Ian Harding’s Jaw DROPPED When He First Met Sasha Pieterse & Here’s Why

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Along with Keegan Allen and Shay Mitchell, Ian Harding can now refer to himself as an actor/author. The 30-year-old recently released his first book, Odd Birds, a not-quite tell-all story about his life in Hollywood, on the set of Pretty Little Liars, as well as his love for ornithology (the study of birds). So, naturally, we caught up with Ian to tell us all about it.

“I wanted to write something because I was feeling that weird sense of… I was feeling, somewhat, a lack of fulfillment,” he explained to Teen.com, “because I really love Pretty Little Liars… but after a while, I was like, ‘I need another form of stimulation.'”

“My dad, who’s a writer, he said, ‘Well, why don’t you just write a book?’ he said. “I was like, ‘Well, yeah, that’s easy coming from you.'” Lo and behold, that’s exactly what Ian decided to do.

Now, don’t expect the novel to be an in-depth look at the Hollywood club scene. “I think I did that once and I was very saddened by it,” he explained of attempting that kind of lifestyle. “It made me want to leave Los Angeles.”

Instead, the actor, who grew up reading National Geographic took his life of stardom, added an “outdoor, nature component” to it, thus, resulting in his recently-published text.


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Ian is yet another PLL star to enter into the world of book-writing… but who’s next? No one knows for sure (if at all), but Ian knows someone who would be a good contender. “I think Sasha [Pieterse]‘s life is really fascinating,” he said. “I think Sasha could write a really great book. […] ’cause she’s originally from South Africa, her parents are or were traveling performers… I think one of the reasons she seems like 35 in spirit even though she’s, like, 11 (real age: 21) […] She comes off as so much older because she lived her whole life, like, with adults. And so, some of her good friends were, you know, 10 years older than she was.”

“The very first experience that I had with her, it was at the read-through for the pilot,” he recalled, “and it was right before we all went up to Vancouver, and Troian [Bellisario] and I were in different relationships than we are now, and we’re just talking about the trouble with long-distance relationships and, you know, jealousy in a relationship and everything like that — both people that we have since departed from — but Sasha comes over at one point and says, ‘You know, it’s just so tricky because you want to excel in your own life, and if they can’t love you for who you are, then the hardest thing is letting go. But how do you let go of that love?’ It was very deep, like, whatever she said. And we were like, ‘Wow, that is so, like- Sasha, was it?'”

“Then she gets up and is starting to leave,” he continued, “and one of the producers comes over and says, ‘Do you know who that was?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, Sasha… Pieterse? Or however you say her last name.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah. Do you know who that woman is behind her?’ And we notice a blonde woman that’s walking behind her. ‘That’s her mother — ’cause she has to come with her mother… ’cause she is 13!'”

“Troian and I pretty much, like, picked our jaws up off the floor,” he laughed. “It was very intense.”

Odd Birds is available now. Stay tuned for more from our interview with Ian Harding!
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Ezra Fitz was never recast… but, shockingly, these PLL characters were:


Toby Cavanaugh

Keegan Allen's been a part of PLL ever since the ABC Family-turned-Freeform series' third episode. BUT, when the drama first aired on June 8, 2010, an actor by the name of James Neate walked alongside Tammin Sursok's character, Jenna Marshall, at ~Alison's~ funeral on the pilot ep.

Photo: ABC Family

Ian Thomas

Before Ryan Merriman joined the cast on the 8th episode as Melissa Hastings' sketchy AF love, there was another actor who called Ian Thomas his alter ego: Carlo Marks. He, too, only made an appearance on the pilot.

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Jason DiLaurentis

Hottie Drew Van Acker made waves on Pretty Little Liars, starting Season 2. But it was Parker Bagley who started making waves as Alison & Spencer's half-brother first. He appeared on two episodes: the pilot and the 15th ep.

Photo: ABC Family

Jessica DiLaurentis

A lot of people were nixed after the pilot — and that includes Anne Marie Deluise, who played Alison's mom before Andrea Parker took over.

Photo: ABC Family

Kenneth DiLaurentis

If you don't remember anyone other than Jim Abele as Alison's dad, then we don't blame you. Actor Jared Jacobson portrayed him on the pilot, but he was basically a background character, so eh.

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Mike Montgomery

As far as the public knows, no reason has been given as to the reason behind Igor Hudacek, Jr.'s replacement as Aria's brother on the series, after he filmed an unaired pilot ep. But we <33 Cody Christian, so the show won't hear any arguments from us.

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Ella Montgomery

Holly Marie Combs has been playing Aria's mom a long time — even on the pilot episode! But that doesn't change the fact that Jean Louisa Kelly was actually cast as the character first.

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Byron Montgomery

Yep, another Montgomery. Like Igor Hudacek, Jr., Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Alexis Denisof shot a pilot episode, but it never aired; he was recast with Chad Lowe. So, when the first-ever ep premiered, Aria's OG dad was already swapped out.

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Malcolm Cutler

During the Season 3 episode titled, "Single Fright Female," Ezra's ex's son (who was once believed to be Ezra's offspring as well), Malcolm was portrayed by a cutie named Flynn Morrison. 10 episodes later, the same child was portrayed by Teo Briones. Either way, the character was clearly meant to be adorable.

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Veronica Hastings

No one sees anyone besides Lesley Fera as Spencer's mom. And that's probably because the actress who portrayed her on the pilot was uncredited. Heck, even the show's fan Wiki calls her an "unknown actress."

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Peter Hastings

Likewise to Veronica, Spencer's dad was also portrayed by an uncredited person on the pilot. That's why Nolan North is regarded as the only Peter Hastings.

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Kate Randall

Ugh, THIS girl.

Because of your allegiance to Hanna, we're sure you hate her evil stepsister as much as everyone else. So when Natalie Floyd was switched out for Natalie Hall, it made no difference; both equally annoying. GTFO!

Photo: ABC Family

You can reach this post’s author, Kaitlin Cubria, on Twitter and Instagram!

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