Ravenswood’s Merritt Patterson Dishes on The Curse and Olivia’s Scary Supernatural Sighting — Exclusive
As if one family crisis wasn’t enough for Olivia Matheson, now she has a deadly curse looming over her head, too? It must be just another day in Ravenswood for this former teen queen.
At the end of Ravenswood’s chilling series premiere, Olivia, her brother Luke, his girlfriend Remy, and two recent newcomers, Caleb and Miranda, get into a horrific accident when Remy’s car swerves into a river. This, of course, is all part of a deadly Ravenswood curse — one that Olivia didn’t even know she was part of! But when one of the five doesn’t quite make it out alive, Olivia and Co. realize just how serious this curse actually is, which is all the more reason to figure out how to stop it.
Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with Merritt Patterson about Olivia’s reaction to the curse, her family drama (did her mom actually murder her dad?), and Olivia’s first brush with the supernatural.
Wetpaint Entertainment: The premiere episode lefts things pretty uncertain for Olivia and Co. How will that car accident affect the rest of the season?
Merritt Patterson: It’s the first crazy event for them, but there’s many more to come. That immediately puts all five of them together because they all experience that and try to deal with that. They have to figure out why that happened and what’s happening next. So that is what brings the five of them together. They realize that they’re in this together and if they all don’t figure out what’s happening, they could die.
They definitely become closure as a group after that event.
Yeah! For sure. They need to stick together.
Olivia and Luke don’t know about this curse. How will she react to the news?
They did grow up in Ravenswood, so they’ve always heard about this curse, but they thought it was an urban legend that you told kinds to scare them. They never thought this could be something real and affecting their lives. As things progress in Episode 2, Olivia has her own supernatural experience and that just makes her realize that everything is real. “I’m in this. This is happening to me.” They all kind of go through their own supernatural event that makes them realize that they’re in this curse.
For Luke, it’s a bit of a struggle to believe this is happening. In that regard, are Luke and Olivia’s responses to the curse different?
Luke is obviously really angry right now. Their family life isn’t ideal. Their dad was just murdered and their mom really isn’t around. He just just doesn’t know how to handle it, so he gets upset and withdraws himself from situations. Olivia deals with stuff a lot differently. She takes things as they come. With her dad’s murder, it hasn’t even sunk in yet. She’s trying to continue on with her life, which is becoming more and more difficult, but she’s still aware of what’s happening. So she acknowledges the fact that there is a curse a lot sooner than Luke because he has this, “No, I’m not dealing with it” attitude.
They have a lot of problems to work through. On one hand, their mom is a suspect in their father’s murder, and on the other hand, they have a deadly curse looming over their heads. They can’t catch a break!
Yeah, it’s a lot to handle all at once, so it makes sense that they’re all over the place and dealing with it differently and going back-and-forth.
Pretty Little Liars uses a lot of flashback storytelling. Will we get to see a glimpse of the Matheson family before all of the drama?
There aren’t any flashbacks for the family as of yet. We’re constantly learning more information about their past — with their dad and mom, and their relationship — but there aren’t any flashbacks to the Mathesons. There may be other flashbacks though.
I know you just shot Episode 7, and you were teasing that it was going to be a big one for the Matheson family. How fun is it to shoot those dysfunctional family scenes?
I love working with them! Luckily, I get to do a lot of scenes with Brett [Dier], and he’s amazing. Laura [Allen] is kind of in and out, which is great because she’s wonderful to work with. Obviously, the relationship they have with their mom is really important, and it’s really strained right now. Olivia and Luke don’t have the best relationship with their mom right now. There’s a lot of tension there. So we always get to do these really intense scenes, which are fun.
Luke believes their mom actually killed their dad. Will Olivia start to believe that as well? Or will she still have faith that her mom is innocent?
She’s really torn. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in what everybody else is saying. The whole town thinks she did it, and now her own brother thinks she did it, so she’s going to start asking herself, “Did she actually do this?” She confused right now. But as we go forward, in the next episode, they find more clues. So the person that they suspect does start to change.
We know the curse claims its first victim in Episode 2. Should we be worried about Olivia? Is this going to turn into a situation where it claims everyone one by one?
As far as us going one by one, I have no idea! I wondered that, initially, but then I was like, “They can’t kill us all off the show!” [Laughs] Unless, we’re all ghosts. But I don’t know. That hasn’t been brought up yet. I would be surprised, though. Anything could happen, but Olivia is safe for now.
Pretty Little Liars is the most social show on TV, and last week, Ravenswood was trending worldwide. How has the social media response to the show been for you?
It’s been so positive! I get a lot of great comments on my Twitter feed, which has been really nice. It’s kind of all new to me. Last week, my Twitter exploded, which was crazy! I wasn’t sure how to respond to everyone. I was just really overwhelmed. So I’m learning how to get a hang of all that. I’m really excited to hear the feedback for Episode 2. Now that we’ve premiered, I’m really excited to hear what people think and where they think it will go because Episode 2 is huge. The first three episodes are crazy — they’re setting up the story and all the characters. There’s a lot happening.
Tell us about what we can expect from Olivia’s friendship with Tess because her brother doesn’t trust Tess’s intentions. Will their friendship be tested?
Definitely. You see a lot of that in Episode 2. There’s quite a few scenes with Tess [Haley Lu Richardson] and Dillon [Luke Benward], Olivia’s boyfriend, and you’ll see more of their relationship and where it’s all headed. Obviously, Tess is still Tess, but Olivia is kind of changing, and that’s causing some problems for their friendship.
How does Olivia react to Caleb? Because they haven’t shared a lot of screentime yet, and he’s new to town.
Olivia is a very welcoming person, so she doesn’t have any negative feelings towards him, but they haven’t had a lot of contact, and they don’t. They interact within the group, but as far as one-on-one, they haven’t really had a chance yet, just because their relationships with some of the other characters are so much stronger. So their relationship is in process. Just last week, I got to film a scene with Tyler [Blackburn] one-on-one, so it’s a slow-building friendship, but they get along for sure.
So you’re filming in New Orleans, and the city itself has such a rich supernatural history. Have you experienced anything supernatural since you started filming? Brett told us about his ghost stories…
Well, Brett has gone on a few Halloween tours, which I want to do, but I haven’t had a chance to go yet. But those look really fun. I haven’t had any encounters with a ghost, but we’ve been in a couple of spooky locations. We filmed in an abandoned hospital where the second floor was apparently haunted, which was pretty creepy. We also filmed in this abandoned school. You kind of work yourself up. You get a little tense walking around. There are all the desks and all the papers. It’s so bizarre that there’s no one there! So it gets your heart-rate up a little bit, but I haven’t had any encounters yet!
You sound like you’re the only one who hasn’t!
Sometimes I feel like I can hear people walking in my apartment, but then I don’t know if it’s just me thinking that. I think it might just be me psyching myself out.
Catch the next episode of Ravenswood on Tuesday, October 29 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.
Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fangirl for all things Pretty Little Liars. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!