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Interview with Merritt Patterson of
"Ravenswood" on ABC Family 10/28/13
ABC Family’s Q&A with Merritt Patterson
Moderator: How do you feel about Olivia becoming a fan
Merritt: It’s really exciting. This is all new to me, so I’m
very excited and I’m glad people responded well to Olivia.
Moderator: What did you bring to the role that may not
necessarily have been in the script?
Merritt: Olivia and I are really similar, which was great as
far as our tendencies and how we deal with things. I think I
brought more of a subtle characteristic to her because she
is prom queen. And I think when you think of prom queen, you
think of over-the-top. It’s in my nature to be a little bit
more subtle, so I think I added that to her character.
Moderator: What can we expect from your character in the
first few episodes?
Merritt: Olivia’s kind of in a different social bracket at
the beginning of the show, which is why I think she’s a
little bit more separate; but obviously, as the curse
continues and they continue to find out more, she’s brought
together with the other four. She continues to do research
on her father’s murder, and she also has a supernatural
experience for herself coming up, which is pretty exciting;
so I’m looking forward to both those events.
Moderator: Can fans expect the same twists and turns that
Pretty Little Liars is famous for? Do you personally enjoy
Merritt: Definitely, yes! I think that’s what’s really great
about our show and what’s similar to Pretty Little Liars --
are the cliffhangers, twists and turns. So you can
definitely expect lots of those; and I love that. It keeps
you on the edge of your seat and it keeps it interesting.
I’m excited, and I think people will respond well to that.
Moderator: Do you think the subtle sparks between Miranda and
Caleb will put a strain on Hanna and Caleb’s relationship?
Merritt: Yes, I think it will. I think the fact that he is in
a different town, that would put a strain on any
relationship. Miranda and Caleb are very similar. Their
characters are very similar, so they get along really well
right off the bat, which could be taken wrong from someone
else, especially in a different town.
Moderator: Will Hanna be visiting Ravenswood often?
Merritt: She doesn’t during the beginning. They definitely do
keep in contact, it’s mainly over phone conversations, so
she is in some of our episodes, but not in person; not yet.
Moderator: Is there any one particular media – between big
screen movies and TV production - that you prefer?
Merritt: No, not really. I’ve always been drawn to film just
because that’s what I love. As far as being on the sets and
working with people -- I love being on a set and being a
character and doing a story. Each one is so great because
you’re learning about a different character, so you get to
learn different aspects that you might not have otherwise
known. I’m open to everything.
Moderator: Do you find it hard to break out of film mode? How
do you lighten things up from all of the drama on
Merritt: Yes, this is new to me—the drama—and the first few
episodes were very dramatic. We’re introducing the
storylines and the characters, which makes it action packed.
That was a bit crazy, but now things have started to get
into a different pace. All of the cast gets along really
well. So as soon as they’re saying cut, we’re laughing and
making jokes which keeps things really light; so it’s really
Moderator: What is Olivia’s relationship like with her
Merritt: I think their relationship right now is strained. I
think the whole family is strained. They’re going through a
lot with the murder of their father, and her mom has been
hiding out. She’s obviously struggling, and I think Luke
deals with it by being very angry. I don’t think he knows
how to deal with it; neither does Olivia, but she’s trying
to pretend like everything’s okay. I don’t know if it has
fully hit her yet, but I think their relationship is very
strained because of that. She doesn’t understand Luke’s
process and how he’s dealing with the events. There’s some
miscommunication there, but ultimately they’re twins.
They’re family and they love each other and they’ll always
have each other’s back. I think it’s like any relationship
with siblings. I think it’s very up and down.
Moderator: How did you feel when you learned that you had
gotten the role?
Merritt: Oh my gosh, I was so excited. It was crazy. When I
auditioned for it, I put it on tape in Canada because I’m
based in Vancouver, B.C. At the time, I didn’t really think
I had a chance, because it was an American television show.
Usually it’s a lot harder for Canadians to get on American
shows unless they’re filming in Canada; then we kind of have
a leg-up, so I was shocked and ecstatic.
Moderator: Can you tease a bit about the dynamic of the
character relationships with one another?
Merritt: We all have stronger connections with different
people. Olivia and her brother have a strong connection; and
then Luke has a strong connection with Remy, because they’re
dating. It’s a bit rough right now with their parents, but
they have that. Remy and Caleb kind of bond, you see in the
first episode that they’re immediately drawn together
because they both want to find out more information on this
curse. Then, obviously Caleb and Miranda have a connection,
and they’re friends right off the bat. It’s like we each
have a stronger connection with someone else in it. In the
third episode, I build a stronger bond with Miranda, which
was really exciting; I was happy for that. There’s a bit of
a riff between Caleb and Luke, because Luke is very
protective over myself and Remy. I don’t think he knows
Caleb yet, so he doesn’t really know what to think of him.
For the most part, we all get along, which is good, because
we’re all going through this together.
Moderator: How much are these new events going to alienate
Olivia from her friends and her social standing as the
Merritt: I think she feels ostracized. She is realizing that
the things she thought were important before are no longer
important to her. That kind of separates her from her
friends and it strains the relationships.
Moderator: What was it like to film Olivia’s “turning point”
when she realized everything is changing?
Merritt: In episode two you see more of the strain on her
relationship with her friends and her boyfriend. You see a
lot of strain in episode two that she’s growing further and
further apart from them because she’s so distracted by
everything that’s going on.
Moderator: Why do you think the town of Ravenswood is
treating Olivia so bad after her father’s murder?
Merritt: The town of Ravenswood thinks that our mother killed
our father, so the whole family is being ignored and hated.
They think that our mom murdered our father and therefore
we’re all connected to this murder. I think they’re just
putting us out there on our own. Nobody really trusts or
respects our mom, and therefore the kids are being painted
that way as well.
Moderator: What do you think it would take to get out from
under the bad treatment from the town?
Merritt: I think Luke and Olivia are trying to figure out who
murdered their father, because it doesn’t seem like the cops
or anyone in the town is. They’re really pushing to find out
who did it, so they start to take things into their own
hands and they find clues along the way. Once the murderer
is revealed, that will obviously help and make people
Moderator: What’s your favorite aspect of Olivia?
Merritt: I like that she’s a very caring person; she cares a
lot about all the people around her, and she’s very
protective of them all, and I enjoy that about her. She’s
not this crazy popular girl who lives in her own world. Yet
she’s still homecoming queen.
Moderator: How does being ostracized affect her as a person?
Merritt: She’s really floating right now. She’s unsure,
grasping for anything at this point because it’s all new.
She’s constantly making new revelations, like “Oh, that’s
what I used to love – it doesn’t mean so much to me now,”
and “Oh, this person that I had so much in common with now
feels so different”. So she’s constantly dealing with that.
The curse isn’t a good thing, but at least she has something
with those five people that she can connect to.
Moderator: How do you feel about the transition between
Vancouver and Los Angeles?
Merritt: I actually have remained based in Vancouver. I have
been to L.A. for testing; I did live there for about a month
last year during pilot season, but I haven’t done the big
transition yet. I was waiting for the right moment. I would
love to be down there, but it just hasn’t presented itself
yet. I do love L.A., and it’s definitely a different vibe
because the entire city is involved in the industry.
Whereas, Vancouver, it’s a very small group of people in the
industry, so it’s definitely a huge change. I enjoyed it
while I was down there, and I would like to be down there
Moderator: Is there another female actress you feel could
Merritt: I don’t know off the top of my head. I immediately
think of Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley. They’re the
right age bracket and they’re amazing; so either of them
could play it really well I think.
Moderator: Have there been times when you were actually
scared or creeped out on set?
Merritt: Oh, for sure! The great thing about New Orleans is
that it’s on location, and the locations here are amazing.
There’s so much charm and history to this city. We’ve filmed
a lot in a graveyard, which surprisingly isn’t that creepy,
they’re really beautiful. We have filmed in an abandoned
hospital and we heard stories that part of it was haunted.
There was water dripping from the ceiling and people have
heard footsteps. So there had definitely been a few times we
were like, “Oh, did you hear that?” I’m sure we’re getting
ourselves worked up, but it’s for sure on our minds.
Moderator: How hard is it for you as an actress to convey the
creepy feeling of the show to the audience?
Merritt: The locations are huge, and they play a huge part
because it’s so much easier to get into that headspace and
that energy when you’re surrounded by an actual location
that adds itself to the scene. That’s helpful, and the
writing is wonderful too, so it’s pretty easy, and once we
all get into the scene and we start going, we build off of
each other and that helps as well.
Moderator: Is there anyone on the set of Ravenswood that you
look up to as a mentor, or get along with really well?
Merritt: We all get along really well, and I think we’re
really lucky to have the cast that we have, especially the
core five. Everyone’s done a lot and they’re well rounded in
all different aspects of television and film. Tyler
obviously has been through this already with ABC Family and
Pretty Little Liars, so he understands how the whole process
works. That’s all new to me, so it’s good to have him and
watch how he deals with it. Then, obviously Meg, who plays
Mrs. Grunwald, has been in the industry for a while, and
she’s really talented. Having her around is really great,
and hearing her stories and having her opinions. She’s a
really great person to have if you have any questions or if
you’re concerned about something, talking to her is really
great. She’s wonderful. I actually have a scene with her
that we just filmed and it is my first one-on-one scene with
her. She’s so intense that she would throw me and I would
lose my lines because she was just in my face. It was crazy
and wonderful, she’s brilliant.
Moderator: What is your favorite Disney Park?
Merritt: I’ve only ever been to Disneyland, which I loved. I
loved California Adventure. Tower of Terror is by far my
favorite. I would like to go to Disney World! I actually had
this little girl on our set, Isabelle, who plays Max -- She
is from Florida and was telling me all about Disney World
the other day. There’s a ton of different rides. I love
Moderator: What’s your favorite Disney ride?
Merritt: Probably Space Mountain. I love that one.
Moderator: What’s your favorite food or restaurant in the
Merritt: Last time I was there I had pineapple soft-serve and
it was amazing. I’ve never had it before and I think I ate
two or three; they’re so good!
Moderator: What’s your favorite Disney character?
Merritt: It’s probably one of the Disney princesses. I grew
up watching those movies as a kid, and I loved them. I love
Belle; she’s one of my favorites, and Ariel, those are
probably my top two.
Moderator: Is fashion something important to your character
and the show in general?
Merritt: Definitely! I think it helps define a character.
We’re lucky Blair [head of Ravenswood wardrobe] is so
wonderful! I think what Olivia is wearing is helping her and
helping me get into her character. I think that goes for all
of us. I love Miranda’s outfits, too. I would personally
dress more like Miranda, but I have fun with Olivia’s
Moderator: What’s your relationship to the ABC Family social
media now that you’re on the show?
Merritt: I’ve always had a Facebook, and I did get Twitter
about a year ago. It wasn’t until the last few months that
everything has really started to blow up. During the
premiere last week, my Twitter was crazy! It’s kind of
overwhelming. It’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s fun,
and I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. I did get an
Instagram account because of the show. I thought that would
be good. I like Instagram because it’s like a little photo
diary. I’m getting the hang of it.
Moderator: What is your Twitter account for everyone to
@MerrittPattrsn. Thanks for asking!
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