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Interview with Keegan Allen of
"Pretty Little Liars" on
ABC Family 11/20/14
ABC Familyís Q&A with Keegan Allen
Pretty Little Liars
Moderator: What are your plans for your upcoming album? When
will it be released?
Keegan: Iím working on my first photo book, life.love.beauty
and in there I have lyrics, musings, photography Ė it
centers around photography. The album will probably come out
sometime next year. Iíve been working on music with many
different people, but as of right now my main focus with
anything outside of acting would be the book. And that does
have all of my songs in it, as far as the lyrics and poetry.
Moderator: What can you tease for the Christmas episode in
regards to Spencer and Toby?
Keegan: The Christmas episode is really, really well shot and
really fun. I can definitely tell you that the fans for all
of the relationships, not just Spencer and Toby, will be
very happy with it; that Christmas element, that holiday
element. Itís going to be really fun. Itís a really cool
Moderator: What have you learned most from being on the show
and what was the most important lesson to you?
Keegan: What Iíve learned the most from being on a television
show this long, is to be grateful for every moment, not just
for having a job, but also being able to work on a character
for this long. I guess itís been a learning experience
through the layers of the character, the objectives of the
character and the writing.
Just appreciating that, appreciating that process has been
the most exciting thing. As far as what Iíve learned, itís
just to appreciate every moment of it.
Moderator: In this upcoming Christmas episode is there
anything you can tell us specifically about your character
or any new things for him?
Keegan: Itís an homage in true Pretty Little Liars fashion to
paint a world from classic cinema. So, weíre nodding to a
couple of classic cinema pieces in it and itís really,
really wonderful and Iím sure the fans are going to love it!
Moderator: Will your background in photography ever show up
as a personal interest of your characters on the show?
Keegan: In the Christmas episode there is a moment in which
Toby is using a camera for something. And me, myself, I was
fascinated with it between takes and just loving every
second of it. I think I do share an interest in a craft,
similar to Tobyís with his carpentry and I doodle, just like
he does. There are a lot of similar traits between myself
and Toby in that realm of creativity.
You can see it in the Christmas episode. Maybe it shines
through a little bit how Iím having way too much fun with
Moderator: What did you enjoy most about filming this
Keegan: It tells a story thatís so different from anything
that anybody would expect, but it also explains a lot in the
process and itís a story being pulled that everybody can
understand at any point in the storyline.
People that have never watched the show before can step into
the realm of Rosewood and understand that universe for the
first time or fans of the show that have been watching since
Season 1, Episode 1 will get an amazing experience as well.
Moderator: Was Tobyís car accident in fact a car accident? Or
did someone purposefully crash into him?
Keegan: Thatís probably a better question for Marlene King
[laughs]. I am assuming that it was, I have my theories.
Everything in the show has a linear point that itís trying
to make so I always have paranoid conspiracy theories about
But as far as the actual fact of what that was, I have no
idea actually. I canít give you a real answer except that I
have my own crazy conspiracy theories just as much as the
Moderator: Do you know who ďAĒ is?
Keegan: Yeah, I do -- I found out! It was pretty
Moderator: What was your reaction when you learned?
Keegan: I think itís genius. I think itís 100% incredible.
Itís mind-blowing and in the way that it comes to form, the
whole storyline of this and itís explained. It explains
everything in such a classy way and also in a way that makes
it feel like history in the making.
I can just promise that everyone who loves the show for what
it is will not only appreciate what Marlene King, Oliver
Goldstick and Joseph Dougherty have come up with from the
very beginning essentially, but what they plan to do and how
they plan to execute it is just phenomenal.
Moderator: Did you have any idea how big the show was going
to be when you first auditioned for Pretty Little Liars?
Keegan: No, I had no idea it would be at this caliber! I was
just happy to be auditioning as an actor, happy to get an
audition like this. I went in, I skateboarded to the
audition with a hat on and very much showed them this
character that I read about. Someone told me Pretty Little
Liars is a huge book series and I started reading the book
series and it sucked me right in.
Sara Shepard wrote an incredible series. I think it was
halfway through Season 1 airing that I started to recognize
that people outside in everyday life would turn and
immediately proclaim their existence hinged on Tuesday
nights. I was pretty blown away by the caliber of this show
from the beginning and still to this day.
Moderator: Do you have a favorite episode or scene that
youíve filmed so far?
Keegan: There are a few now! I would go back to one, but now
there are a few episodes. I loved ďShadow Play.Ē I loved it
for the cinematography aspect of shooting in black and
white. As far as favorite scenes, I like all of the scenes
where thereís a lot happening at once. I filmed a really fun
scene just recently and there are so many to choose from. I
think for sure, ďShadow Play.Ē That episode was just really
fun to work on.
Moderator: What would you say were Tobyís highest and lowest
points for his hair game?
Keegan: Itís looking at myself, so I never really think Iím
on top of any so-called ďgame,Ē but as far as what the fans
were expressing to me in person is that they like my hair
shorter apparently. I had my hair really long for a little
while and the network was completely understanding of why I
was doing it --- it was for Locks of Love.
My mother has breast cancer. Cody Christianís mother has
breast cancer. Everybody has a story of somebody they know
that has cancer and one of the hardest things to deal with
is, and itís not so much a vanity thing as it is just a
human thing, of losing your hair and feeling completely
So I grew my hair out as long as I could, 11 inches, and I
cut it off. During that period of time I think there was a
little bit of an uproar of people saying, ďoh my gosh, what
is he doing with his hair?Ē It was for a good cause and,
hopefully, I can do it again sometime in the future.
Moderator: If you werenít playing Toby on the show, which
character would you want to try out for?
Keegan: It fluctuates from time-to-time. Right now, Ezra has
been having some pretty cool scenes. Iíd probably want to
dip my feet into Ezra Fitzgerald and maybe some Caleb Rivers
Moderator: If Toby wasnít dating Spencer, which girl would
you want him to be paired with?
Keegan: I recently did this convention in London where all
these fans were asking me questions and this fan asked me if
I would have gotten the role of Wren Ė because I originally
auditioned for the role of Wren Ė do you think Marlene would
have changed the storyline so that Wren and Spencer would
have been together? So I asked Marlene and she said that if
I was Wren, yes.
As far as what character I would want him to be with, I
really donít know because itís something more of a storyline
rather than personal preference because if we start talking
personal preference then Iíll get punched in the gut next
time I walk into the set [laughs].
I would date all the girls! I think Toby is like pretty much
paired perfectly with that polar opposite fire that Spencer
is and him being this very calm person. It balances itself
out. I feel like if you pair him with anybody else it might
be a little bit volatile.
Moderator: Who do you tend to hang out with on the set? Whoís
your go-to person, guy or girl?
Keegan: Usually whoever is on set working with me! On set,
itís whoever is working with me. Most of the time itís
Troian [Bellasario], but off set Iím really close with Ian
Harding. Iím really close with Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell,
Troian and Lucy [Hale]. It fluctuates on set, but as far as
off set, weíre all really close. Itís unlike anything; most
of the time when you hear about casts going into their
fourth, fifth year, they all hate each other [laughs]. This
is completely not the case.
Weíre all really, really close friends and very supportive
of each other. Even with my upcoming photo book, they are
all just extremely supportive and in a way thatís just
overwhelmingly kind. It hits me in a really soft spot in my
heart because they all want me to chase my passion and they
always are posing for photographs or letís go on photo
shoots or letís go on photo journeys. Itís been great
growing up with them and a total honor to support them in
all of their things.
Ashley with her movies, Troian writing her own movies and
starring in them, Shay doing her new blog and product lines,
Lucy with her music, Ian with his charity work, itís
incredible. Heís incredible. Itís an honor to support them
and be part of their world, too. Weíre all really close.
Moderator: What other ABC or ABC Family show would you like
to cross your character or maybe even take over another
Keegan: If Ravenswood was still around, I would want to work
with Brett Dier and Tyler Blackburn. That would have been
fun to do that because Iím really close with Brett in real
life and, of course, Tyler and I are really close. So that
would have been a fun world to step inside of.
Also, Young & Hungry with Emily Osment, thatís a show that I
would love to do a cross-over on. That would be so much fun
to do that because I love doing comedy as well.
Moderator: Which character change of Tobyís has been the most
challenging? The serious loner, Spencer's boyfriend or the
bad guy on the A-Team?
Keegan: When he was the mysterious person there was this
cloud around him at all times, so that was a little bit hard
to sometimes translate to the audience.
Moderator: Does your personality in real life match Tobyís
personality at all?
Keegan: No, not at all! Weíre totally two different people.
Starting out on the show and being a young actor with a
character that I knew would have a strong hold on me because
Iíd playing it for so many years, when I step into his shoes
I kind of recognize even more so, even to this day after all
these years, how completely different he is of me.
Heís very much this side of me that I never really bring out
and Iíll sometimes look at; I actually envy him. I envy his
personality and how theyíve written him. Not so much envy as
I do admire it because there are times where I will ask
myself, ďwhat would Toby do in this because heís such a
moral compassĒ, heís such a good guy. I will sometimes go to
that extreme because of how well he handles huge situations
with such like calm.
Moderator: What was your favorite part about filming the
Keegan: I love that I got moved around without having to move
the whole time because Toby is in a wheelchair throughout
the whole episode. I didnít have to really do anything,
which for me sucks, because Iím a super active person. They
put me in this full leg cast so I couldnít even get myself a
cup of coffee if I wanted one.
I guess that looking back in retrospect itís nice because
Troian would pretty much just wheel me around everywhere,
which is fun [laughs]. Another element of it, I took a lot
of fun pictures and it was just a really fun episode to
shoot, mainly because everybody was in really great spirits.
We were in the middle of summer shooting Christmas, so there
was that element as well of we got the Christmas spirit and
everything smelled like Christmas trees and everybody was
happy and then we went outside and it was the middle of June
or July -- so we get double holidays!you nee
Moderator: If Toby were going to buy Spencer a Christmas
gift, what would he buy her?
Keegan: I think he would make something for her. I donít
think he would ever really buy her something. He would make
her something because theyíre both sentimental, thatís their
whole realm is sentimentality. He might build her something
thatís beautiful, craft; he would sit and he made her a
chair once. He might make her something super nice, just
with his hands something beautiful.
Moderator: What are some of your own holiday traditions that
youíre looking forward to?
Keegan: My own holiday traditions are probably really boring
compared to a lot of other peopleís. I just like to be
around people that I love and run around with my camera and
take pictures of everything that is the holiday-ism. I
really love watching Nightmare Before Christmas, thatís my
favorite movie --- and A Christmas Story.
I think both of those were on ABC Family recently! Iím going
to be watching ABC Family over the holidays. Even before I
was on an ABC Family television series I was watching 25
Days of Christmas as a kid. Thatís what my holiday tradition
has always been is watching those classic Christmas stories
and just littering the couch with junk food and drinking
lots of hot cocoa.
Moderator: Do you have a favorite holiday song?
Keegan: I guess all of them just get me really emotional. I
guess any holiday song is fun Ė I love ďGreensleeves,Ē
thatís a good song.
Moderator: Where do you get your inspiration for your
Keegan: I draw my inspiration from the fact that I have an
obsessive need to capture moments on film and it started
when I was as young as nine years old. My dad let me borrow
his camera and I got into the idea because he was so
obsessive about taking photos because the idea of keeping a
photograph is keeping an actual memory and being able to
step back into it as itís a time machine.
You, yourself and others can live vicariously through that
photograph and share it and the inspiration has always been
rooted in the idea of sharing my photography because I am
normally a very introverted person and I say that sweating
as I say that [laughs] My way of branching out socially and
feeling comfortable with the world is to take these photos
sometimes of people, to be able to go to them and say ďlook,
I took this photo of you and I think itís beautifulĒ and for
them to experience that, which I think is beautiful,
sometimes of them or sometimes of architecture or nature or
sometimes of abstracts.
The book has been a photo journal that Iíve had for as long
as I can remember with musings and poetry and Iím urging
people now to grab the last few copies of the signed copies
from Barnes & Noble and the hard copies because I personally
designed them and itís just exactly how my photo journal is.
Iím just really, really excited for people to share that
photographic journey with me.
Itís also an interesting thing when it comes down to it ---
film versus digital -- because Iím shooting a lot more
digital than I normally would, but most of the book is film.
If anything, I hope that it inspires others, not just fans
of the work, but anybody to pick it up and be inspired to
share their moments of their life similarly.
Moderator: Is there a dream storyline that you would like to
see the writers write for your character Toby?
Keegan: I think theyíve written me every dream storyline, to
be honest. Iíve gotten to play every single element that
ever could be played by a character in the history of
television [laughs]. Iíve played the super villain, the best
friend, the boyfriend, the moral compass, the insecure, the
craziness; every element is in there so as of right now, I
canít even formulate what a dream storyline would be. I
think Iíve already kind of gotten one!
Iíve been very lucky and the writers are extremely generous
in the way that they write this character.
Moderator: What was it like not filming your usual Halloween
episode this year?
Keegan: We did ďWe Love You To DeAthĒ for the fan special and
in true Pretty Little Liars fashion, thereís always some
major something going on. So, the special this year we
decided to do the Christmas episode.
It wasnít weird at all not to do a Halloween episode. I
think thereís still the creep factor and itís actually
cooler in a time where everything around the holiday season,
is so nice and warm and comfortable and we add a little
element of discomfort and terror to that, so I think that
itís a little more unexpected.
Moderator: What was your reaction when you found out that
Mona was going to be killed off the show?
Keegan: My initial reaction was that I wanted to hug Janel
[Parrish] and I didnít understand what was going on
[laughs]. Of course, thereís always some kind of alternate
plan. I was really upset, but I do know that sheís going to
be in the Christmas episode and itís going to be pretty
Like I said, we pay homage to classic cinema and this time
the genre is falling into the Christmas spirit.
Moderator: What can we expect from your character Toby in the
new season of Pretty Little Liars?
Keegan: Heís going through a lot of turmoil, as usual, but in
a way now that he is questioning himself and his choices
that heís made. We get to see that struggle internally and I
think thatís going to be really interesting for the fans to
As weíre all growing up with the fans, the fans are growing
up with us and the problems become a little bit more
Moderator: What was it like filming for Christmas so far in
Keegan: Thereís a lot more production going on, everybody is
running around, a little bit crazier, the hours are a little
longer, things are a little bit more intense as far as the
shooting schedules go. I think thatís the only difference
because when we shoot the specials, thereís just a little
bit more. The stakes are a little higher than normal and
thatís always more exciting.
It feels more electric and everybody is a little more
excited and weíre creating something new and different. Itís
cool to step out of the norm, that routine of shooting even
though it doesnít feel routine because the show is very
diverse in the way that it highlights itself. There are the
times when we shoot these episodes and specials it does feel
like weíre shooting a different show sometimes, so thatís
exciting for all of us to experience.
Moderator: What has been your favorite gift that youíve ever
Keegan: My favorite gift I ever received was from a fan in
London and it seriously made me cry. Iíve gotten so many
amazing gifts from fans, but this girl did her own photo
journal and it was based off of the idea of what
life.love.beauty is based off of. She did her own version of
a photo journal and it was incredible.
One of my favorite fans did an entire documentary of her
traveling to see me in my play in New York that I did and
coming to my first concert that I did in Binghamton and
doing a whole documentary style movie of it. Iím a sucker
for romance. When someone gets me a flower, Iíll cry.
I donít think so much of itís the gift, but itís actually
the thought and why. Someone could give me a card and itíll
be the best gift I ever got. Sentimentality, there you go!
Moderator: Who will be targeted by ďAĒ the most in the
Keegan: Thereís really never any way to tell. When somebody
looks like theyíre being targeted, it could be a chess move,
which is brilliant to me. I love that the writers do this
because it does the bait and switch, where someone is
thinking ďoh, this person is going to be targeted.Ē Or they
think ďoh, theyíre screwedĒ and it turns around and it has
nothing to do with that person and itís somebody else.
I donít want to ruin any surprises, but I can tell you
everything is in a chess move and everything may not be
always what it seems!
Moderator: How is Tobyís new role as a police officer going
to play into the upcoming season?
Keegan: It is baffling to me sometimes when I look as Toby as
a police officer. Doing that work and understanding I did a
ride along and I saw what itís like to be in a police car,
what itís like to be a police officer. It is so stressful
and completely takes a special human being to be able to do
Itís a life choice that heís made to protect Spencer and get
his own answers Ėall to act as somebody who felt completely
powerless to be in control a little bit more. I think it
comes back and haunts him in this existential way of him
like ďdid I make the right decisions in life?Ē I think we
get to see that struggle a little bit more, even in the
Christmas episode and going forward.
He is still Spencerís; he still loves Spencer and heís also
trying to honor the force, we get to see that struggle.
Moderator: Will we see any Rear Window/Jimmy Stewart
references in the Christmas episode?
Keegan: Itís already out there a little bit! That reference
is spot on. Itís really, really beautifully done in a way
that nods and pays homage to it, but at the same time itís
its own creation. Iím really excited about that.
Moderator: As you just wrapped the upcoming spring finale,
how does that compare to other finales?
Keegan: This one really, really does! I canít say anything
except we all read it together in the room and every single
one of us, you have to understand weíve been doing this,
weíve been creating this world for so long now itís hard to
surprise us with anything. This surprised us all and itís
something that is incredible. Itís so tremendous. I can just
promise that it will go down in history as crazy. It will be
Moderator: Would you be on board for a big screen Pretty
Little Liars movie?
Keegan: I would love to! That sounds great. I think it would
be cool. That would be fun.
Moderator: What kind of plot do you think there would be for
a PLL movie?
Keegan: I have ideas, of course, just like anybody would have
ideas! It would be cool to sum it all up and do a huge movie
so everybody collectively could go to the theater and
experience the answer to the entire show essentially. That
would be cool -- To do one big, grand movie.
Moderator: Did you expect to have so many people following
you on Snapchat?
Keegan: No! My friend is a Viner and she was like ďIíve got
to help you do Vines correctly.Ē So, I started learning
about Vine and she told me about Snapchat and I thought
Snapchat was only a risquť way of showing photos and sheís
like, ďno, no, itís an incredible direct way to connect with
fansĒ and she showed me how to use it and I put it out there
and itís just been a crazy wild fire.
Iíve gotten millions of views on this thing, itís really fun
and I think the fans love it because itís very personal.
Itís not out there, not everybody can see it unless they
follow it. Itís fun.
Moderator: If ďAĒ were to send a Snapchat, what would it be?
Keegan: I think ďAĒ over Snapchat would just be a blank
screen with captions over it --- with an emoji A and/or it
would be pretty scary. Snapchat being incorporated into the
show would be scary because you only get to see it for a
certain amount of time and maybe you can replay it, then you
canít. Itís like the clue is gone. That would be a fun
element and add to the anxiety of the show.
Moderator: What is your favorite Disney Park?
Keegan: Iíve only been to the one in California, so I would
have to say Disneyland!
Moderator: What is your favorite Disney ride or attraction?
Keegan: I love Space Mountain. Iíve always loved Space
Mountain. I love the Matterhorn because when I was a kid
there was a Yeti in the Matterhorn and my parents amped it
up so, so much that the first time I rode it I kept my eyes
closed the whole time because I was so scared. Even to this
day when I ride it, thereís a small amount of fear.
Moderator: Whatís your favorite Disney food or restaurant?
Keegan: The French fries at the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Moderator: What is your favorite Disney character?
Keegan: Aladdin or the Genie from Aladdin are really great;
theyíre all so amazing because they all have these elements
of incredible lessons within them. The Beast in Beauty and
the Beast, any of them, you can name any of them and theyíre
all my favorites.
I guess if I had to choose one Iíd say the Genie from
Aladdin. Heís definitely my favorite.
Moderator: Is there a scene in Pretty Little Liars that has
surprised you the most?
Keegan: Yes, definitely. Iím someone that doesnít get shocked
very easily, so this one Ė that hasnít yet aired Ė was a
little bit disturbing. Iím excited about it because I like
that the show is going to that element of darkness. Itís
Moderator: Do you have any New Yearís Eve plans or goals for
Keegan: My New Yearís plans have to do with the book
life.love.beauty. Iím going to Dubai to shoot a photo
project that was part of my photo journal for there. Iím
also doing a book tour throughout February. Iím hitting
every city and starting in New York and going to Los Angeles
and everything in between, book stores and such.
My New Yearís resolution is to be there for the fans and
experience and share this experience of making
life.love.beauty with all these photos.
Moderator: Is there anymore on the horizon for the detective
agency of the Liarís significant others?
Keegan: Yes, I can definitely tell you that Toby and Caleb
will cross paths again very soon. Youíll definitely see more
Moderator: What can fans expect to learn from your book?
Keegan: I hope that everybody pre-orders the book because I
feel like this is something that needs to be held in your
hands. Itís available electronically, which is cool, but
thereís something about having the paper.
I went through and selected all the paper. Itís all
emulsified film scans, so itís made to be held and seen and
felt and the topography on the casing. I worked for a long,
long time -- months and months and months on this with my
designers at St. Martinís Press. I really hope they can see
that and they can learn first and foremost my attention to
detail of something like this because Iím a crazy design
I love beautiful things and I love creating beautiful
things, I find beauty in imperfections. I hope they are able
to see and learn that about me, but also to learn about
themselves is what Iíd really like them to learn from this
Itís not so much about me, even though itís a book that
circles around my experiences, itís all about these esoteric
experiences that we all go through as human beings. I tried
to stitch these images and these words to a real beating
heart, not so much just my own, but to anybody.
I tried to give these images a voice that anybody could pick
up the book, just as itís like a Tumblr blog. There are
people that go on Tumblr and they sit on Tumblr for six
hours and theyíre looking at other peopleís lives and other
peopleís experiences, but yet feel so completely rooted
Moderator: Are there any types of projects that you have yet
to be involved with, but youíre very interested in getting
Keegan: Music, Iím working on music as well, writing, but not
for the means of actually putting something on a sheet. Iím
writing a play, but mainly just focusing on acting and
photography. I would love to start getting more into the
professional photography realm as well as acting.
I just did a film with Megan Fox and James Franco called
Zeroville. That was fun and I guess just continuing to work
on the craft and work on the art.
Moderator: How will Tobyís new career as a copy affect ďAísĒ
Keegan: I think itís more of a strategy changer. I donít know
if ďAĒ maybe knew that Toby would have done this or not, so
I canít say that it really affects any game other than weíre
looking at something that, ďAĒ is an extremely intelligent
character. Ttís just another pawn chess move, which is even
Moderator: Can you tease any motivation behind the attack
expolsion on Toby and Jennaís house explosion?
Keegan: I think it was a caution, a warning shot of ďIím
capable of things that you canít imagine.Ē Theyíre dealing
with something thatís very dangerous and this is the voice
of this entity, so to speak.
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