With only a few torturous hours left until tonight’s finale of Pretty Little Liars (see our interview with the primary case here), ABC Family’s wildly popular whodunit, fans are hoping that they finally find out the identity of “A,” the anonymous stalker. While the teen soap is stuffed with plenty of mystery and backstabbing, we suspect that Season 2 newcomer Tyler Blackburn might just be another reason PLL fans can’t seem to get enough. On screen, the California native plays Caleb Rivers, the quick-witted kid with a—what else?—troubled past who is easily one the show’s most intriguing characters. We spoke to him over the weekend, and while he wouldn’t reveal the identity of “A,” the 26-year-old did let us in on a few of his own personal secrets.
The season finale is expected to be quite a shocker. Without saying too much, what can we expect to see?
I think that it is mostly shocking because it has been so anticipated for the last two seasons. The show’s main mystery revolves around the identity of the stalker. The finale definitely doesn’t disappoint in an adrenaline-pumping aspect. You’re definitely left with your heart racing a little bit, and it doesn’t stop with the reveal.
Can you tell us about your character Caleb Rivers? He seems like a mysterious bad boy.
Caleb has definitely evolved over time. In the beginning, he was this sort of quick-witted, grungy, sketchy kind of dude. But now he’s evolved a little bit with his relationship to Hanna and has really changed in a lot of ways.
Do you have anything in common with Caleb?
I wouldn’t say we are that different, to be honest. I feel like he’s been through harder times than I have, in a lot of ways. I think he and I are both, at the core, pretty sensitive guys, but we sometimes put on a little front. He is pretty quick-witted, and I feel like I can usually keep up with most people. I feel that we are similar in those ways—along with others I’m sure.
You joined the cast for Season 2. Did you find it easy to fit in and be comfortable on set?
Yeah, I did. Obviously, the first day you’re a little bit nervous, but it was a pretty seamless transition. The girls are just so nice in general, and that definitely helped. The producers, the writers, and the crew are really cool. It’s like a little family and I feel like I fit in pretty quickly.
PLL has a pretty intense following of teenage girls. What’s that farthest a fan has gone to meet or talk to you? Any crazy fan mail?
Most fans are pretty respectful. It’s still a little bit weird to be recognized in general, but it does happen. I feel like it’s happening more and more, but it kind of comes with the territory. One thing that I don’t love is when I see people just taking pictures of me instead of just coming up to say “hi.” It definitely makes me feel like a zoo animal. I might be a little awkward if they do approach me, but I’d rather they just come say, ‘hey, I’m such a fan.’ That’s just a little bit more natural.
Do you have a girlfriend? If so, how does she feel about all the female attention?
At the moment, I’m single. My ex-girlfriend, she didn’t get upset necessarily. It was more awkward to see kissing on the show. The fans are usually younger girls, so it’s not like they are a huge threat.
Aside from PLL, are you working on any projects?
Of course, the show has been on hiatus for a little while, so I have been working on a few things. Once the show comes back into production, it’s going to be a little harder to do so. I am working on some music. I’ve also recorded a couple songs, one for a web series called Wendy, which is a modern-day, darker version of Peter Pan which was my favorite Disney movie growing up. I got to play this new and improved version of Peter Pan which I thought was pretty dope. It was really cool to do the stunts. There were some really cool water shots and it allowed me to do some things I hadn’t before, so I enjoyed that.
How did you get started in music?
Growing up I did school plays where we sang. My dad is in the music business and has been since I was a child, so I’ve been exposed to music for awhile. I went to some pretty awesome concerts growing up and there was just always music playing in the house. That hasn’t changed. I have music on all the time, as often as possible. My taste is very eclectic; therefore I am into exploring what I’d like to do musically. The web series required my character to be a singer, so it was a great opportunity to work that muscle, and get in the studio, and work on the song. I recorded a song, more recently, for an ABC Family promotion for The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which will be up for sale soon on iTunes. I look forward to exploring that side of my creativity.
You’ve done television and you’re venturing into music. Do you see yourself migrating to the big screen?
Absolutely, I would love to. That’s really my ultimate goal. Growing up, I did watch TV and I still do a little bit. To be honest, TV is not a huge interest of mine, which is ironic because I’m on it. I love movies. Growing up, watching The Goonies, I was like, ‘I want to be in this movie so badly!’ I love Stand By Me, Into the Wild, and Almost Famous. I actually love Leonardo DiCaprio’s earlier work, like, The Basketball Diaries, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. I am definitely more of a film guy. It’s a different ball game, honestly, film versus TV. It’s about making that leap, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to do that at some point.
Do you have a dream role?
Nothing too specific, to be honest. I want to explore all genres and all types characters. I’d love to do some period pieces. I love Westerns. It would be extraordinarily cool, because you have to do a lot of research. I like that idea. Something like Into the Wild would be amazing, where you get to go to this amazing location and just live life vicariously through this character.
Outside of acting, do you have other creative pursuits or outlets?
I am exploring so many different things right now. I am really into hot yoga. It’s intense—it’s a physical workout but it’s a mind-fuck, too. You have to really push yourself mentally because it’s like 100 degrees in there. I’m really interested in photography right now.