3:40pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Pretty Little Liars': Ryan Guzman on Jake and Aria's Romantic Future
[Warning: Some spoilers from Tuesday's episode, "Face Time."]
What's next for Aria and Jake on Pretty Little Liars?
Following the hit ABC Family drama's most recent episode, "Face Time," the two took a pause on their burgeoning relationship following an unplanned encounter with Ezra's young son, Malcolm. With the door left open for a serious romance, the Step Up Revolution star tells The Hollywood Reporter that an Ezra-Jake confrontation is on tap.
In the 13th installment of THR's weekly postmortem with Pretty Little Liars' cast and producers, actor Ryan Guzman discusses the show's vocal fan base, Aria (Lucy Hale) and Jake's future and Jake's "awkward" encounter with Ezra (Ian Harding).
The Hollywood Reporter: As you were live tweeting along with the episode, what caught you by surprise in terms of what was hitting with viewers?
Ryan Guzman: To be honest, I thought the PLL viewers would have been a little stronger with the "Ezria" fans. I thought maybe they might not like the Jake character, but surprisingly we got a good little following. People started liking Jake and Aria.
THR: The fans are very vocal about their favorite pairings and couples.
Guzman: Yeah. When my name was announced that I was going to be [Aria's] love interest, there was this backlash and outpouring of "Don't break up Ezria! They need to get back together!" But luckily things have turned a little bit.
THR: What was your favorite moment or scene that you're not in from last night's episode?
Guzman: When Detective Holbrook (Sean Faris) [and Tanner, played by Roma Maffia] brought in Hanna, and they're going over the whole spiel, there were some good twists and turns there.
THR: Would you categorize the Aria and Jake relationship as a true romance?
Guzman: Without giving away too much [and] before ABC Family cuts my head off (Laughs), yeah. There is a budding spark between them that no one is really sure how to act on it. Aria has got her baggage — she just broke up with her boyfriend and a person is trying to kill her — and Jake is just new to this whole world. He really likes the girl but he doesn't want to overstep his boundaries. I think it's at the point where neither one of them wants to go too far. Aria obviously last night tried to kiss Jake and make him forget about whatever she was telling him. There's a lot of tension there that can either go really, really good or really, really bad.
THR: Last night's episode certainly left the door open for the possibility of them moving forward with their relationship. Will that be addressed in coming weeks?
Guzman: Yeah, that will be addressed. Aria and Jake will slowly but surely find their way to either take things further or stay friends.
THR: Every time a new character comes into Rosewood, people's suspicions are heightened. Is there more to Jake than meets the eye?
Guzman: Keep your eyes on them because it's going to be a roller-coaster with these two.
THR: What sort of obstacles or situations will they be facing?
Guzman: As he's finding more and more about what Aria and all her friends are going through, he wants to become more available to help her. Him being a martial arts instructor, he feels confidence in being able to protect this girl who came into his life. The situation that everyone's waiting to see is what happens when Jake and Ezra bump into each other and how that's going to happen — if Aria's there and whatnot. There are huge situations between Jake and Ezra coming up.
THR: What can you say about their chance encounters?
Guzman: There are awkward moments where "Oh hey, I'm bumping into your ex-boyfriend, whom you still love." (Laughs.)
THR: Talk about Jake and Aria's encounter with Ezra's son Malcolm in last night's episode.
Guzman: These girls and their men, they just can't control them. (Laughs.)
THR: What does Jake see in Aria that makes him want to stay close or protect her?
Guzman: I think it's the vulnerability that attracts Jake in the beginning to where he really sees somebody who needs help. I think it's his natural instinct to help that person. Through that relationship, that's where he develops more intimate [feelings] with her and starts to feel like this girl has a great heart. She just doesn't know how to go about certain things. That's my perception. That's why I think Aria's gone through so many different guys. She's just a really good person who he's attracted to.
THR: Will Jake be interacting with other characters?
Guzman: Every scene Jake's in, Aria's attached at the hip, but yeah, I have had a chance to work with other characters on the show. I think I've worked with everybody now, except for one of the main cast. Jake will be interacting with more and more people later on.
THR: Can you give us a nugget for a future episode?
Guzman: Watch out for when Jake brings Aria into his world and shows her what he's all about. She's making an effort to meet Jake halfway to see what he's all about, so that'll be coming up some time in the future.