By Sona Charaipotra
If you’ve been watching ABC Family’s new certified hit, the Pretty Little Liars spin-off Ravenswood, you know that things are starting to get really creepy in smalltown Pennsylvania for Caleb Rivers and his ragtag band of cursed hotties. His new pal Miranda Collins, in particular, has had it rough—what with dying in the second episode and all.
We caught up with Ravenswood star Nicole Gale Anderson, who plays the newbie ghost (and might look familiar—thanks to stints on Make It Or Break It and JONAS LA), to chat about hauntings, scare tactics, and, of course, whether there’s romance in store!
Miranda died in the second episode—which really sent some fans reeling!
Aw, yeah, it was kind of crazy. It’s a little nuts that they did it so soon in the season, but I think that’s what they were going for—that shock value. You get so attached to the character, starting with the Pretty Little Liars Halloween episode, and now she’s dead! What now?
Were you worried going in, since Pretty Little Liars has such a huge fan base? That’s a lot of pressure for a new show.
Oh my gosh, yeah! They’re such a successful show and it’s intimidating to follow in their shoes, but we couldn’t ask for a better lead-in. It was really really awesome working with them all. But I hope people are checking on Ravenswood and enjoying it too. It’s definitely very different from Pretty Little Liars. I mean, just with the supernatural elements alone!
How is it on set? Is it really freaky? Or is it all really mechanical and expected, the scare tactics?
Some of it is very mechanical. Especially for my character, since Miranda is a now a ghost and she’s having a lot of interactions with ghosts and other supernatural things. So half the time, I’m playing to nothing. I have to take my own cues of, “Huh! Oh my gosh, what was that?” I have to use my imagination a bit, so it’s definitely sparked the little child inside me. Which has been fun. But there are definitely sometimes where they really try to scare us. Tyler Blackburn and I had this one scene the other day where this ghost is supposed to come through and so they triggered this big gust of wind and we were definitely jumping at that! We weren’t expecting that one at all. We didn’t know that they were going to use a leaf blower!
You guys are shooting in New Orleans. Tyler Blackburn told us the energy there is different. Do you feel the same?
New Orleans is kind of dark in a very beautiful way. The above-ground cemetery we’ve been shooting in, and the old, decrepit mansions—we’ve had such awesome locations, but they’ve definitely been spooky. There’s this one that is this abandoned children’s hospital, a mental institution. So Steven Cabral, who plays my uncle Raymond, had these recordings on his phone of these children’s voices. And he kept playing them in the background when Tyler was shooting. So Tyler kept freaking out, thinking, “Oh my God, I’m hearing these kid ghosts—this place must be haunted.” All week Tyler was thinking he was hearing these ghosts, and then at the end of the week, Steven played the recording in front of him and was like, “Hey Tyler, does this sound familiar?” It was really funny. He totally fell for it! It was hilarious.
Miranda and Caleb bond on Ravenswood. (ABC Family )
The mid-season finale is coming up next week. What can we expect?
There’s a big surprise coming up at the end of the episode that will be the big cliffhanger, leaving everyone wondering what’s going to happen next. And then they’re going to have to wait over the holidays to see what happens when we return January 7th. By the end of this week’s episode, the other four characters are able to see Miranda. It’s been fun to be able to develop relationships with the other characters—they’re all so different, but we become unexpected friends. But there will be a lot of new ghosts introduced—some of them good, but most of them very bad. And Miranda, being a ghost, has a lot of interaction there.
So far, Miranda’s been a good ghost. If you have to be haunted…
I don’t think haunting is the right word. She’s just always around. It almost feels normal having Miranda there. She’s a part of the pack. She almost feels normal—she just happens to be dead. She’s a strong personality, but then she dies, and she sort of loses herself. She’s trying to figure out who she is and where she fits in, and with those other ghosts, it gets pretty freaky. But in the next few episodes, she’ll get more comfortable in her skin as a ghost and gets her edge back.
Miranda and Caleb have a very When Harry Met Sally vibe—at least according to producer I. Marlene King. What can we expect romance-wise?
We’ve been able to do some really, really awesome flashbacks—and they revolve around the tombstones Miranda and Caleb found of people who looked exactly like us. So we get to flash back to 1917, and those people and what their lives were like back then. And how it relates to us in the modern-day. But romantically, between Miranda and Caleb, the writers are having fun, because it can’t really happen. But they care for each other and depend on each other and they’ve got each other’s back. But he’s with Hanna, and physically, he and Miranda can’t connect anyway. She’s a ghost!
But who knows what we’ll see historically?
Absolutely! There’s an episode where we have a whole slew of flashbacks, so who knows what we’ll learn. We got to dress up in all the period costumes, and that was a lot of fun. But romance-wise, you never know what’s going to happen! And in the mid-season finale, episode five, we learn so much more about the curse and why those tombstones were there and why those people look so much like Miranda and Caleb. So tune in and find out!
Ravenswood airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.