Keegan Allen plays Toby Cavanaugh, boyfriend to super-smart Spencer Hastings and newly instated Rosewood police officer, on ABC Family hit series Pretty Little Liars. The star took some time to tease what “A” has in store for the girls and their significant others in the upcoming ChristmAs episode, as well as talk a little about his new photo-book, life.love.beauty.
When we last left Keegan’s character on the show, he was sporting a broken leg thanks to being hit by a car on the day of his graduation from the police academy. On the bright side, things are going well for he and girlfriend Spencer, but in true Pretty Little Liars fashion, we know the trend won’t continue for too much longer.
What can you tease for the Christmas episode in regards to Spencer and Toby (aka Spoby)?
“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. It’s going to be really fun. It’s a really cool episode.”
Will your background in photography ever show up as a personal interest of your character’s on the show?
“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 Toby’s 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 I’m having way too much fun with that camera.”
What did you enjoy most about filming this Christmas episode?
“It tells a story that’s so different from anything that anybody would expect, but it also explains a lot in the process, and it’s 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.”
Who will be targeted by “A” the most in the Christmas episode?
“There’s really never any way to tell. When somebody looks like they’re 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 “oh, this person is going to be targeted.” Or they think “oh, they’re screwed” and it turns around and it has nothing to do with that person and it’s somebody else.
“I don’t 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!”
Do you know who A is? If so, what was your reaction when you learned?
“Yeah, I do — I found out! It was pretty mind-blowing…. I think it’s genius. I think it’s 100% incredible. It’s mind-blowing and in the way that it comes to form, the whole storyline of this, and it’s 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.”
You just wrapped the upcoming spring finale. How does that compare to other finales?
“This one really, really does! I can’t say anything except we all read it together in the room and every single one of us, you have to understand we’ve been doing this, we’ve been creating this world for so long now it’s hard to surprise us with anything. This surprised us all, and it’s something that is incredible. It’s so tremendous. I can just promise that it will go down in history as crazy. It will be totally mind-blowing.”
What are some of your own holiday traditions that you’re looking forward to?
“My own holiday traditions are probably really boring compared to a lot of other people’s. 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, that’s my favorite movie and A Christmas Story.
“I think both of those were on ABC Family recently! I’m 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. That’s 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.”
What can fans expect to learn from your book?
“I hope that everybody pre-orders the book, because I feel like this is something that needs to be held in your hands. It’s available electronically, which is cool, but there’s something about having the paper.
“I went through and selected all the paper. It’s all emulsified film scans, so it’s 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. Martin’s Press. I really hope they can see that, and they can learn first and foremost my attention to detail of something like this, because I’m a crazy design freak.
“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 I’d really like them to learn from this book.
“It’s not so much about me, even though it’s a book that circles around my experiences, it’s 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 it’s like a Tumblr blog. There are people that go on Tumblr and they sit on Tumblr for six hours and they’re looking at other people’s lives and other people’s experiences, but yet feel so completely rooted within them.”
Where do you get your inspiration for your photography?
“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. The idea of keeping a photograph, is keeping an actual memory and being able to step back into it as it’s 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. [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, ‘Look, I took this photo of you and I think it’s beautiful’ and for them to experience that, which I think is beautiful, sometimes of them or sometimes of architecture or nature or sometimes of abstracts.”
You can catch Keegan in the Pretty Little Liars ChristmAs episode airing tomorrow night at 8pm ET on ABC Family. Keegan’s new book life.love.beauty will be available for purchase February 3, 2015.