. I've wanted to do this since I was a kid and I feel the odds of anybody working as an actor are so slim. It's been a lot of responsibility, but I know I can handle that. I think the producers did, too.
How were you approached with the idea?
I was approached pretty casually by Marlene King [the producer of Pretty Little Liars]. On set one day, she said, "Hey, so we're working on a show and it would be starring you." And I was like, "Sorry, what?" And she said: "They haven't green-lit it or anything, so we'll just let you know as it happens, but we might not know for a few months." Four days later, she called me to say, 'Well, they picked it up for 10 episodes."
Considering Ravenswood and PLL's Rosewood exist in the same universe, what do you think about this world the producers are creating?
It's interesting. Ravenswood is not far from Rosewood, but it's its own juggernaut. I feel like Ravenswood will have just as big of a following, but in different ways. You think back to shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed and then Supernatural, which is a huge success—those types of shows find cult followings and that's what Ravenswood is.
With you leading the show, Ravenswood has the potential to reach more of a male audience.
Absolutely. Because there are more male storylines, it'll be more relatable to guys. Honestly, the episodes just get better. The first episode, you have to cram so much in. You're trying to set the groundwork for the rest of the season. With this episode we're filming right now, it's blowing my mind. There are all these flashbacks to the early 1900s and we have horse buggies and actual cars from 1917. It's insane. It doesn't feel like a TV show.
What was it like being on the set of Pretty Little Liars with basically all girls?
It was like a big orgy. I'm just kidding! [Laughs]. It was great. I didn't work with all of them all the time. I mostly worked with Ashley and we had fun. She's a firecracker.
She's going to make a cameo in Ravenswood, isn't she?
She's going to make a couple, actually.
Girls love to tell me that I make their ovaries explode.
So Caleb and Hanna are still going strong?
I wouldn't say that, but I definitely think that fans of the couple will get their appetites quenched.
Is there anyone you ship on Ravenswood?
There is one relationship that I think is great and it's Remy and Luke. It's a slight Romeo and Juliet storyline. It's a little bit frowned upon that they're together, but they can't help it.
Why do you think people are drawn to Ravenswood and Pretty Little Liars?
Ravenswood and Pretty Little Liars have a great balance of every genre. Yes, you can put it under the umbrella of Young Adult, but there's drama, there's comedy, there's romance, and there's mystery. With Ravenswood, there's now horror. I think that the creators of both are also really good at writing distinct storylines for each character to help identify each of them separately. Every fan has a person to identify with. Plus, there are cliffhangers to up the act that make you want to see even more.
Why do you think PLL and now potentially Ravenswood have big social media followings?
It's indicative of where we are in time, but I also think because of our audience. They're mostly teenagers and young adults, and I think at that point in your life, you really want your voice to be heard. ABC Family, the creators of those two shows, and their casts created a space where those viewers can be heard. It's exciting for viewers to feel like they can give in their opinions. I also know what it feels like to be obsessed with something to the point where you're just like, "I just have to talk about it.'"
What shows did you watch growing up that you were huge fan of?
It wasn't really TV that I was that obsessed with. I did watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a little bit. I had a big crush on Sarah Michelle Gellar. There weren't too many that I was religious about. I was more obsessed with certain movies or music, like a band that I would talk about over and over.
Who are you listening to right now?
Everything under the sun. I fairly recently discovered Daughter. I've been listening to Alt-J for a while, and this guy named Josh Garrels.
Are you ever going to return to Pretty Little Liars?
It's possible. I do make a cameo in a later episode of Pretty Little Liars.
Since you are a guy who was on a predominantly female show, do you ever get any weird fangirl requests or bizarre tweets?
Usually it's respectful. Girls love to tell me that I make their ovaries explode. And I'm like, "You might need those." I think that's weird. Also, they ask me things about my feet, like if I'm ticklish. It gets a little creepy.
Um, are you ticklish?
You just joined the creepy club now. Yeah, I'm ticklish! Most people are, hello!
Well, now people can stop asking you on Twitter.